Frequently asked questions
What is piperonyl butoxide?
Piperonyl butoxide is a synergist used in a wide variety of insect control products1. Synergists are ingredients that lack insecticidal effects of their own but can enhance the insecticidal properties of active ingredients2. Piperonyl butoxide inhibits an insect’s ability to breakdown certain types of insecticide active ingredients and is often formulated in insect control products with Group 3A insecticides (this group includes both natural pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroids)1,3,4. Researchers first developed piperonyl butoxide in 1947 using-naturally-occurring safrole as a key raw material1,4. Insect control products containing piperonyl butoxide are acceptable for use in organic production systems in some markets including the UK6.
References 1. Tozzi, A. A Brief History of the Development of Piperonyl Butoxide as an Insecticide Synergist. In Piperonyl Butoxide: The Insecticide Synergist; Jones, D. G., Ed.; Academic: San Diego, CA, 1998; pp 1-5. 2. Olkowski, W.; Daar, S. Olkowski, H. Chapter 7: Inorganics, Organics, and Botanicals. In Common-Sense Pest Control; Tauton Press: Newtown, CT, 1991, pp 107-127. 3. IRAC MoA Classification Version 8.1, April 2016. In Mode of Action Classification Scheme Version 8.1; IRAC Executive, April 2016, p 5. 4. Knowles, C. O. Miscellaneous Pesticides. In Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology; Hayes, W. J.; Laws, E. R.; Eds.; Academic: San Diego, CA, 1991; Vol. 3, pp 1471-1526. 5. Brief information on the use of pyrethrin based insecticides, containing Piperonyl Butoxide as a synergist, in organic farming. In CERES Crop Production 3.2.17e Inf 2009 6. Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd. 2016. Approved Inputs. [ONLINE] Available at: http://ofgorganic.org/approved-input/?term=pyrethrum&company_id=. [Accessed 26 September 2016].
Are pyrethrins harmful to bees?
Due care should be taken when using any pesticide product in the garden to minimise potential harm to beneficial insects. As PYRETHRINS is non-systemic, works via contact-action only and breaks down readily in sunlight, pyrethrins-based products offer one of the softest options for controlling problem pests in your garden. With careful targeted application of pyrethrins-based products any potential harm to bees and other beneficial insects can be managed. We recommend:
1. Applying pyrethrins-based products in the early morning or early evening when bee activity is minimal
2. Targeting only those problem insects you want to eradicate from the garden
3. Not applying products when it is windy or forecast to rain to minimise potential for any spray drift or runoff
Can pyrethrins-based flea products be used on cats and kittens?
Yes, there are several pyrethrins-based flea control products registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority (APVMA) that are label-approved for use on cats as well as kittens from 12 weeks old.
In making a decision to register a product the APVMA must be satisfied that it can be used safely, subject to the conditions of use outlined on the product label. The APVMA considers not only the potential of an active ingredient to cause toxicity to the target animal, but also the amount of chemical that the animal is likely to be exposed to when the product is used according to the label directions. Of the ~200 insecticidal products containing PYRETHRINS registered for use in Australia, around 50 are registered for use on cats. There are no products registered for use on cats in Australia that contain high concentrations of PYRETHRINS.
We recommended that you always read the label—the instructions for use, and any warnings or use restrictions, on the approved labels of products are there to protect you and your cat from harm.