PYRETHRUM - Nature's Own
exclusively utilizes water-based Pyrethrum in our
automated misting systems. Pyrethrum is a natural, botanical
insecticide that is environmentally friendly and has several major
advantages over chemically synthesized insecticides including its
rapid breakdown in the environment and its lack of insect
Pyrethrum is extracted from a particular type of Chrysanthemum
known as the African Daisy (Chrysanthemum cineraria
folium). Oil is extracted from the seeds of these
flowers. The seeds are then crushed and used to make mosquito
coils burned in tropical climates around the world as a mosquito
Pyrethrum has been EPA registered for more than 3 decades
and is the model from which scientists have derived numerous
We have more information about Pyrethrum below:
Pyrethrum protects your family, pets, and yard from
mosquitoes and other annoying insects in four ways:
- Fast Knockdown and Kill - Pyrethrum affects the insects
central nervous system causing almost immediate knockdown of flying
- Jamming - Small, residual amounts of Pyrethrum cause female
mosquitoes stop seeking blood meals
- Activation - In small amounts, Pyrethrum stimulates the insects
to flush them from their hiding places, causing them to come into
contact with higher concentrations increasing the knockdown-and-kill
- Avoidance - Even in the smallest amounts, Pyrethrum causes
insects to flee the area
MORE ABOUT PYRETHRUM...
(Chrysanthemum cineraria folium)is a perennial
temperate plant with small white, daisy-like flowers from which
natural insecticides, the pyrethrins, are derived. Traditionally,
pyrethrum was produced in many African countries where hand-labor
was used to plant, harvest, and dry the crop. Political upheaval,
drought, and lack of an organized development and marketing
structure resulted in unreliable pyrethrum supplies for U.S.
In the late 1980's,however, Australia began a
pyrethrum development project and is now a major producer of the
crop. This has helped to stabilize the industry. Kenya, Tanzania,
Rwanda and Ecuador still remain the primary suppliers of pyrethrum,
however. Smaller amounts are grown in Japan, Brazil and India. The
United States is the principal consumer of world supplies of
pyrethrum. Demand for pyrethrum-based insecticides is on the rise
because of its long safety record, very low toxicity, and rapid
breakdown. Because of the selective and relatively small-scale use
of pyrethrum for over 160 years, there has been relatively little
development of insect resistance. As a result of these
characteristics, in recent years the use of pyrethrum based products
has increased dramatically on organic farms and for home insect
Pyrethrins are contact poisons which quickly act upon the nervous
system. In small doses, insects are knocked down; the toxins excite
the neurons causing convulsions. In the final stages of poisoning,
the insect cannot coordinate its voluntary muscles (ataxia); the
nervous system appears 'exhausted'. But insects can recover unless
the dosage is sufficient to kill.
For pyrethrum to be fully lethal to insects, it is generally
combined with a 'synergist', a chemical that enhances the pyrethrins
action on the nervous system. The synergist may be as simple as
vegetable oil or diatomaceous earth, or more complex like piperonyl
Pyrethrins have low toxicity to mammals, because mammals can
metabolize the chemicals. Pyrethrins breakdown in the presence of
sunlight, moisture, or oxygen making the chemicals biodegradable. In
the past two centuries of pyrethrum use, very few insects have
developed resistance to these toxins.
Natural pyrethrum, despite its power and safety, has
certain limitations. The fact that it is imported means it is
comparatively expensive. Moreover, some insects - houseflies for
example - are able to detoxify modest amounts of the poison in their
bodies. These tend to recover from any but the heaviest doses. In
addition, natural pyrethrum tends to break down in sunlight, rapidly
losing its effectiveness after outdoor use. Researchers have dealt
with the detoxification problem by combining pyrethrum extract with
a liquid synergist, piperonyl butoxide, which fools the insect's
metabolism so that it doesn't break down pyrethrum in the body.
Mixed with this chemical, a small amount of pyrethrum can control
As for the tendency of the substance to degrade in sunlight, this
has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Pyrethrum is considered
biodegradable and is sought for sensitive applications like the
post-harvest treatment of fruits and vegetables. Natural pyrethrum
is so safe that the U.S. Government approves its use on such
insect-prone foods as tomatoes, even while they are on their way to
the supermarket or processing plant. And in 1946 the city of
Amsterdam added pyrethrum to the municipal water supply to kill a
population of insects that were threatening 'to choke the system.
The insects were destroyed, while humans continued to drink, wash
and cook with the treated water without suffering any harm.
Pyrethrum has long been preferred for household and agricultural
applications. But recent research is revealing new power and new
uses for this old and tested insecticide. Combined with a synergist,
natural pyrethrum is one of the fastest-acting insecticides known.
Even before it kills, it knocks down and paralyzes insects almost
immediately. When it encounters pyrethrum, the insect is thrown into
a state of nervous disorder. It runs from its hiding place and
scuttles around erratically, or adopts a confused flight pattern.
Both responses show that the insect has lost all control of its
central nervous system. This contact effect is called activation.
Recent practice exploits the activation effect by adding small
amounts of pyrethrum to a routine residual agricultural formulation.
Activation - Flushing Action
Pyrethrum activates hidden insects, driving them from cover and
into contact with the main insecticide. This "flushing" action has
been most successful in the control of such hard-to-hit pests as the
cotton bollworm and the gypsy moth.
Recently, researchers have identified a subtle effect that occurs
even before activation takes place: jamming. The jamming phenomenon
suggests new uses for pyrethrum in the battle against mosquitoes. To
show how jamming works, you need only a cage full of voracious
female mosquitoes and some extremely brave volunteers. Those who put
their bare arms in the cage can expect to get some 20 to 50 bites
per minute. But if the cage is exposed to trace amounts of pyrethrum
for only five minutes and the arm is reinserted, no bites are
recorded, even though the insects otherwise seem completely normal.
Apparently small amounts of pyrethrum can jam the "black box" of the
insect's food-searching mechanism: The insect forgets to eat as it
were. Because of this effect, low-level pyrethrum applications have
been shown to reduce the risk of disease carried by mosquitoes.
Insects detecting minute amounts of residual pyrethrum in an area
will avoid or flee the area making pyrethrum an excellent repellant
for mosquitoes and other insects.
There's more to pyrethrum's bag of tricks. The reason is not
fully understood, but insects do not become resistant to natural
pyrethrum. After decades of use, no insect population has ever
developed significant pyrethrum resistance. Intense study of the
pyrethrum molecule has produced the related synthetic materials,
pyrethroids. But so far science has not devised a synthetic that
combines the speed, effectiveness, activation effects and
biodegradability of natural pyrethrum.