Oils Against Pests

19.4.1 Insecticidal, Pest Repellent, and Antiparasitic Oils

The essential oil of bergamot (Citrus bergamia), anise (Pimpinella anisum), sage (Salvia officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), geranium (Pelargonium sp.), peppermint (Menthapiperita), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and white clover (Trifolium repens) can be used to control certain pests on plants. They have been shown to reduce the number of eggs laid and the amount of feeding damage by certain insects, particularly lepidopteran caterpillars. Sprays made from Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) have demonstrated a repellent effect on imported cabbageworm on cabbage, reducing the number of eggs laid on the plants. Teas made from wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) or nasturtiums (Nasturtium spp.) are reputed to repel aphids from fruit trees, and sprays made from ground or blended catnip (Nepeta cataria), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), feverfew (Tanacetumparthenium), marigolds (Calendula, Tagetes, and Chrysanthemum spp.), or rue (Ruta graveolens) have also been used by gardeners against pests that feed on leaves (Moschetti, 2003).

19.4.2 Fleas and Ticks

Dogs, cats, and horses are plagued by fleas and ticks. One to two drops of citronella or lemongrass oils added to the shampoo will repel these pests. Alternatively, 4-5 drops of cedarwood oil and pine oil is added to a bowl of warm water and a bristle hair brush is soaked with this solution to brush the pet down with it. Eggs and parasites gathered in the brush are rinsed out. This is repeated several times. This solution can be used similarly for livestock after adding citronella and lemon grass oils to this mixture.

Flea collar can be prepared by a mixture of cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus (Java)), thyme oils, and 4-5 garlic (Allium sativum) capsules. This mixture is thinned with a teaspoonful of ethanol and soaked with a collar or a cotton scarf. This is good for 30 days (Anonymous, 2001).

Ticks can be removed by applying 1 drop of cinnamon or peppermint oil on Q-tip by swabbing on it.

Carvacrol-rich oil (64%) of Origanum onites and carvacrol was found to be effective against the tick Rhipicephalus turanicus. Pure carvacrol killed all the ticks following 6 h of exposure, while 25% and higher concentrations of the oil were effective in killing the ticks by the 24-h posttreatment (Coskun et al., 2008).

19.4.3 Mosquitoes

Catnip oil (Nepeta cataria) containing nepetalactones can be used effectively as a mosquito repellent. It is said to be 10 times more effective than DEET (Moschetti, 2003). Juniperus communis berry oil is a very good mosquito repellent. Ocimum volatile oils including camphor, 1,8-cineole, methyl eugenol, limonene, myrcene, and thymol strongly repelled mosquitoes (Regnault-Roger, 1997). Citronella oil repels mosquitoes, biting insects, and fleas.

Essential oils of Zingiber officinale and Rosmarinus officinalis were found to be ovicidal and repellent, respectively, toward three mosquito species (Prajapati et al., 2005). Root oil of Angelica sinensis and ligustilide was found to be mosquito repellent (Wedge et al., 2009).

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