What is pyrethrum?

Pyrethrum is the botanical insecticide derived from the white chrysanthemum daisy Tanacetum cinerariaefolium. It is a naturally occurring insecticide that the plant has evolved over a millennia as its own insect protection. The active plant oil is found mostly in microscopic oil glands around the seed casing in the flower head, and is made up of a combination of six chemical esters known as pyrethrins.

When refined and extracted, pyrethrum is effective against a whole range of insect pests, from a domestic setting in the home to commercial applications. Pyrethrum has several characteristics that distinguish it from conventional, synthetic insecticides.

  1. Fast acting against most insect pests.
  2. A repellant as well as an insecticide - in ultra low volumes pyrethrum keeps insects away.
  3. Non-toxic to humans and warm blooded animals - only used in the low volumes at which it is effective.
  4. Non-persistent in the environment - pyrethrum breaks down quickly in sunlight, preventing any buildup in the environment ensuring insect resistance does not develop.

For applications in the most sensitive environments, pyrethrum is a low-risk, natural insecticide that is fast acting and effective against insect pests while completely harmless to humans and animals.

Tried and Tested

Pyrethrum's insecticidal properties have been known for thousands of years. Native to China, pyrethrum was traded along the Silk Route and powdered pyrethrum flowers were highly prized in Europe as 'Persian Flea Powder' - a potion which relived the persistent insect itches of the ancient world.


A synergist is a compound which has little or no insecticidal action by itself but when combined with pyrethrum, will act to multiply the effect of pyrethrum.

The compound Piperonyl Butoxide is a potent synergist. It works to block or deactivate the detoxifying enzyme complexes released from the insect tissue. Though not insecticidal in itself, it dramatically improves kill though not so markedly the knockdown effect. Like pyrethrum it is quickly degraded by sunlight.
How does it work?

Pyrethrum affects the central nervous systems of all types of flying and crawling insects, blocking nerve junctions so that nervous impulses fail. This affects insect behaviour, producing a so-called avoidance reaction which results in insects fleeing the source of the chemicals. Importantly, pyrethrum induces abnormal behaviour in female mosquitoes, leaving them disorientated and unable to seek out their usual blood meals.

Application Method

Aerosols are one of the best known application methods for natural pyrethrum. They provide the speed and knockdown capability required for general commercial and domestic use. In commercial aerosols, which may be used in dairies or stables, larger quantities of Pyrethrins may be required especially if they are sequentially timed aerosols.

In this application, aerosols hold low pressure water-based formulations propelled by propane-Butane mixtures and synergised with Piperonyl Butoxide.
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