Even natural insecticides have toxic properties. Pyrethrum originates from a flower in the chrysanthemum family. They resemble the well known and loved Daisy in appearance with pink and white petals. Geographically the flower comes from South America and Africa. Funnily enough the plant is a food eaten by some insects such as moths and butterflies.
The reason the insects that eat this plant are not effected by it’s toxins is due to the low dosage in the plant and also in the way it is presented. When the Pyrethrum is produced in higher concentrations the natural ability to act as an insecticide comes into play. The insects nervous system is affected causing the insect to firstly lose control and then succumb to any other product that is mixed with the concentration.
On it’s own the Pyrethrum will not kill the insect but more likely make it seek refuge from the effects, so adding another ingredient to the insecticide finishes the job. Having these other ingredients detracts from the natural feeling of the product and you should always be aware that most commercially bought products do have these additional ingredients in them. As a result you still should make precautions when handling shop bought and promoted as a natural insecticide.
Avid gardeners use Pyrethrum to protect their vegetable patch, because of it’s wide range of deterrent to both winged and land borne insects. Gardeners particularly like the protection form such insects as aphids, cabbage worms, leafhoppers and spider mites. Another surprising bit of information is it is effective against head lice, but as to whether it is recommended by medical professionals I would believe more chemically induced products would be used. With this in mind there is also a pest similar in the botanical world called plant lice; this lice can be safely dusted with the Pyrethrum product.
Due to the low toxicity to humans Pyrethrum is popular as a crop dusting product and is used widely by environmentally conscious commercial farmers to help keep their soils and produce chemical free. The Pyrethrum natural insecticide can be harmful to fish but is not considered a hazard to animals and birds.
Having the knowledge and using it effectively is every health conscious gardener’s wish. There are many choices out there for pest control in the natural world, but knowing which plant is effective against which insects is probably beyond most peoples understanding. Leverage your time and use someone else’s experience and knowledge to your advantage, seek out books and advice from qualified people for the best results.