does pyrethrum work

Does Pyrethrum Work as an Insecticide?

So, does pyrethrum work? Is pyrethrum insecticide an acceptable option if you want to get rid of the annoying pests in your plants and garden?

Finding an effective natural insecticide can be a little daunting. Pest control products can be potent but might not be safe for organic gardening.

There are just too many pesticides especially synthetic pesticides.

This is why natural pyrethrum or neem oil spray can be a great option. It can help rid your garden of insect pests as well as control an infestation.

Syngenta 070294125000 Demon Max Insecticide, Yellowish
  • Note: The "REL" before the month and year stands for the "release" or production date. This product does not have an expiration, "use by", or stated...

Why Use Natural Pesticides for Your Plants?

We all want what’s best for our plants, but sometimes it’s hard to know what that is.

When it comes to insecticides, there are two main options: synthetic and natural. Synthetic pesticides are man-made chemicals. On the other hand, natural insecticides are made from plants and other natural sources.

Here are a few reasons why natural insecticides might be the best option for your plants:

  1. Natural insecticides are less likely to harm beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
  2. They’re also less likely to harm other animals or humans.
  3. Natural insecticides break down more quickly in the environment.
  4. They’re often just as effective as synthetic insecticides at controlling pests.
  5. Natural insecticides tend to be more affordable than their synthetic counterparts.

can pyrethrin burn plants

What is Natural Pyrethrum?

Pyrethrum is an organic insecticide derived from the chrysanthemum flower or dried flowers of pyrethrum daisies (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium).

Since it is nontoxic, most certified organic farms can use it.

This flower contains pyrethrum, a natural compound that repels bugs and insects. The same compound can be extracted to be used for pest control.

It is naturally available in dust form, but this pesticide should be used in liquid form. This compound is used in bug bombs, foggers, and even head lice treatments.

How Does This Natural Pesticide Work?

The active chemicals from a pyrethrum spray can immediately knock down an insect upon exposure to its toxicological properties.

The chrysanthemum flowers are collected and crushed to produce a fine powder. This powder is either used as it is or later processed to be used as sprays to protect your garden.

In a liquid form, pyrethrum can be combined with other natural compounds to increase its potency.

Pyrethrum Insecticides and Beneficial Insects

If you use pyrethrum insecticides to control plant pests, be aware that it kills beneficial insects as well as insect pests. Unfortunately, this means that it could reduce the number of beneficial insects.

Fortunately, pyrethrum insecticides break down quickly; so the risk of destroying all of the beneficial insects is fairly limited to how long the residues will remain on the plants.

pyrethrin based insecticide

Difference Between Pyrethrum, Pyrethrins, and Pyrethroids

These compounds come from the same source but are chemically a little different from each other.

  • Pyrethrum refers to the entire compound extracted from the flower, without any additives.
  • Pyrethrins are the six active esters that work in the compound to kill pests. It mixes with other ingredients like neem oil to make it more potent against plant bugs.
  • Pyrethroids are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of pyrethrum. They’re usually made of one synthetic molecule that is potent enough to get rid of all insects upon contact.


This is a natural compound that works to kill pests in your indoor or outdoor garden. It does not contain any chemicals.

The concentration of the potent biological molecules that affect the nervous system of various insects differs from one flower harvest to another. The flower can be dried, and the dried powder can be sprinkled to keep insects at bay.


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Because the concentration of the natural active compound is not consistent, pyrethrins are usually more potent. This compound is organic and safe to use in your garden, but it’s more potent.

Pyrethrins degrade in UV, so regular application is necessary to keep insects at bay.

When the insects sense this compound’s presence, they will escape quickly, as it induces a flushing behavior in target pests.

Some gardeners and farmers mix pyrethrins with other strong compounds to increase their potency.

Pyrethrins are usually mixed with piperonyl butoxide, a toxic, non-organic chemical, to make it stronger and more effective.

It can also be combined with other organic ingredients such as neem oil or insecticidal soap to kill insects instantly.


These are synthetic compounds that usually contain one molecule that mimics the effect of pyrethrins.

The synthetic insecticide is as potent as the organic one and doesn’t degrade when exposed to UV light. It’s more stable when stored and provides more potent and longer pest control.

pyrethrum spray for plants

Benefits of Natural Insecticide Spray to Organic Gardening

There are many benefits to using pyrethrum spray as an insecticide for your plants, and here are some of them:

You can easily grow the flower in your garden or backyard.

Dry and grind the flower to obtain the active ingredient that would help with controlling pests. The flowers themselves repel insects and will keep pests away from the rest of your flowers and vegetables.

Pyrethrum breaks down fast, and it doesn’t stay in the soil for long. Although there are studies that have shown that very small amounts of pyrethrum or pyrethrin could remain, it is still a great pesticide for food crops.

This compound can effectively kill a wide range of flying insects.

It can kill ants, flies, fleas, moths, aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, leafhoppers, and mosquitoes. Pyrethrum acts fast upon contact.

It helps you get rid of a large number of insects fast, and only a small amount is needed.

Pyrethroid insecticides don’t harm the environment.

Thanks to its organic origin, this compound isn’t toxic to birds that accidentally get in contact with your sprayed plants. However, it’s not 100% safe and can make birds sick.

The compound breaks down easily and doesn’t linger in the environment. Other synthetic compounds can affect the environment as they remain in the soil for a long time.

So, make sure you’re not buying synthetic pyrethroid.

Pyrethroid insecticides can rid your home of other insects.

Because it’s quite potent, you can use pyrethrum to get rid of ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes that might be bothering your dog.

This compound is not toxic to dogs. It will help get rid of any pests that might be annoying your pet.

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Pyrethrum Daisy Pesticides have low toxicity to humans.

The toxicological properties of a pyrethrum spray are kind to humans. However, inhaling large amounts of these pesticides can result in headache, nausea, runny nose, and difficulty breathing.

Drawbacks to Using Pyrethrum in Your Garden

Can be extremely toxic to some creatures

Although pyrethrum can be an effective insect repellent, it can be highly toxic to honey bees and butterflies, so you need to make sure that you’re not using it around these useful bugs.

These pests are highly beneficial because they pollinate your vegetables and also feed on harmful pests that can infest your garden. Growing the flower next to vegetables and other plants can affect pollination.

how does pyrethrin work

Best to use pyrethrin or pyrethrum for spot-spraying

Pyrethrum should be sprayed directly on the highly infested plant and the insects that feed on it. Spraying it around your garden will be harmful to useful bugs as it kills insects upon contact.

This is why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that pyrethrum daisy sprays and pesticide, like most pesticides, should have a caution label.

Pyrethrum spray can be toxic to some animals.

If you have cats in the house, you should avoid using this compound as it’s extremely toxic to cats. It’s also highly toxic to aquatic life.

It could kill a fish quickly, so you shouldn’t get rid of it in water bodies after pesticide use. It’s also toxic to amphibians and shouldn’t be sprayed in water ponds.

Does the Non-Toxic Active Ingredients of Pyrethrum Spray Work?

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide, which you can use to rid your garden or backyard of harmful insects.

The chemicals inside the pyrethrum affect the insect’s nervous system and knock them down instantly. However, it’s best to use this organic insecticide as a spot-spraying plant treatment.

Since it’s quite strong, it can rid of even the most useful bugs like bees and butterflies. Exposure to pyrethrum can also be toxic to animals.


If you need more information on pyrethrum daisies and spraying pyrethrum on plants, you can get more information from the National Pesticide Information Center.

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