Botanical-based insecticides (aka botanicals) are pesticides derived from plants and plant products. Botanical-based insecticides without toxic synergists, are defined as ‘low impact pesticides’ under the New Jersey School IPM Act. Please note that because a product is plant-derived, it does not necessarily mean that it is less harmful to human health and the environment. Although rotenone and ryania (see below) are botanical derivatives, they are extremely toxic to the environment.
Two groups of botanical insecticides are:
- Flower and vegetable oils
- Floral pesticides
1. Flower and Vegetable Oils are composed of a group of compounds that are natural components of plants. These oils are active ingredients in pesticide products registered for use as animal repellants, feeding depressants, insecticides, and miticides.
Sometimes both the chemicals in the oil, as well as the oil itself, are registered (licensed for use) by EPA as pesticide active ingredients. It is also fairly common for two or more oils to be used in the same pesticide product. These oils can be applied and used as liquid sprays, crystals, gels, and pellets, and by impregnating material, such as posts.
The table below is extracted from EPA’s ‘Fact Sheet on the Plant Oils’; note that these are registered active ingredients unless otherwise noted by footnote.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION FOR
PLANT OILS THAT ARE PESTICIDE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
|PLANT OILS (source plant)||USES (SITES)||ACTIONS ON
|Anise a||Ornamental plants, lawns||Repels dogs and cats||1952 / 1993|
|Bergamot a||Ornamental plants, homes, garbage cans||Repels dogs and cats||/ 1993|
|Canola b||Food, ornamental plants, houseplants||Kills insects||1998|
|Castor||Ornamental plants, lawns, garbage cans||Repels dogs, cats, wildlife such as moles, deer, rabbits, squirrels||1947 / 1994|
|Cedarwood a||Mothproofing||Repels larvae of clothes moths||1960 / 1993|
|Citronella ab||1) Humans and their clothing, homes, outdoor areas 2) Ornamental plants, garbage dumps||1) Repels insects and ticks
2) Repels dogs and cats
|1948 / 1997|
|Eucalyptus a||Cats, dogs, humans and their clothing, homes||Repels mites; Repels specified insects, including fleas and mosquitoes||1948 / 1993|
[Note: May work as physical barrier]
|All crops||Kills/repels whiteflies on all crops. Kills powdery mildew on grapes and ornamentals||1996|
|Lavandin||Homes, especially closets, drawers, clothes storage containers||Repels clothes moths||1996|
|Lemongrass a||Ornamental plants, garbage dumps||Repels dogs and cats||1962 / 1993|
|Methyl salicylate[Notes: Also called oil of wintergreen; may be toxic in large quantities]||Ornamental plants, indoor and outdoor residential sites (including clothing), garbage dumps.||Repels dogs, cats, moths, beetles||1972/Reregistration Eligibility Decision Document RED 9/27/05|
|Mint||Ornamental plants in ponds with or without fish||Kills aphids on plants (used with thyme herb)||2000|
[Note: Also known as allylisothio-cyanate]
|Homes, ornamental plants, garbage cans||1) Repels dogs, cats, wildlife such as deer and raccoons,2) Repels and kills insects, spiders, centipedes, etc.||1962 / 1993|
|Orange a||Ornamental plants, homes, garbage dumps||Repels dogs and cats||1972 / 1993|
|Soybean a||Food and feed crops, ornamental plants, indoor and outdoor sites||Kills mites.
Kills beetles and other insect pests
|1959 / 1993|
1. This table does not necessarily describe all plant oil active ingredients.
2. For more detailed information on these oils, see:
a “Flower and Plant Oils;” “Cedarwood Oil;” “Citronella” have been reviewed for reregistration as pesticides. See EPA’s list of Reregistration Eligibility Decision documents for each of these at the following web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/rereg/status.cfm?show=rereg
b EPA’s ‘Biopesticide Fact Sheets’ are online summaries of newly registered biopesticides.
Neem Oil/Extract is derived from the Neem plant, Azadirachta indica. EPA has registered 2 active ingredients from neem:
- Azadirachtin (CAS # 11141-17-6). The key insecticidal ingredient found in the neem tree is azadirachtin, a naturally occurring substance that belongs to an organic molecule class called tetranortriterpenoids. It is found to be an insect growth regulator, interfering with the normal life cycle of insects, including feeding, molting, mating, and egg laying. It can be a feeding deterrent in some insects.
- Clarified Hydrophobic Extract of Neem Oil (CAS # 8002-65-1). The oil is known to be an insect repellant. Unlike azadirachtin, this active ingredient is also active against fungal diseases such as mildews and rusts.
Some currently registered Neem products include: Azatin®, Neemix™, Triact™. Source:Recognizing Green List Pesticides for Use in Texas Schools; date accessed online 4/26/05.
(EPA Fact Sheet @ http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/ factsheets/factsheet_025007.htm; Extoxnet PIP for neem @http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/ghindex.html).
Floral pesticides are natural substances isolated from flowers and other parts of plants. All of them have distinctive odors that give them their attractant and repellent properties. As pesticides, these chemical substances attract and kill insects, repel insects, and help keep cats and dogs away from places where they’ re not wanted. These substances are often used in baits as an attractant.
