Emamectin is widely used in controlling lepidopterous pests (order of insects that as larvae are caterpillars and as adults have four broad wings including butterflies, moths, and skippers) in agricultural products in the US, Japan, Canada, and recently Taiwan. The low-application rate of the active ingredient needed (~6 g/acre) and broad-spectrum applicability as an insecticide has gained emamectin significant popularity among farmers.
Emamectin has been shown to possess a greater ability to reduce the colonization success of engraver beetles and associated wood borers in loblolly pines (Pinus taeda L).6 A 2006 study regarding bolt-injections of four types of pesticides found emamectin to be the greatest reducer against these species with respect to the amount of larval feeding, length, and number of egg galleries.6 Formation of long vertical lesions in the phloem and xylem surrounding emamectin injection points were found indicating some level of tree-toxicity to the emamectin.
A water-soluble preparation of emamectin in polysorbate, acetone, and methanol was shown to prevent the wilting of Japanese black pine trees inoculated with pine-wood nematodes (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus).Previous treatment of B. xylophilus infections involved eradicating the local population of Japanese pine sawyers associated with the spread of the nematode.
Emamectin has also been successfully employed by fish farmers in the control of sea lice in Atlantic salmon.The United Kingdom, Chile, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Spain, and Norway are currently registered to use emamectin in their fish feed. Removal of the afflicting sea louse represents an increase in the integrity of their salmonid product due to the subsequent reduction of bacterial and viral pathogens possibly carried by the sea lice. Emamectin has shown efficacy against all life-cycle stages of Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Salmon louse) and Caligus elongatus (Sea louse), preventing maturation to the reproductive stage.
A related dihydroxy avermectin B1 compound, ivermectin, is utilized orally in humans as an acaricide and insecticide for the treatment of strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis. Veterinarians also employ ivermectin in the treatment of heartworms in dogs and other infestations.