link to Home Page

Pyrethrin Daisies

From Build Your Own Arc, by Geri Welzel Guidetti

Because it is a nerve toxin, it can kill some beneficials such as lady beetles, so use only when necessary to control a particularly bad outbreak of aphids, bean beetles, stink bugs, potato beetles, celery leaf tiers, cabbage loopers, mealy bugs, red spider mites, whiteflies, thrips and more.

Here is another, effective, insecticide that you can grow and make at home. The active compounds, called pyrethrins, are contained in daisy-like flowers called pyrethrum daisies. You can get the seeds from Park Seeds, listed in the Seed Company reference in this book. You want the perrennials called Tanacetum coccineum or Tanacetum cinerariifolium. In some catalogs, Tanacetum is listed under the older Chrysanthemum species name, so would be C. coccineum and C. cinerariifolium.

Daisy heads are picked, dried and ground up for powder or dust, or fresh flowers can be soaked in 70 percent isoproply rubbing alcohol overnight to make a liquid extract containing pyrethrins. One gallon of water added to 1/4 cup of alcohol extract made from 2 cups of flowers will give you a good spray solution. One caution: Keep flowers and extract away from children and pets who might eat them. They can be toxic to mammals. And don't use the family blender to grind them. Use a mortar and pestle or even a simple stone as a grinder of dried flowers placed on a larger, flatter stone.