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Does Pyrethrum Work as an Insecticide?

by | Knowledge Bombs


So, does pyrethrum work?  Is pyrethrum insecticide an acceptable option if you want to get rid of the annoying pests in your garden? Keep on reading to learn more about this topic.

Finding an effective insecticide can be a little daunting. Pest control products can be potent but might not be safe to use around in an organic garden. This is why finding a potent organic insecticide can be the only solution.




What is Pyrethrum and Does pyrethrum work?



Pyrethrum is an organic compound extracted from the chrysanthemum flower. This flower grows in different parts of Asia, Europe, and Eastern Africa. In North America, this flower is known as the mum flower. It is mainly used for decorations.

This flower contains pyrethrum, a natural compound that repels bugs and insects. The same compound can be extracted to be used for pest control in your garden. Upon contact, the compound affects the insect’s nervous system, causing instant paralysis. Soon after that, the insect will die.

The chrysanthemum flower is collected, dried, and then crushed to produce a fine powder. This powder is either used as it is or later processed to be used as a spray to protect your garden from pests. In a liquid form, pyrethrum can be combined with other natural compounds to increase its potency.



What is the 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 that was extracted from the flower, without any additives.
  • Pyrethrins are the six active esters that actually work in the compound to kill pests.
  • 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.

There are several factors that affect the concentration of the natural active compound. Such as, the temperature, the nutrition in the soil, rainfall, and humidity. The flower can be dried, and the dried powder can be sprinkled to keep insects at bay. It can also be mixed with water or other liquids to create a spray.





Because the concentration of the natural active compound is not consistent, pyrethrins are usually more potent because only the six active esters are isolated in a single insecticide. This compound is organic and safe to use in your garden, but it’s more potent.

Pyrethrins degrade in UV, so they should be applied regularly 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 pyrethrins are mixed 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.



What are the Benefits of Using Pyrethrum as an Insecticide?  Does pyrethrum work?



 Here are a few benefits of using pyrethrum as an insecticide.


  • You can easily grow the flower in your garden or backyard. Dry and grind the flower to obtain the active compound. The flowers themselves repel insects and will keep pests away from the rest of your flowers and vegetables.
  • This compound can effectively kill a wide range of insects and pests that can feed on and damage your plants. It can kill ants, flies, fleas, moths, aphids, mealybugs, whitelflies, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Things that you need to take into consideration before using Pyrethrum in your garden.  Does pyrethrum work?


  • This compound can be extremely toxic to some creatures. It can kill honey bees and butterflies, so you need to make sure that you’re not using it around these useful bugs. These insects 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.
  • It’s best to use pyrethrin or pyrethrum for spot-spraying. Use it to target a highly infested plant and spray the compound to kill the insects that feed on it. Spraying it around your garden will be harmful to useful bugs as it kills insects upon contact.
  • 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 fish, shrimps, and lobsters, so you shouldn’t get rid of it in water bodies. It’s also toxic to amphibians and shouldn’t be sprayed in water ponds.
  • If you spray this compound inside the house, cover your fish tank properly, as the slightest exposure can kill your aquatic pets.
  • When you apply this compound topically to help keep fleas away from your dog’s body, you should make sure that your dog is 100% clean of the compound before they jump into a body of water.
  • If you choose to prepare pyrethrum at home, you need to understand that your insecticide’s potency won’t be consistent. In some instances, the compound will be more potent than others, depending on how healthy your flowers are.



Does Pyrethrum Work as an Insecticide? – Wrap Up



Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that can be used to get rid of all the harmful insects in your garden or backyard. This organic compound is made from the dried chrysanthemum flower. It kills insects upon contact. The chemicals inside the pyrethrum affect the insects’ nervous systems and kill them instantly.

However, it’s best to use this organic insecticide as a spot-spraying treatment. Since it’s quite strong, it can kill even the most useful bugs like bees and butterflies. Moreover, it’s toxic to different creatures, so it should be used only on infested plants.

Pyrethrum is not that easy to obtain, so you can use pyrethrins or pyrethroids instead. Pyrethrins usually contain other strong natural compounds to kill insects faster. Pyrethroids are chemical compounds that mimic the effect of pyrethrum but are more stable and easier to obtain.

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