Ever heard of a pyrethrum spray?
A natural pyrethrum bug spray comes from the dried blossoms of white pyrethrum daisies, Tanacetum cinerariifolium. The insecticidal activity of this potent organic compound targets an insect’s nervous system, paralyzing it (on contact) and thus leading to its death.
The Pyrethrin spray – An established, commonly used natural pesticide like organic neem oil or insect repellent and is considered one of the best and safest “organic insecticidal sprays” permitted under National Organic Standards rules.
Pyrethrum (“pie-wreath-rum”) combined with Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) find themselves broadly utilized in insect control sprays. [source]
Around 200 years ago in Central Asia, individuals found that dried, pulverized blossoms of specific chrysanthemum flowers worked as a bug poison.
During the Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815), this ‘bug powder’ controlled bug and body lice infestations by French warriors.
Today, many practicing organic gardening prefer to use a pyrethrin spray and Neem oil over synthetic pesticides as they only affect common insect pests (work by shutting down their nerve cells) and don’t affect humans or mammals.
Aside from this, the active compounds break down (due to sunlight exposure) within a matter of days, making it an environmentally safe alternative for use on vegetables, fruits, and even your flowers.
Advantages Of Using Pyrethrum Sprays
Efficient Insect Pests Killer And Repellant
As mentioned above, a Pyrethrum spray concentrate contains a highly toxic compound. However, it’s the least toxic pesticide out there.
When used in low concentrations for insect control, the spray helps repel insects from your vegetable garden, while high levels eliminate most of these soft-bodied insects altogether.
Moreover, it reduces plant damage by repelling these pests. It can be used as a flea and tick spray, insect spray, or wasp hornet killer.
However, be careful in using this because it can also adversely affect beneficial insects, such as honey bees and ladybugs.
Biodegradable Pest Control
Most of the active ingredients found in pyrethrum spray breaks down after a few days. Research shows that this botanical insecticide pyrethrin breaks down much faster when exposed to UV (sun rays) rays.
Spot spraying proves very effective for heavily-infested plants. Apply sprays to the “hot spots” directly to the adult insect’s body.
However, use pyrethrin-based sprays for pest control in organic gardening with care and consideration. Consider all other options first, and use them as a last resort.
Natural pyrethrin is very dangerous to honeybees, wasps, and other gainful bugs, as well as to fish.
Related Reading: How To Get Rid Of A Wasps Nest Naturally
What Insect Pests Does Pyrethrum Sprays Control?
Pyrethrum frequently helps control a wide range of insect pests like:
- Control aphids
- Beet and fall armyworms
- Small plant mites
- Spider mites
- Cucumber bugs
- Head louse
- Cabbage loopers
- Cucumber beetles
- Potato beetles
- Squash bugs (also Neem on Squash Bugs)
- Juice-sucking leafhoppers
- Colorado potato bugs
How To Use A Pyrethrum Pesticide On Plants?
Like all insecticides, when applying them, applicators should take caution. Outlined below, you’ll find a few recommended ways to use pyrethrum on plants.
Spray Early In The Morning
If spraying to control flying insects, apply a botanical pyrethrum insecticide very early in the morning before the sun comes up.
Using a hand sprayer and wearing a respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus, apply pyrethrin insecticide directly on the infested plants without disturbing them. This allows maximum exposure and efficiency for controlling these pests.
Consider covering treated plants with an old sheet or row cover to protect honeybees, lady beetles, and other beneficial insects. Covering the plants for at least 24 hours gives enough time to ensure a thorough killing of the target insects.
Spraying in those “hot spots” proves very efficient for controlling nymphs, especially when crowded together. Spot applications are recommended for vegetable and fruit crops affected by whiteflies and other garden insects that attack in groups.
Use In Liquid Form
Although commonly available in dust form, many advise using this organic pyrethrin concentrate in a liquid form. Mix pyrethrum powders with either soapy water or oil (as recommended by the manufacturer).
However, the liquid form is considerably more efficient than the powdered form.
You also get to protect various pollinators (such as bees and colorful, fluttering butterflies) from pyrethrin when using it in liquid form.
Pyrethrum products come packaged and ready to use. Simply follow the manufacturer’s pesticide label instructions to control these pests fast and efficiently.
Many pesticides and pest control products on the market today, including synthetic ones, contain pyrethrin in them.
Organic pyrethrum products may, however, contain soaps or oils like Neem oil which help enhance their effectiveness in controlling pests.
If you want a natural organic pesticide, it’s better to create your own Pyrethrum pesticide.