Toxicity to vapor exposure and topical application of essential oils and monoterpenes on Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae)

Author(s): Tarelli G, Zerba EN, Alzogaray RA


The medical and veterinary pest Musca domestica L. has developed resistance to most insecticides used against it. For this reason, there is a constant search for new alternative control tools. The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate the toxicological effects caused by the fumigant activity and the topical application of five essential oils and five monoterpenes in M. domestica adult males and (2) to study the variation of the fumigant activity of the essential oils and monoterpenes according to the solvent used (acetone or a silicone base). Houses flies were exposed to vapors delivered by filter paper treated with 200 microl of essential oil or monoterpene (10%) in acetone or a silicone base. The knockdown time 50% (KT50) values obtained for essential oils (expressed in minutes) were 3.3 (eucalyptus); 10.1 (orange); 10.4 (mint); 10.9 (lavender); and 17.7 (geranium). The KT50 values obtained for monoterpenes (expressed in minutes) were 2.3 (eucalyptol); 7.5 (limonene); 7.6 (linalool); 19.0 (menthone); and 22.6 (menthyl acetate). In all cases, a delay in the onset of poisoning symptoms was observed when a silicone base vehicle was used. When topically applied, the lethal dose 50% (LD50) values for essential oils (expressed in micrograms of oil/insect) were 0.07 (geranium); 0.09 (mint); 0.13 (lavender); 0.14 (eucalyptus); and 0.16 (orange). The LD50 values for monoterpenes (expressed in micrograms of monoterpene/insect) were 0.04 (linalool); 0.09 (menthyl acetate); 0.10 (limonene); 0.11 (menthone); and 0.13 (eucalyptol). These results suggest that the studied essential oils and monoterpenes are potential tools for controlling M. domestica.

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