What is Permethrin?

Permethrin is a broad-spectrum insecticide that is classified as a synthetic pyrethroid. It is considered synthetic because it is man-made, but it resembles naturally occurring chemicals with insecticidal properties. Permethrin is commonly used as an insecticide and insect repellent to control a variety of insects such as bed bugs, biting flies, fleas, ticks, and animal ectoparasites.

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Where is Permethrin used?

Permethrin as a broad-spectrum insecticide, affects almost all insects that it touches. Permethrin can be used to protect nut and fruit orchards, vegetable and cereal crops, ornamental plants, greenhouses, home gardens, livestock, livestock housing, transportation, structures and buildings. Permethrin is a key component of Public Health Mosquito Abatement programs. The EPA has registered Permethrin for both indoor and outdoor residential use.

How does Permethrin work?

Permethrin targets the insect nervous system by modifying the biochemistry of the nerve membranes in sodium channels. It begins as a stomach poison through direct contact with the insect. It then interferes with the transmission of nerve impulses along neurons leading to muscle spasms, paralysis, and eventually death. Permethrin has a quick knockdown effect of pest populations since it eliminates adults, eggs and larvae. It also has a residual effect in the areas it is sprayed for up to 12 weeks depending on the product.

How safe is Permethrin?

Permethrin was registered by the EPA in 1979 and classified as "likely to be carcinogenic to humans" when ingested. It has a low toxicity for most mammals and birds; however, it is highly dangerous for fish, bees, and cats. It is not likely to reach the groundwater because it binds tightly to soil and breaks down within weeks. Avoid inhalation and contact with eyes, skin, and clothing along with contamination of any water system.

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