The Q&A Archives: Getting Pyrethrum From Mums

Question: The painted daisy mum is also called pyrethrum. How does one get the chemical into a useable form for moth control inside in clothing and also tick control outside?

Answer: Pyrethrins are derived from the flowers of pyrethrum daisies. The dried flowers are finely ground to make an insecticidal dust. Pyrethrins are extracted from the dust and used in sprayable solutions. Manufacturers aren't too explicit in explaining the process. (Trade secret??) Pyrethrins attack an insect's central nervous system, providing rapid knockdown. At low doses, however, insects may detoxify the chemical and recover. It would be difficult for you to extract the chemical, and then to know how much to use. Why not eliminate the guesswork and use a commercially prepared pyrethrin-based insecticide?

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