Fumigant Toxicity of Essential Oils to the German Cockroach (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae)

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The fumigant toxicity of 12 essential oil components [carvacrol, 1,8-cineole, trans-cinnamaldehyde, citronellic acid, eugenol, geraniol, S-(−)-limonene, (−)-linalool, (−)-menthone, (+)-α-pinene, (−)-β-pinene, and thymol] to adult male, adult female, gravid female, and large, medium, and small nymphs of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.) (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae), was determined. 1,8-Cineole was the most toxic essential oil component to adult males and females, gravid females, and large nymphs, with LC50 values of 6.8, 8.4, 5.3, and 11.4 mg/liter air at 24 h, respectively. (−)-Menthone and carvacrol were the most toxic essential oil components to medium and small nymphs, with LC50 values of 9.0 and 3.6 mg/liter air at 24 h, respectively. Citronellic acid was the least toxic essential oil component to all stages of the German cockroach. There was not a consistent relationship between body mass and toxicity; the susceptibility of the stages differed for each oil. LC50 values of all stages were correlated negatively with vapor pressure and positively with molecular weight of the essential oil components. The most toxic essential oil components to the majority of cockroach stages were cyclic aliphatic hydrocarbons [1,8-cineole, (−)-menthone, (+)-α-pinene, (−)-β-pinene, and S-(−)-limonene]. Ring size and the presence of a carbonyl functional group also may have contributed to the toxicity of the compounds. Citronellic acid had no effect on ootheca hatch (100% hatch), whereas (−)-menthone had the greatest effect on ootheca hatch (73% hatch). Percentage of hatched oothecae decreased linearly with increasing concentration for (−)-menthone, S-(−)-limonene, (+)-α-pinene, and (−)-β-pinene. No essential oil component prevented ootheca hatch, suggesting that multiple treatments would be required in the field to eliminate infestations.

Keywords: Blattella germanica; essential oils; fumigation; ootheca

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC09358

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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