About Active Substances

An active substance is an ingredient that has an effect on an organism. Sumitomo Chemical’s active substances have the effects of paralysing or killing insects and other small creatures that are harmful to human and animal health, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, mites, cockroaches and flies.

About Active Substances

Many of our active substances are pyrethroid insecticides, which are organic compounds similar to those found in chrysanthemum flowers. From these powerful active substances, we have created specialised insecticides that have various effects on a variety of different pests.

View our active substances here.



MosquitoesMosquitoes are found in nearly every region of the world, from the arctic to the tropics, and can survive severe winters or dry seasons depending on the region. They can be found breeding in all types of water, both clean and polluted.

Female mosquitoes require blood from living hosts in order for their eggs to develop. In cooler climates, they are mainly a biting nuisance, but in more tropical regions they pose a real threat to animals and humans as they are vectors transmitting serious diseases from host to host. These include yellow fever, west Nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis and, most notably, malaria.

It is estimated that 300-500 million people in nearly 100 countries worldwide are infected with malaria. Of these, some 2.5 million will die each year. This makes the mosquito the most dangerous animal in the world.

Sumitomo Chemical has created highly effective mosquito-killing formulations in the form of plug-in vaporiser liquids and vaporiser mats. See our products.


TicksTicks are ectoparasites: small arachnids which live by feeding on the blood of living hosts – mostly mammals and birds. They are found across the globe, especially in warm, humid climates. They cannot fly or jump, but quickly climb from vegetation on to a host – for instance, when a dog brushes past them through long grass.

Ticks are often infected with pathogens. They attach to their host while feeding (embedding the head in the skin), in some cases for several days, during which time they may pass on their infections.

Major tick-borne diseases affecting humans, pets or livestock include Lyme disease (the main risk in the UK), babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, African tick bite fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, canine jaundice, and bovine anaplasmosis.


FleasAdult fleas live exclusively as ectoparasites of warm-blooded animals, especially mammals. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are responsible for most domestic flea infestations.

Besides the itchy, biting nuisance, fleas can also act as a vector for disease, transmitting various harmful viruses and bacteria or tapeworms to their hosts.

The most serious infection they can spread to humans is bubonic plague, transmitted by rodent fleas. Rodent fleas have in the past been responsible for serious epidemics of this disease, the most famous being the Great Plague of London in 1665.

Sumitomo Chemical has a water-based insecticide spray formulation that kills fleas rapidly and keeps working for up to six months. See our products.

Dust mites

Dust MitesHouse dust mites, as their name implies, thrive in human dwellings around the world, living off organic debris – particularly the sloughed skin flakes that make up household dust. They are mainly found in furniture, carpets, mattresses and pillows.

Dust mites do not bite, but their faeces contain very potent enzymes which often induce allergic reactions in humans (and pets), especially respiratory conditions like allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Sumitomo Chemical distributes ready-made aerosol sprays that kill dust mites rapidly and keep working for up to four weeks. See our products.


CockroachesCockroaches are extremely resilient insects that can survive in many habitats, even in the Arctic – but most are found in warm, humid climates.

A few species of cockroach have become problematic pests. These feed on human foodstuffs, wallpaper, leather and other items found in homes and commercial premises. A building may become infested by accidentally introducing eggs or adults in laundry or construction materials, or by the cockroaches entering through drains or rubbish chutes in search of food.

Cockroaches can carry and spread many diseases to humans, some of them serious, such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid and poliomyelitis. They are also associated with allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.

Sumitomo Chemical distributes ready-made insecticide aerosol and trigger spray formulations that rapidly kill cockroaches and keep the sprayed area treated for up to three months. See our products.


HousefliesHouseflies are extremely common insects found all over the world, which are highly active indoors. In warmer climates, houseflies remain active and reproduce throughout the year. They will feed indiscriminately on any liquefiable food.

Apart from the obvious nuisance they cause, houseflies are very unhygienic; they frequently feed on rotting food and faeces, and subsequently land and feed on food intended for humans consumption, constantly depositing their own faeces. In this way, they can transmit intestinal worms and are potential carriers of some serious diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis.

Sumitomo Chemical has aerosol and trigger sprays that efficiently knock-down and kill houseflies. See our products.


AntsAnts are found almost everywhere on the planet; there are an estimated 22,000 difference species of these insects. They live in highly organised societies and survive by a wide variety of means, from farming and ‘milking’ aphids or growing and eating fungus, to preying on termites and other ants.