The table below is extracted from EPA’s Fact Sheet on the plant chemicals; note that these are registered active ingredients unless otherwise noted by footnote.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION FOR SELECTED SCENTED PLANT CHEMICALS THAT ARE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN PESTICIDE PRODUCTS
(No. of Products)
|USE SITES||ACTIONS ON TARGET PESTS||REGISTERED/
Ceylon and Chinese cinnamon oils
|Many food crops; Cotton; Ornamentals; Processed foods||Attracts corn rootworms and the corresponding beetles;**Repels dogs and cats; Controls fungi and insects||1994|
Oil of cloves
|Many food crops; Ornamentals; Buildings: inside and outside; Pets||Attracts Japanese beetles; Kills insects||1972/1993|
(Isomeric with linalool)
Oil of rose
|Fruits; Vegetables; Ornamentals; Homes; Garbage dumps||Attracts Japanese beetles; Repels dogs and cats||1972/1993|
|Fruits; Vegetables; Corn for feed and food||Attracts corn rootworms and the corresponding beetles.**||1994|
|Ionone, alpha (2)
Many food plants containing beta- carotene
|Outdoors only. Apply to plants and inanimate objects, e.g., lawn furniture.||Ingredient in dog/cat repellent; Attracts adult rose chafers (a beetle).||1972|
(Isomeric with geraniol)
Oil of Ceylon cinnamon, sassafras
|Dog and cat flea sprays; Carpets||Repels insects (mosquitoes, fleas), mites, ticks, spiders||1985|
Clover, alfalfa, other plants
|Used with electronic insect killers. Non-agricultural sites only.||Attracts mosquitoes and dragonflies to electronic insect killers||1996|
|Food and feed crops; Ornamentals; Various indoor and outdoor sites||Attracts Japanese beetles; Kills insects, mites, ticks, spiders, etc.||1979 (exempt from reregistration)|
benzene (2)Squash flowers
|Fruit, vegetable, and feed crops||Attracts corn rootworms and cucumber beetles**||1994|
Notes: *GRAS: Generally Recognized As Safe for food use by FDA.
** Corn rootworms and cucumber beetles are different common names for the same or closely related insect species. For example, the southern corn rootworm (i.e., the larval stage) is called the spotted cucumber beetle as an adult. Scientifically, the species name is Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi.
Natural Source: Only one or a few sources are listed. Most of these chemicals are found in many different plants.
Pyrethrins – are insecticides that are extracts of the chrysanthemum flower, Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium and Chrysanthemum cineum. The plant extract is called pyrethrum. There are 6 active ingredients of pyrethrum:
- Cynerins (I & II)
- Jasmolin (I & II)
- Pyrethrins (I & II)
The natural pyrethrins are contact poisons which quickly penetrate the nerve system of the insect, and cause knockdown. Insects produce enzymes which can detoxify the natural pyrethrins, thus a knockdown dose is not necessarily a killing dose. Pyrethrins break down quickly in the environment, especially when exposed to natural sunlight. Often, they last only 1 or 2 days before being degraded (Note: pyrethrins themselves are considered low impact pesticides under the NJ School IPM Act; no notification or posting is required when these pesticides are used).
Alternately, ‘semisynthetized’ derivatives of the chrysanthemumic acids have been developed as insecticides that last longer in the environment than the natural pyrethrum. These are called pyrethroids (these are not considered low impact pesticides under the NJ School IPM Act; all notification and posting requirements must be followed for all pyrethroids).
Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are often combined commercially with other chemicals called synergists, which enhance the insecticidal activity of the pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Many formulations have synergists (such as piperonyl butoxide) added to inactivate the insect’s detoxifying enzyme. CB-38 Extra and PT Microcare are synergized pyrethrins (per communication D. Munn NJDEP 4/2/07).
The NJ School IPM Act states that a product which contains ‘toxic synergists’ is no longer considered a low impact material; all notification and posting requirements must be followed for pyrethrins with toxic synergists. All pyrethrins and pyrethroids as well as piperonyl butoxide are listed as toxic substances under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) under Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (EPA 1995).
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2003. Toxicological profile for pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.
- NPIC Fact Sheet for ‘Pyrethrins Versus Pyrethroids’ @http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/pyrethrins.pdf ;
Rotenone is a botanical insecticide and acaricide obtained from the roots of several tropical and subtropical plant species belonging to the genus Lonchocarpus or Derris. The product is a potent broad spectrum insecticide; and it is formulated as ‘piscicide’ for fish eradication in water body management.
IMPORTANT: See EPA’s 2007 Reregistration Eligibility Decision document for Rotenone ( EPA 738-R-07-005) www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/rotenone_red.pdf. ROTENONE registration was limited to applications to assist native fish and aquatic species recovery or aquatic invasive species control. All other uses have been voluntarily cancelled by the the registrants.
Ryanodine is made from the ground stems of Ryania speciosa, a native plant of tropical America. The principal alkaloid in this stem extract is ryanodine, which makes up approximately 0.2% of the product. Formulations were based on an active ingredient isolated from the wood of Ryanis speciosa.
Trade names for ryanodine include Ryania. The registrants of this material voluntarily cancelled it before it was reregistered. Voluntary cancellation of all remaining registered ryanodine containing products and the active ingredient became final on July 23, 1997.(EPA RED Fact sheet@ www.epa. gov/REDs/factsheets/2595fact.pdf; Extoxnet PIP for ryania @http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/ghindex.html).
Sabadilla is an extract of the plant Schoenocaulon officinale Grey (Liliaceae). There is only one registered sabadilla insecticide product remaining.
Products include Demize. Source: Recognizing Green List Pesticides for Use in Texas Schools;date accessed online 4/26/05.