Permethrin is made from natural compounds called
pyrethroids, which are found in chrysanthemum flowers. It has
been used since the 1970s. The insecticide Permethrin, a synthetic
pyrethroid, is most commonly applied on clothing or mosquito
netting to prevent mosquitoes from biting and possibly transmitting
West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever and a veritable host
of other diseases. Mosquito-borne illnesses can exhibit mild
symptoms that may subside within a few weeks, or they can engender
serious afflictions that last a lifetime. Unlike DEET, which
repels insects, permethrin is in fact an insecticide, which
What is it?
Permethrin destroys, upon contact, mosquitoes
and other pesky insects such as lice, ticks and fleas. Once
a mosquito touches a permethrin-treated fabric, it may fly
away but it will soon expire. Crossing 10 inches of treated
netting is sufficient for the insecticide to take effect.
Odorless, non-staining and biodegradable, permethrin interferes
with the mosquito’s nervous system, causing muscles
to spasm, which quickly leads to paralysis and ultimately
death. Its effectiveness can last for up to two weeks and
possibly longer, depending on how often the net is used and
how it is stored. Nets can easily be re-treated when the potency
of the insecticide wears off.
Nets treated with permethrin possess three key benefits:
- They not only prevent mosquitoes from biting, but also
reduce the number of mosquitoes and pesky insects in the
room by maintaining a protective margin of defense, even
when the nets are damaged or poorly erected.
- They have a high tolerance for moisture, sunlight and
heat; however, they tend to deteriorate when exposed to
- They can generally survive two launderings.
Important Environmental Facts about Permethrin
As useful as permethrin is in its ability to prevent mosquitoes
from biting and thereby, inhibiting potential mosquito-borne
diseases, and although purported to be safe for humans, the
insecticide nevertheless contains chemicals that can have
negative effects on the environment.
It is vital that permethrin not be used near bodies of water
or within the home as it can prove toxic to aquatic species
and to cats. It is therefore not advisable to treat a dog
with permethrin-like substances as it could have ill effects
on cats it comes into contact with.
Permethrin should only be applied to netting and fabrics;
it is not to be applied directly on the skin.
Read about Insecticide
Also see: Mosquito Control:
The Best Ways to Effectively Combat Mosquitoes