Repellence of plant essential oils to Dermanyssus gallinae and toxicity to the non-target invertebrate Tenebrio molitor

D. R. George, O. A E Sparagano, G. Port, E. Okello, R. S. Shiel, J. H. Guy

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56 Citations (Scopus)


With changes in legislation and consumer demand, alternatives to synthetic acaricides to manage the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer) in laying hen flocks are increasingly needed. These mites may cause losses in egg production, anaemia and even death of hens. It may be possible to use plant-derived products as D. gallinae repellents, especially if such products have a minimal impact on non-target organisms. An experiment was conducted with D. gallinae to assess the repellence of a range of plant essential oils, previously found to be of varying toxicity (relatively highly toxic to non-toxic) to this pest. Experiments were also undertaken to assess the toxicity of these products to mealworm beetles (Tenebrio molitor L.), a non-target invertebrate typical of poultry production systems. Results showed that all seven essential oils tested (manuka, thyme, palmarosa, caraway, spearmint, black pepper and juniper leaf) were repellent to D. gallinae at 0.14 mg oil/cm3 (initial concentration) during the first 2 days of study. Thyme essential oil appeared to be the most effective, where repellence lasted until the end of the study period (13 days). At the same concentration toxicity to T. molitor differed, with essential oils of palmarosa and manuka being no more toxic to adult beetles than the control. There was neither a significant association between the rank toxicity and repellence of oils to D. gallinae, nor the toxicity of oils to D. gallinae (as previously determined) and T. molitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Essential oil
  • Non-target
  • Repellent
  • Tenebrio molitor
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)


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