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Botanical pesticides are naturally occurring chemicals extracted from plants. Natural pesticidal products are available as an alternative to synthetic chemical formulations and a large percentage of them are less toxic to humans.

Until relatively recently the availability of plant-based insecticides was limited to a few products like neem oil and pyrethrum. While these products are effective and exhibit very low environmental impact, they have a limited range of uses. With the advent of new natural botanical insecticides there are now many more choices.

Essential oils themselves or products based on oils are mostly nontoxic to mammals, birds, and fish. However, as broad-spectrum pesticides, both pollinators and natural enemies or beneficial insects are vulnerable to products based on essential oils. Because of their volatility, essential oils have limited persistence under field conditions; therefore, although pests are susceptible via direct contact, insects or other pests reinvading a treated area a few days after treatment are unlikely to be controlled by residue contact with pesticides

Advantages and Disadvantages of Botanical Insecticides


  1. Often these plants also have other uses like household insect repellents or are plants with medicinal applications.
  2. The rapid degradation of the active product is favorable for the environment and in agriculture it reduces the risk of residues on food.
  3. In agriculture some of these products may be used shortly before harvesting.
  4. Many of these products act very quickly inhibiting insect feeding even though long term they do not always cause insect death.
  5. Since most of these products have a stomach action and are rapidly decomposed, they may be more selective to insect pests and less aggressive with natural enemies.
  6. Most of these compounds will not harm desirable plants and are not phytotoxic.
  7. Resistance to these compounds is not developed as quickly as with synthetic insecticides. 
  8. The botanical pesticides also have nutrient effects on crops and can increase the nutritional value of agricultural products.
  9. The botanical insecticides leave what some clients consider to be a pleasant fresh smell.


  1. Most of these products are not truly insecticides since many are merely insect deterrents and their effect is slow.
  2. They are rapidly degraded by UV light so that their residual action is short.
  3. Not all plant insecticides are less toxic to other animals than the synthetic ones.
  4. They are not necessarily available season long and supply shortages can occur.
  5. Most of them have no established residue tolerances.
  6. There are fewer legal registrations establishing their use.
  7. The botanical insecticides leave what some clients consider to be an overpowering smell. People with hyperosmia can experience strong discomfort and even illness from certain smells.

At Vulcan Pest Control, we have added the Essentria* products to our lineup and are happy to have another tool in our toolbox. A number of clients have requested a more natural approach and these products are getting the job done in many situations. For a customized program that meets your needs, give us a call at 561-791-2400.

*Essentria® products are formulated with naturally derived plant-based active ingredients— including rosemary oil, peppermint oil, geraniol, clove oil, and thyme oil. These botanically based insecticides (or 25b Exempt) have been used for centuries to control and repel pests. The Essentria® family offers natural pest control for the environmentally conscious consumer. More information about the Essentria products can be found here:

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