Essential oils and their compositions as spatial repellents for pestiferous social wasps

Authors


Abstract

Background

The study objectives were: (1) to field test potential repellency of common essential oils against several pestiferous social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), using attractant-baited traps; (2) to identify vespid antennally active compounds from the repellent essential oils; (3) to determine potential repellency of these electroantennographic detection (EAD) active compounds in the field.

Results

Of the 21 essential oils tested, 17 showed significant repellency on yellowjackets [mainly Vespula pensylvanica (Saussure)] and paper wasps [mainly Polistes dominulus (Christ)]: clove, pennyroyal, lemongrass, ylang ylang, spearmint, wintergreen, sage, rosemary, lavender, geranium, patchouli, citronella, Roman chamomile, thyme, fennel seed, anise and peppermint. Two essential oil mixtures – 3EO-mix (clove, geranium and lemongrass) and 4EO-mix (clove, geranium, lemongrass and rosemary) – totally blocked the attraction of vespid workers. Twenty-nine vespid antennally active compounds were identified from solid-phase microextraction (SPME) samples of 11 strongly repellent essential oils by GC-EAD/MS techniques. Among the synthetic EAD-active compounds field tested, eugenol, P/I-menthone, pulegone, α/β-thujone, l-carvone, E/Z-citral, citronellal, methyl benzoate, benzyl acetate, methyl salicylate and 3-octanol showed a significant repellency on vespid workers. These compounds are likely responsible for the repellency of their corresponding essential oils.

Conclusion

These repellent essential oils and their active compositions have great potential for efficient, environmentally sound semiochemical-based IPM of pestiferous vespid wasps. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

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