Permethrin is a broad spectrum synthetic pyrethroid insecticide. Permethrin has been around since the 1970’s and is widely used today in public health, home pest control, forestry, agriculture and head lice control. Permethrin is used against a number of pests, on nut, fruit, vegetable, cotton, ornamental, mushroom, potato and cereal crops. It is used in greenhouses, home gardens and for termite control. It also controls animal ectoparasites, biting flies, and cockroaches.
Permethrin is a chemical used to kill a variety of insects. It is referred to as a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide because, while manmade, it resembles naturally-occurring chemicals with insecticidal properties, called pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are found especially in chrysanthemums. Pyrethroids are one of the oldest classes of organic insecticides known. Permethrin, like all synthetic pyrethroids, kills insects by strongly exciting their nervous systems. They quickly paralyze the nervous systems of insects, producing a quick “knockdown” effect on insect pest populations. Permethrin acts as a stomach poison when it is ingested by insects or as a contact poison through direct contact with target pests. It kills adults, eggs, and larvae, and has a slight repellent effect against insects. Permethrin is available in dusts, emulsifiable concentrates, smokes, ULV (ultra low volume), and wettable powder formulations
In the US over 100 million applications of permethrin are made each year in homes and over 18 million applications are made in yards and gardens.
Permethrin is effective against adult mosquitoes, and widely used in misting systems for spider control as well. Permethrin has a long history of being applied agriculturally to control against pests in the production of fruits, vegetables, and other crops. It has not been known to cause any chronic toxic effects to humans. Mild eye and skin irritation may occur with exposure to permethrin which can be treated by washing the eyes and skin thoroughly with water after contact.
It is not toxic for household pets and is virtually non-toxic to birds. It can be toxic to fish and caution would be used before applying it in areas which would result in aquatic exposure. It breaks down readily in soil and water, making it unlikely to leach or contaminate groundwater