SYNTHETIC PYRETHROIDS: A MAN-MADE NATURAL
By George Piasecki 1998 Newsletter
History tells us that the powder from crushed, dried chrysanthemum flowers was used as a natural insecticide in ancient Northwest Persia. The powder combined pyrethrum, jasmolin and cinerin, and are collectively known as pyrethrins. During the 18th and 19th century this “persian powder” was widely accepted in Europe as a natural botanical insecticide. In 1840, pyrethrum was being extracted from the more potent Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, a species native to the Adriatic coastal mountains of Bosnia and Croatia.
Over the past 30 years, scientists have been able to chemically copy these natural pyrethrins to create synthetic pyrethroids. These synthetic compounds have been altered to improve the biological activity of the chrysanthemum plant and still maintain a higher safety factor to humans than most insecticides. Both crude pyrethrum extract and purified pyrethrins are not stable enough in light and heat for the residue to remain active. These are mainly used for indoor pest control (ie. cockroaches) and are available to homeowners as commercial products such as “bug-bombs” or in an aerosol spray. Synthetic pyrethroids do remain stable and are used for outside applications on trees, lawns, and farm crops.
With good results, SCIENTIFIC PLANT SERVICE has been using ASTRO and TALSTAR, two types safe synthetic pyrethroids in its integrated pest management program. Astro and Talstar are:
Broad spectrum insecticides each controlling over 40 ornamental and turf insects including ticks and grubs.
Very user friendly. The high LD50 rating of >1800 makes them less toxic than other insecticides and extremely safe for SPS technicians. The low use rate minimizes exposure risk.
Very client friendly. There is no offensive odor or visible residue and is non- phytotoxic. They will not burn your valuable landscape plantings.
Long lasting. Insects do not have to be present for control due to long residual on the foliage.
More expensive to SPS, but not to you, our clients.
We are able to have good control with less insecticide, thereby keeping our costs down and passing the savings onto you. Would other applicator companies do this? No one insecticide controls all insect pests equally well. SPS alternates the use of Astro, Talstar and all other insecticides throughout the growing season to avoid an immunity build up. Scientific is not like other tree and lawn companies. We are constantly trying out new innovative products that combine results with safety