A new technique to use pesticides that could help prevent genetic resistance has been developed by Barry Pittendrigh, a Purdue University entomologist, and Patrick Gaffney, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher.

Called negative cross-resistance (NCR), the technique uses multiple pesticides in a precise way to stop pests.

With the method, scientists would identify a second biocide — a pesticide, antibiotic, herbicide or fungicide — that specifically kills the resistant pest. Then the two biocides would be used together to prevent resistance.

“We outline how companies or individuals can search for and develop NCR compounds to a commercially applicable level,” Pittendrigh says.

“Although negative cross-resistance is not ‘the’ answer to dealing with resistance to pesticides, it certainly has the potential to play a significant role.”