Natural pyrethrum, extracted from a daisy grown mainly in Kenya, has been in use in the West since the early twentieth century. It is safe and effective, and it has had no sign of insect resistance developing. Today pyrethrum flowers are processed into extracts to serve domestic, industrial and agricultural needs. Automatic misting systems (mosquito misting systems) use insecticides with natural pyrethrum, including brand names Hydropy and Riptide, as the active ingredient.

Natural pyrethrum is so safe that the U.S. Government approves its use on such insect-prone foods as tomatoes, even while they are on their way to the supermarket or processing plant. And in 1946 the city of Amsterdam added pyrethrum to the municipal water supply to kill a population of insects that were threatening to choke the system. The insects were destroyed, while humans continued to drink, wash and cook with the treated water without suffering any harm.

Natural pyrethrum, despite its power and safety, has certain limitations. The fact that it is imported means it comparatively expensive. In addition, natural pyrethrum tends to break down in sunlight, rapidly losing its effectiveness after outdoor use. As for the tendency of the substance to degrade in sunlight, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Pyrethrum is considered biodegradable and is sought for sensitive applications like the residential use of insect misting systems (mosquito misting systems).

Knockdown Effects
With the popularity of insect misting systems from the control of mosquitoes and flies, research has revealed new uses for this old and tested insecticide. Combined with a synergist, natural pyrethrum is one of the fastest-acting insecticides known. Even before it kills, it knocks down and paralyzes insects almost immediately. When it encounters pyrethrum, the insect is thrown into a state of nervous disorder. It runs from its hiding place and scuttles around erratically, or adopts a confused flight pattern. Both responses show that the insect has lost all control of its central nervous system.

Recently, researchers have identified a subtle effect that occurs even before knockdown takes place: jamming. The jamming phenomenon suggests new uses for pyrethrum in the battle against mosquitoes. Apparently small amounts of pyrethrum can jam the “black box” of the insect’s food-searching mechanism: The insect forgets to eat as it were. Because of this effect, low-level pyrethrum applications have been shown to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus carried by mosquitoes.

No Significant Resistance
Insects do not become resistant to natural pyrethrum. After decades of use, no insect population has ever developed significant pyrethrum resistance. Intense study of the pyrethrum molecule has produced the related synthetic materials, pyrethroids. But so far science has not devised a synthetic that combines the speed, effectiveness, activation effects and biodegradability of natural pyrethrum.

Mosquito Management Systems and Mosquito-Pro have been manufacturing and installing insect misting system since 1999. Based in Houston, Texas, and with dealers throughout the United States and Mexico, we have become one of the leaders in the insect misting industry.

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