What is Pyrethrin?

At Sunday, we practice Integrated Pest Management - a multi-tier approach where pest prevention is key, proper identification and reducing or eliminating pest habitat is best, and pesticides are only used as a last resort. That being said, we know certain pests can be pretty, well, pesky. That’s why we’ve decided to provide pest-control solutions with effective ingredients like our pyrethrin-based Bug Doom pest spray.

Plant Powered Pest Control

Pyrethrin is actually made up of a group of six chemical compounds derived from chrysanthemum flowers: pyrethrin I and II, jasmolin I and II, and cinerin I and II. Pyrethrin is a fast-acting, EPA-regulated contact insecticide that is active against a wide range of pests, including ants, mosquitoes, moths, flies, cockroaches, beetles, spiders, mites, and fleas. 


Natural pyrethrin extracts were used way back in Persia starting around 400 BC. More recently, pyrethrin’s synthetic counterpart, pyrethroids (which literally means “pyrethrin-like”), were developed to be more stable than natural pyrethrins, which break down quickly when exposed to air, light, and/or heat. We look at this as a good thing, though! Pyrethrins are biodegradable and don’t have the long-lasting residual effects of some other pesticides. 


How Does Pyrethrin Work?

Pyrethrin disrupts ion exchange in the nervous system, leading to overly-excited nerve cells, paralysis and eventually, death.


Why Use Pyrethrin? 

Pyrethrins – when used according to labeled instructions – are great for many reasons! Here are some of the ones we think are most important:

  • Rapid breakdown: Pyrethrin decomposes quickly in heat, sunlight, and UV light, meaning it won’t stick around for long after application. 
  • Low risk to groundwater: Pyrethrins have a low potential for movement through the soil, and usually aren’t found below 6 inches, so there is little risk of movement into groundwater.
  • Low risk to mammals: Pyrethrins generally have low mammalian toxicity when used correctly. 


Safety First

As with all pesticides, there are some general safety precautions you should be aware of though! 

  • Always, always, always read pesticide labels (in full!): Follow labeled instructions – the label is the law! 
  • Protect the water: Even though pyrethrin breaks down quickly, pyrethrin in the soil can be moved via erosion into surface water, and pyrethrins are toxic to fish. To protect the water:
    • Be very careful when using around water bodies.
    • Never apply directly to or near the flow of/towards storm drains.
    • Do not apply if rain is forecasted within the next 24 hours.
    • Be careful to avoid applications to pavement, where pyrethrins might get washed away into sewers, storm drains, or surrounding surface water.
  • Save the bees: Because they are toxic to Hymenoptera pests like ants, pyrethrin is also toxic to bees and other beneficial pollinators. 
  • Be cautious around cats:  Pyrethroids are toxic to cats, and pyrethrins may be harmful as well, so exercise caution around your furry friends!
  • Do not apply directly to plants, or to blooming flowers, and always dispose of pesticides and pesticide containers properly!


Sunday Pro Tip: If you are going to spray for pests using pyrethrin-containing products, don’t spray near or on flowering plants! 


Sunday Bug Doom and Pyrethrin

Bug Doom barrier treatment and ready-to-use spray use pyrethrin to control troublesome indoor and outdoor pests.


The pyrethrin in Sunday’s Bug Doom is a powerful pesticide that’s botanically-derived from Chrysanthemum. While it is a ‘general use’ pesticide (meaning it can kill a wide variety of pests – see the label for the full list!), it’s biodegradable as well, and only sticks around for around 2 weeks when used as directed. Why does this matter? With Bug Doom, you’ll be able to reduce populations of pests in your yard and home, while avoiding residual effects of long-lasting pesticides. 


Cited sources

Bond, C., K. Buhl, and D. Stone. Pyrethrins General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension Services. 


Ensley, S.M. Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids. In: Veterinary Toxicology (Third Edition). Pgs. 515-520. 


Suiter, D.R. and M.E. Scharf. Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and University of Florida. 


Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Botanical Insecticides.