Pyrethoids and the Chrysanthemum Myth Copy

We get asked a lot about “all-natural treatment options,” for mosquito control, and some of our competitors advertise these all-natural treatment options. At Pestecs we stay on top of best-practice and our goal is to truly minimize the use of harmful chemicals, but we are also skeptical of “all-natural” claims, and we firmly believe in being 100% transparent with what we are doing.

The two most common “all-natural treatment options” we get asked about are Cedar Oil and Pyrethoids. We’ll save Cedar Oil for another time and focus on Pyrethoids for this post.

Often other pest control companies reference Pyrethoids as being a naturally occurring derivative of the Chrysanthemum flower. While that statement is broadly speaking true, it’s said more to make you as a consumer feel “ok” about signing up for repeated pesticide applications.

Three things to keep in mind about Pyrethoids:

  1. Topping our list of things to keep in mind is that Pyrethoids are toxic to bees. Please see our page on how to Bee Careful with Pesticides for more information.
  2. Pyrethoids are also toxic to fish and other water organisms. All of the clients within the PesTecs service area are located near enough to water that we always consider what we apply to our homes and yards is likely ending up in the Long Island Sound. The Darien Times in 2013 referenced the effects of pesticides on the Sound, and Resmethrin, one of the pesticides mentioned in the article, is from the Pyrethoid family.
  3. Although originally derived from the Chrysanthemum, Pyrethoids have been modified to make them more toxic. Some pest management companies will tell you that Pyrethoids are natural and derived from Chrysanthemum flowers. While this is sort of a true statement, it’s roughly the equivalent of trying to convince you that cyanide is “ok” because it can be derived from apple seeds. The truth is that Pyrethrins are a chemical naturally occurring, but have been modified and improved to give them characteristics that make them more effective in pest management. Many of these new characteristics are to make them more repellent, longer lasting, more toxic to pests.

The Research:

Pyrethoids are some of the most widely used pesticides on the market today and play an important role in the management of mosquitoes, ticks, ants, and a wide range of other insects. Permethrin, which is one of the pyrethoids, is used to treat scabies and lice (active ingredient in Nix), and is the active ingredient in some dog flea and tick shampoos as well as Advantix, which is one of the brands of monthly spot treatments applied to dogs to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Permethrin can also be found as the active ingredient in Insect Shield, and other insect repellent clothing such as ExOfficio, which can be found at Orvis and other retailers. Insect repellent clothing is becoming more and more popular as diseases such as Zika and Lyme Disease are featured more on the news. The US military has conducted extensive testing on the effectiveness of Permethrin and other Pyrethoids in a variety of field applications and as repellents for troops in the field.

Permethrin has been around since 1973 and is on the list of USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Essential Medicines List, as well as the WHO (World Health Organization) Model List of Essential Medicines (April 2015). There is no question that Permethrin (and other Pyrethoids) has been widely studied and is widely used.

Permethrin is one in a long list of Pyrethoids. Some of the other Pyrethoids that are used in pest management applications include: Bifenthrin (sold under the trade name Talstar is probably the most widely used insecticide in Fairfield county if I had to guess), Cyfluthrin, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Lambda Cyhalothrin, and Sumithrin. Most of these names can be found as the active ingredient in products sold at Home Depot, and even the grocery store. They have all been engineered for different applications and may be labeled for different uses.

We routinely use Pyrethoids in our own business and are strongly convinced of their effectiveness and relative safety when used responsibly. It’s important to keep in mind the origin and nature of chemicals we are treating our homes and lawns with and to keep in mind what else is being killed in addition to the nuisance species being targeted.

It’s all of our responsibility to make sure we are treating ourselves and our environment with care.

Whether you choose PesTecs or another pest management firm we ask that you please –

Bee Responsible with Pesticides

Contact Us today for more information or to schedule an in-person quote for service.