These plant oils can be used in place of conventional insecticides -
New, natural, plant-based botanical insecticides
offer an effective, low toxicity, and
environmentally friendly alternative to conventional
insecticides. Most are based on plant essential oils like peppermint oil, clove oil, and a number of others. Plants make these oils as a deterrent to insect feeding damage. A variety of formulations are now
available including dusts, aerosols and even wettable
Plant-based (botanical) insecticides
Plants produce many powerful chemicals
which they use to defend themselves against
herbivores (mostly insects) and pathogens. Just a
few examples of these highly active natural insecticides
are nicotine (Nicotiana plants), certain plant
sterols (drug precursors), urushiol (poison oak and
ivy oil), as well as pyrethrum and rotenone.
Some plants also produce essential
oils in specialized gland cells. These oils are potent feeding deterrents and natural insecticides. Examples of
essential oils are peppermint
oil, and rosemary
oil. Recent research has shown that certain
combinations of these essential oils, sometimes
combined with natural pyrethrins, can be formulated into effective and
very low toxicity
Botanical (essential oil)
insecticides are safer & effective
I don't normally suggest that you use
insecticides indoors. With a few exceptions,
conventional synthetic insecticides are just too hazardous for
this use. However, some of the new botanical
insecticides are safe enough to use indoors and are
just as effective as conventional (synthetic) insecticides for use against indoor insect and spider pests.
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
is a source of eugenol used in some natural,
botanical insecticides. Image from Wikipedia.org.
Insecticides from plants
Until recently the availability of
plant-based insecticides was limited to a few products
like neem oil and pyrethrum. While these products are
effective and exhibit very low environmental impact
they have a limited range of uses. With the advent of new natural botanical insecticides there are now many more choices.
As an effective alternative to
conventional insecticides the "botanicals" are
available in a variety of formulations for a variety
of pest control situations. Note that a pesticide
formulation is simply the physical form of the
product and the way in which it is applied. Dust
(A), and wettable
powder (WP) formulations are all useful in
different specific situations (see below).
Currently botanical insecticides are
available to control bed
stink bugs, carpenter bees, yellow jacket nests,
and a wide variety of other common household pests.
Formulations of natural insecticides
Aerosol sprays, both pressurized and hand-pumped, can be used when the area to be
treated is relatively small such as crack and crevice treatments for
cockroaches. Aerosols are very convenient but are expensive on a per application
Dusts must be kept dry but exhibit very good residual
activity (how long they remain effective). Dust formulations can be used for cockroach and ant control as well as bed bug and firebrat control. Dust formulations are preferred because they are relatively inexpensive, easy to apply and exhibit excellent residual activity.
The most important change in recent years has been that
botanical insecticides are now available as wettable powders.
Wettable powders are finely ground powders that can be mixed with water and applied with some type of pump
sprayer. They are much less expensive per application than aerosols and exhibit
the good residual activity of a dust. They are also economical because you can
mix up only the amount of spray that you need.
Where to purchase natural insecticides
See "Organic & Natural Pest Control" at DoMyOwn.com, one of our
affiliates, for a wide variety of botanical and other natural
insecticides in all three formulations. They also provide downloadable product
labels for all of the products they sell, an important distinction in my view.
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