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Pest control product testing and development



(article reproduced from the January 2005 edition of Crop Protection Monthly)


Insect Investigations is headquartered in Cardiff, Wales, and has recently opened a new facility in north east England in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. With links to other European countries, especially Spain, the company is now able to manage entire field-testing programmes and offers a multi-geographical field trials capability for its pest control clients.


High Growth Welsh company

The business was founded in 1989 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cardiff University. A management buyout by the directors and staff followed in 2001 when the company relocated to a new, purpose-built facility. In 2002, Insect Investigations expanded into new areas such as GLP non-target tier studies and was also selected by the Welsh Development Agency as an official 'High Growth Company' - a reflection of its significant achievements.

In the four years since the buyout, Insect Investigations has managed to double its turnover and expand its core GEP efficacy business. The company is an Officially Recognised Testing Organisation (ORETO) and has established GLP compliance for terrestrial ecotoxicology studies.

New areas of activity

The company has also moved into the areas of resistance monitoring, regulatory advice and herbicide testing. Through CARMS, the Cardiff Resistance Monitoring Service, which brings together the facilities and expertise of Insect Investigations with those of Cardiff University's School of Biosciences, the company can now assist the pest control industry to monitor the effectiveness of crop protection products and biocides. It can also offer impartial advice on pesticide resistance management.


Rapid, responsive and reliable 

Dr Peter McEwen, managing director, explains that the success of Insect Investigations can be encapsulated in just three words “rapid, responsive, and reliable”, which appear on all the company’s promotional material. He says that the company operates an ethos of delivering excellent work, to tight deadlines, and of providing active client feedback during the course of all projects. 

Insect Investigations offers laboratory, glasshouse, simulated field (including caged arena) and field trials for all sectors of the arthropod and mollusc pest control industry. Its field trials capability extends to GEP and GLP studies for numerous sectors, including:       

  • agriculture

  • animal health (including houseflies and poultry mites in animal houses)

  • public health (flies, ants, roaches etc)

  • horticulture (including apple orchard pests)

  • veterinary (including sheep blow fly)

  • ecotoxicology & non-target arthropods.

Trials are all undertaken to a high standard. The company has also been closely involved in environmental monitoring of insect pests, including for example outbreaks of chironomid midges. 

According to Dr McEwen, Insect Investigations sees field trials as a major growth area in the next few years and is constantly improving this capability. The recent opening of the Newcastle office, and the links that it is forming with other European CROs, demonstrates its commitment to this area of the business. In time, the company aims to become the leading European product testing and development centre for the pest control industry.


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