MGK alliance with Sumitomo Chemical fuels innovation, expanded capabilities

By |  September 26, 2018
PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

MGK recently added an automated bait-filling station for its family of cockroach gel baits. PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Family-owned for its first 110 years, Minneapolis-based MGK joined another family, Sumitomo Chemical, in 2012. The alliance allows MGK to operate autonomously, while gaining access to Sumitomo Chemical’s active ingredients, global research and development, and subsidiaries.

PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Steve Gullickson PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Just one example of the many flowers stemming from this powerful partnership is Sumitomo Chemical’s acquisition of Botanical Resources Australia (BRA) in March 2018, says MGK President Steve Gullickson.

“BRA manages thousands of acres of Australian-grown daisies used in the production pyrethrum (Py),” Gullickson says. “Now, thanks to our alliance with Sumitomo Chemical, MGK — a global leader in the production of Py — has enhanced the reliability of its supply of this botanical product.” (For more on MGK’s pyrethrum business, see “The Life of Py” on p. 16). 

Fueled by its alliance with Sumitomo Chemical, MGK is kicking its innovation into fifth gear. The past two years alone, MGK launched four products to help pest management professionals (PMPs) improve insect control, while saving time and money:

OneGuard Multi MoA Concentrate (introduced in 2017) — Specially formulated for backpack sprayers, this mosquito control agent features four active ingredients (AIs) — lambda-cyhalothrin, prallethrin and piperonyl butoxide (PBO) — as well as MGK’s NyGuard IGR (insect growth regulator).

Vendetta Nitro Cockroach Gel Bait (2017) — This highly palatable bait leverages two AIs (clothianidin and NyGuard IGR) to kill cockroaches clients see and don’t see. It can be used indoors, in food and non-food areas, in apartments, homes, hotels, restaurants, schools and warehouses, as well as on ships, airplanes, trains and buses.

PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

MGK employs a broad team of chemists and entomologists to ensure its solutions solve pest problems. Pictured here is Brandon Banh. PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

CrossFire Aerosol (2016) — This bed bug management tool delivers fast knockdown via direct spray, while also providing residual control. Featuring a trio of AIs — clothianidin, metofluthrin and PBO — this product targets all bed bug life stages (adults, nymphs and eggs), and controls pyrethroid-resistant strains.

CrossFire Bed Bug Concentrate (2016) — This product features the same AIs, use areas and benefits as CrossFire Aerosol, but it’s a liquid concentrate that reduces the labor needed for
bed bug control.

In addition to continual investments in innovation, MGK also is spending more to bolster its manufacturing capabilities. “At our Chaska, Minnesota plant, we recently invested in an automated filling station for our cockroach gel bait,” says Brian Krelitz, MGK’s senior market manager. “The new system has increased our gel baits production capacity by 67 percent. We continue to make significant investments in both our manufacturing capabilities and product pipeline,” Krelitz adds. “Stay tuned: We’ll be launching several more insect control innovations soon.”

MGK products combat ants, bed bugs, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, scorpions, spiders, stink bugs, stored product pests, wasps, yellowjackets and other structural pests.

Some of MGK’s more-established brands include:

NyGuard IGR — cockroaches, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, stored product pests, ticks and other pests.

Bedlam and Bedlam Plus — bed bugs.

Vendetta and Vendetta Plus — cockroaches.

Onslaught and Onslaught FastCap — broad-spectrum insect control.

Riptide and Sector — mosquitoes and flies.

“It’s by design, not chance, that demand for our liquid, aerosol and microcap innovations continues to grow,” MGK’s Gullickson notes. “We remain focused on developing insect control products based on the input of the PMP community. By bringing solutions to market we anticipate becoming an ever more valuable member of this incredible community.”

PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Quality control and assurance are top priorities for MGK. Pictured here is Celeste Stayer. PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

The Life of Py

In 1902, Alexander McLaughlin went into the business of grinding spices, plant leaves, barks, fruits and flowers for use in pharmaceuticals. Six years later, he incorporated the business with partners George King and John Gormley.

PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Brian Krelitz showcases MGK’s historic spices. PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

The company, McLaughlin Gormley King (MGK), soon realized its product shipments containing flowers in the chrysanthemum family of plants were never infested with live insects. “There must be something to this flower,” MGK’s partners wisely surmised. MGK had stumbled upon pyrethrum (Py), an effective natural insecticide. By the 1920s, MGK had standardized the extraction and refinement of pyrethrum to consistently deliver high-quality py-based insecticides.

Today, MGK is a global leader in the production of Py, and has made investments to grow, harvest and process flowers in Tasmania, Tanzania and Uganda. The process of isolating and refining Py is complex — requiring multiple extraction, separation and distillation steps. Here’s a simplified snapshot of The Life of MGK’s Py:

  • The active ingredient (AI) is extracted from the pyrethrum flowers to make crude Py.
  • The wax is separated from the Py.
  • The resin is separated from the Py.
  • The color is separated from the Py.
PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

The life of MGK’s Py: dried flowers, crude Py, Py after two distillations and finally 20% Py. PHOTO: Courtesy of MGK

Ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, bed bugs and many other pests are susceptible to the power of Py. Equally important, being a botanical, Py decomposes rapidly in the environment. As the demand for sustainable products continues to grow, more insecticide manufacturers worldwide are embracing Py.

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