Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectra are presented and analyzed for two important organophosphate pesticides, dimethoate (DMT) and omethoate (OMT). Very detailed SERS spectra were obtained by aggregated Ag hydrosols, both in aqueous suspension and dried on a glass substrate. The SERS and ordinary Raman spectra of DMT do not resemble each other, suggesting that a chemical reaction immediately occurs when DMT is adsorbed onto the metal surface. We propose that the reaction product is OMT, which is the oxygen analog of DMT, on the basis of the Raman and SERS spectra of OMT. Further support is derived from the calculated Raman spectra of DMT and OMT. Minor wavenumber and intensity differences that are observed between the SERS spectra of DMT reaction product and those of OMT could be related to different metal/adsorbate interaction modes. The results can be useful in the development of new analytical methods for the determination of pesticide residues in food. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.