by Steve Graham, Networx
A reputable exterminator should list the active ingredients in their pesticides. The exterminator also should tell you the potential health threats associated with the pesticide, symptoms of poisoning and any additional instructions for minimizing exposure and health impacts.
While each company likely has a unique formula, the most common ingredients in professional-grade pesticides are pyrethroids and pyrethrins, according to a June 2010 study in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. Piperonyl butoxide and hydramethylnon are the next most common ingredients. Chlorpyrifos, diazinon and other organophosphates were once very common, but have become nearly obsolete since the Environmental Protection Agency restricted the use of these toxic ingredients starting in 2001.
Here is some more information about each of the four most commonly used pesticide chemicals, as well as a couple of other pesticides that are growing in popularity.
Pyrethroids and Pyrenthrins
Permethrin is the most common active ingredient in insecticides applied by licensed exterminators. It is one of a large class of chemical insecticides known as pyrethroids. They mimic pyrethrins, which are botanical insecticides typically derived from Australian and African chrysanthemum flower varieties. Both pyrethrins and pyrethroids work to paralyze and eventually kill a wide variety of insects.