Foraging worker ants travel widely in search of food, presenting a problem for humans when they enter environments intended to be kept sterile. If they detect sweet food in a kitchen or food storage facility, that location may quickly be overrun and contaminated by ants, resulting in food being discarded for hygiene reasons. Many types of ant can also sting or bite people and animals.

Sumitomo Chemical has  an insecticide aerosol and spray formulation that rapidly kills ants and keeps the sprayed area ant-free for up to three months. See our products.


WaspsWasps are closely related to ants, with tens of thousands of species spread across the globe. Like ants, many species of wasp are social insects with new nests being constructed every year. Wasp nests may be located underground, in buildings or in trees or bushes. Social ants may prey on other insects, but they primarily forage for sugary foods like fruit and nectar – along with the cakes and soft drinks at people’s summer picnics.

Wasps have a very strong attraction to sweet foods and drinks, and cause a nuisance when they enter kitchens, bakeries, restaurants or food preparation areas. Food stuffs can be contaminated by wasps walking and feeding on them, and people may be disturbed or even stung.

Sumitomo Chemical has ready-made aerosol and spray formulations that efficiently knock-down and kill wasps. See our products.


MothsMoths are insects (of the order Lepidoptera – or ‘scaly wing’)  related to butterflies, found all over the world. Most species are nocturnal.

It is the larvae of certain moth species that are responsible for causing damage to stored products. The most well-known problem is with clothes moths; their larvae feed on fabrics containing wool and silk, leaving holes in clothes along with their waste products and webbing.

Other moth species are major agricultural pests, with the larvae eating their way through corn or fruit farms.

Sumitomo Chemical’s active substance, Vaporthrin®, is highly effective at repelling moths thanks to its high volatility at room temperature and long-lasting activity. It can be added to a paper carrier to be placed inside closets or wardrobes, making it an excellent pyrethroid alternative to traditional mothballs. See our active substances.


Placing biocidal products like insecticides on the market in the European Union requires approval and authorisation at the national and European levels.

Many European countries operate national authorisation schemes for the regulation of biocidal active substances and formulated biocidal products. The control of biocides is generally under the direction of a particular ministry or executive of a Member State.

A biocidal product is one which, as a substance or mixture, controls any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. That control may mean destroying, repelling, rendering harmless, or preventing the action of the organism.

National regulations

Some biocidal products fall within the scope of national agencies regulating pesticides. In the UK, the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (COPR) includes insecticides within their scope and there is overlap with products considered by the EU Biocidal Products Regulations (EC 528/2012; BPR).

The Health and Safety Executive is the regulating authority for COPR. For an insecticidal product to be advertised, sold, supplied, stored or used in the UK, it must be approved by the Health and Safety Executive. Sumitomo Chemical (UK) plc supports several approved formulated products which are available for back-to-back (clone or “me-too”) application in the UK.*

* Terms and conditions apply.

The EU Biocidal Products Regulations and Active Substances

The Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) aim to harmonise the placing of biocidal products on the market at the EU level. The BPR repealed the Biocidal Products Directive (Directive 98/8/EC) and aims to simplify the approval of active substances and products, provide timelines for evaluation, opinion and decision-making, and reduce animal testing.

All formulated biocidal products placed on the market require prior approval of their active substance(s). However, if the product contains an active substance which is under evaluation as part of the Biocides Review Programme, it may – subject to national laws – be made available on the market pending approval at the EU level.

The EU Regulations and Biocidal Products

Whereas approval of an active substance occurs at the EU level, authorisation of a formulated biocidal product occurs at the national level. Authorisation by one Member State may be extended under the principles of mutual recognition to include other Member States. Alternatively, an eligible product may receive an EU authorisation without needing specific national authorisation.

Using Sumitomo’s approved products

Preparing dossiers and applications to submit products for evaluation and subsequent authorisation is a very time-consuming and expensive process requiring careful planning and preparation. Sumitomo Chemical (UK) plc holds dossiers for 17 active substances either authorised at the EU level (under the BPR) or which are under evaluation, and owns numerous national formulated product authorisations. We can provide comprehensive regulatory support to our customers, including Letters of Access to the dossiers of our active substances and formulated products, saving customers time and money when they wish to obtain an authorisation for a new product. See our support section for more information.