Abstract Field trails in 2002 and 2003 were performed to determine the efficacy of maize flour-based granular formulations with ultralow rates of the naturally derived insecticide spinosad (0.1, 0.3, and 1.0 g [AI]/ha), for control of Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) in maize, Zea mays L., in southern Mexico. Spinosad formulations were compared with a chemical standard, a commercial granular formulation of chlorpyrifos (150 g [AI]/ha). In both years, application of spinosad resulted in excellent levels of control, indicated by the number of living S. frugiperda larvae recovered from experimental plots. The efficacy of spinosad applied at 0.3 and 1.0 g (AI)/ha was very similar to that of chlorpyrifos. Natural reinfestation caused S. frugiperda numbers in insecticide treated plots to return to values similar to the control treatment by 10–15 d postapplication. Many spinosad-intoxicated larvae collected in the field died later in the laboratory in 2002, but not in 2003. Percentage mortality due to parasitoid emergence did not differ in any treatment in either field trial. The number of parasitoids that emerged from S. frugiperda collected in each treatment was significantly reduced after application of spinosad (all rates) or chlorpyrifos due to a reduction in the number of host larvae. Parasitoid numbers returned to control values by 9–15 d postapplication in all treatments. The most prevalent parasitoid was the braconid Chelonus insularis Cresson, which represented ≈80% of emerging parasitoids in both years. We conclude that appropriate formulation technology can greatly enhance the performance of this naturally derived, biorational insecticide.