A One-Two Punch

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Large-colony ants and other perimeter pests are outmatched by the dual-active ingredient, dual-formulation Tandem insecticide.

October 6, 2021


Tandem features a ZC formulation with the power of two active ingredients, thiamethoxam and lambda-cyhalothrin.


Argentine ants, odorous house ants and tawny crazy ants are some of the hardest pests for service technicians to control.

They can form super colonies with hundreds of thousands of workers and multiple nests that span numerous properties, even entire city blocks.

The persistent pests are known to re-invade, which keeps pest management professionals (PMPs) returning again and again to address the problem. These callbacks cost PMPs money and potentially customers, who grow frustrated with recurring ant issues.

That’s why Terminix Service in Columbia, South Carolina, began using Tandem as a preventive perimeter treatment nine years ago. “Using that as a preventive product seems to have helped out a lot on general ant issues. It provides really good results,” says Kevin Hathorne, the company’s technical director.

Terminix Service chose Tandem as its go-to perimeter treatment because of its dual modes of action. That’s also why Coasterra Pest Control in Orange, California, uses the product.

“Having two modes of action, it’s like putting down two applications of two different products that don’t conflict with each other. You’re going to have a better chance of control using a dual-mode-of-action product over a single-mode product,” says Rylan Woodall, Coasterra branch manager.



We do like the systemic action of the product, and we train our technicians to spray the vegetation around the house to help cut down on those honeydew-producing insects, which in turn attract the ants. That’s a very beneficial part of the product.”


Two active ingredients comprise Tandem®: lambda-cyhalothrin, the same active ingredient in Demand® CS insecticide, and thiamethoxam, the active ingredient in Optigard® Flex liquid insecticide. Each works differently to control labeled pests; together, they deliver a powerful one-two punch in a single application.

The insecticide also is systemic. Thiamethoxam is absorbed by plants through leaves and roots, which kills aphid and scale insects that feed on plant sap to make honeydew, a favorite food source of large-colony ants.

“We do like the systemic action of the product, and we train our technicians to spray the vegetation around the house to help cut down on those honeydew-producing insects, which in turn attract the ants. That’s a very beneficial part of the product,” says Hathorne.

Doug Hillman, a supervisor at American Pest Control in Hanna City, Illinois, likes the product’s broad label, which lists more than 90 pests. His team uses it to control ants, spiders, fleas, bed bugs and Asian lady beetles; they use it indoors and outdoors and at commercial and residential properties.

“The label is what makes the product so useful to PMPs,” agrees Dr. Chris Keefer, technical services manager for Professional Pest Management (PPM) at Syngenta, North America. “Tandem can be used indoors and outdoors, including in kitchens, on fire ant mounds, in wall voids and wall delivery systems, and even in trains, planes and automobiles. It also can be used in two concentrations for either maintenance or initial clean-out treatments.”

The long-lasting residual also is attractive. “Tandem is one of those products that you pull out and say, maybe this gives you a little more residual, a little more knockdown, a little more chemical that will last until you’re going to be at that account again,” says Hillman.

Its staying power comes from a unique ZC formulation, which combines a suspension concentrate of thiamethoxam with a capsule suspension of lambda-cyhalothrin with iCAP technology, a proprietary formulation technology from Syngenta that microencapsulates lambda-cyhalothrin.

The microcaps are made of double-walled polymer with a spongy interior, and they vary in size from 5 to 25 microns. The smaller microcaps fall into cracks and crevices where pests harbor and break soon after application, releasing the active ingredient and providing fast knockdown. The larger microcaps are more durable and can withstand UV rays, pH extremes and other environmental challenges, thus breaking down over time and providing long-term residual.

Even in hot and sunny Southern California, Tandem holds up between perimeter service calls. “It seems to stand up to the weather extremely well. We don’t have to go out and reapply like maybe you would with a cheaper competing product,” says Woodall.

Customer feedback led to the development of Tandem. Pest management professionals in the field were tank-mixing two products to get the benefits of two active ingredients.

“Syngenta had the capability to bring these together in the ZC formulation into one bottle. That made it easier for technicians to have that one bottle on the truck; it makes it easier to measure and mix,” says Dr. Gallagher.

It also delivers significant value for the price by reducing expensive callbacks. Woodall learned this the hard way. In early 2020, he switched to a bifenthrin insecticide to save money, not knowing how the pandemic might affect business.

“It was an absolute nightmare. My guys were complaining like crazy. Our callback rate went through the roof,” he recalls. As soon as that stock was used up, he switched back to Tandem. “Less callbacks means less time wasted, which means more money in our pockets,” he says.

Tandem conveys confidence. “You don’t have to worry that it will work,” says Hillman, and that gives customers peace of mind. “If you have a place where you want the absolute best or they have a problem and you want to take care of it, Tandem is definitely at the top of our list to use,” he says.

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