Medicinal plants

Natural pyrethrum

The natural pyrethrum used as an insecticide

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide and is obtained from the flowers of the Tanacetum cinerariifolium, also called Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, a plant of the Asteraceae family. The property of natural insecticide was discovered in Dalmatia by chance in the mid-nineteenth century. Pyrethrum was cultivated in ancient times in the East, but it was in 1860 that its cultivation began on a large scale, especially in the area of ​​the former Yugoslavia, and the consequent commercialization. Today the first world producer is Kenya but it is also widespread in Tanzania, Tasmania and Australia. The flowers are collected and dried and ground to obtain a compound that, when diluted, can be sprayed on plants as a pesticide.Thanks to its low toxicity, pyrethrum is a natural insecticide and is allowed for use in organic farming.

The natural pyrethrum: what it is

The natural pyrethrum is used in organic production of agricultural products as little toxic and effective insecticide, useful ally in the defense of vegetables and frutta.Il pyrethrum is in all homes and is used against mosquitoes. Flints are extracted from Chrysanthemum (or Tanacetum) cinerariifolium: these contain the active ingredients that make it a natural insecticide.It is also a powerful insect repellent, a repellent against various species of insects: mosquitoes, parasites that attack food and parasites of pets The natural pyrethrumit is a contact insecticide: it acts on the nervous system of insects, preventing them from moving up to paralysis. Its action is not very persistent and it is possible that the insect survives.It is also a non-selective insecticide: it affects both harmful and beneficial insects alike.

The natural pyrethrum: an insecticide

However, natural pyrethrum is an insecticide that degrades easily and quickly with exposure to the sun and high temperatures: its action has a short duration.The insects that infest gardens and vegetable gardens and can be fought with natural pyrethrum are aphids, beetles, whitefly, thrips, myrids, leafhoppers, bedbugs, and some lepidoptera. Natural pyrethrum is effective on insects that are not shielded by a resistant armor (such as bedbugs, the Colorado potato beetle): the armor does not allow the pyrethrum to penetrate into the body of the insect. It is not systemic, that is, it is not able to enter the circulation in the fluids of the plants and is not cytotropic, that is, it does not pass through the tissues. Natural pyrethrum affects insects indiscriminately and is therefore considered an insecticide, even if of natural origin.

Natural pyrethrum: The natural pyrethrum

Natural pyrethrum is a harmful pesticide also for beneficial insects such as predators and parasites of harmful insects. Treatment with pyrethrum is used only in special cases such as the presence of aphid infestations, and with limited interventions in time. The treatments must be localized on the foci of infestation to minimize their impact on beneficial insects and will not be used during flowering so as not to put the bees at risk.After the treatments they must not consume vegetables and fruits for at least two days. it must be mixed with other pesticides with an alkaline reaction, such as calcium sulfur because it would lose its effectiveness. Insects are affected if exposed directly to the treatment and not protected by the leaves.

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