What do you do when your customer has an ant infestation in their kitchen but lives with sensitive individuals or pets and is concerned about pesticide use? Many turn to softer chemistries, “natural” or “green” solutions, and find themselves considering botanical and 25(b) products. After all, plants have been fighting off insects for eons. But what’s the difference between botanicals and 25(b)s?

First, let’s define a 25(b) insecticide. FIFRA 25(b) exempt, or simply 25(b) products, include active ingredients that are exempt from federal registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). These products can be appealing at first glance because of easily recognizable active ingredients, like peppermint oil, that are deemed minimum risk. However, a big tradeoff with this exemption is that there is no federal oversight for efficacy of these ingredients. In other words, they may not give you the results you’re looking for.

Botanical insecticides simply mean the product is derived from plants with minimal changes to its plant-based chemical structure. Botanical products can be included in both the 25(b) category or the FIFRA-registered products with proven efficacy.

Examples of botanical insecticides registered through FIFRA are:

  • Pyrethrins, extracted from the chrysanthemum flower
  • Neem oil/azadirachtin, extracted from the neem tree
  • Sabadilla, extracted from lilies

When used properly, botanical insecticides are a great option for those wanting non-persistent insecticides. We recommend using FIFRA-registered products to make sure the insecticides you are using have proven efficacy.

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