Pyrethrum is a naturally occurring mixture of chemicals found in certain chrysanthemum flowers. It was first recognised to have insecticidal properties around 1800AD in Asia and was used to kill ticks and various insects such as fleas and mosquitoes.
Six individual chemicals have active insecticidal ingredients in the pyrethrum extract and these compounds are called pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are often used in household insecticides and products to control insects on pets or livestock.
Pyrethrum, a broad-spectrum insecticide, affects a wide range of insects in gardens or farms. It disrupts the central nervous system of all types of flying and crawling insects, causing their nerve impulses to fail, eventually leading to their death.
Natural pyrethrins break down quickly in the environment, especially when exposed to natural light and are less toxic than pyrethroids, which are synthetically engineered and last longer in the environment making them toxic to insects and mammals.