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Plants Fight Back: Pyrethrins Provide Organic Pest Control

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

If you're looking for an environmentally safe pest control methods, you may want to consider products that include compounds derived from plants. Among the most popular plant-based organic pest control products are those derived from the pyrethrum daisy, chrysanthemum cinerarifolium. Its active ingredient, or pyrethrins, can eliminate insects quickly with almost no environmental impact.

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Pyrethrin Insecticides Can Provide Fast Results
To increase their effectiveness, pyrethrins are often mixed with other organic compounds including another plant-based insecticide called rotenone. Pyrethrin sprays and fogging applications can knock bugs down immediately. If battling bugs is a major part of your lawn care activities, using pyrethrin-based insecticide products should yield immediate results.

Lawn Care with Low Environmental Impact
Pyrethrins degrade quickly and their residue does not linger on plants, soil, or in water. You can apply pyrethrins to edible plants and harvest them the same day. The federal government has deemed pyrethrin based insecticides safe for a large number of produce crops. Pyrethrins are among a very few insecticide products approved for use around in areas where food is prepared.

Popularity of Pyrethrins Leads to Production of Lab-Created Pyrethroids
The effectiveness and widespread use of natural pyrethrins for pest control has prompted scientists to create synthetic pyrethrins, or pyrethroids. Synthetic pyrethroids--including permethrin--are widely used for commercial agriculture applications to protect wheat, corn, cotton, as well as alfalfa fields. However, they have also reached the consumer market in various forms of pest control products. Consumers should remember that synthetic pyrethroids and pyrethrins with synthetics (chemical agents that enhance the effectiveness of the insecticide), such as piperonynl butoxide (PBO), are typically not considered to be organic products.

However, for your organic lawn care needs, pyrethrins without synergists can be the answer to organic gardeners' need for safe and effective insect control.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Natural Pesticides
Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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