Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (2): 247-252, 2013 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2013.037

Behavioural and toxicological responses of Blattella germanica (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae) to monoterpenes

Raúl A. ALZOGARAY1,2, Valeria SFARA1,2, Ariadna N. MORETTI1, Eduardo N. ZERBA1,2
1 Centro de Investigaciones de Plagas e Insecticidas (CIPEIN-CITEDEF/CONICET), J.B. de La Salle 4397, (1603) Villa Martelli, Prov. de Buenos Aires, Argentina; e-mails: ralzogaray@hotmail.com; vsfara@citedef.gob.ar; amoretti@citedef.gob.ar; ezerba@citedef.gob.ar
2 Instituto de Investigación e Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, San Martín, Prov. de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Certain monoterpenes produced by aromatic plants are known to have lethal and sublethal effects on insects. As there is a need to replace conventional pesticides (organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids) with biorational pesticides, we evaluated the behavioural and toxicological responses of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica, exposed to the following monoterpenes, namely (+)-a-pinene, (-)-a-pinene, limonene, menthone, linalool, menthyl acetate and geraniol. Locomotor activity and repellency were quantified using a video tracking system. To study the effect on locomotor activity, larvae were exposed to filter papers treated with concentrations of monoterpenes ranging between 1.4 and 1,400 µg/cm2. Only menthyl acetate applied at a concentration of 14 µg/cm2 or higher increased the locomotor activity of the larvae. Repellency was evaluated by exposing larvae to circles of filter paper divided in two equal zones: one zone was treated with a solution of a monoterpene in acetone (14 or 140 µg/cm2) and the other with only acetone. Larvae were repelled by all the monoterpenes tested. The two concentrations of geraniol and the highest concentration of menthyl acetate and linalool were as repellent as DEET (positive control). The fumigant effect was evaluated by exposing larvae to vapour from 100 µl of pure monoterpene in a sealed container. The values of the 50% Knock-down Times (KT50), expressed in minutes, were: (+)-a-pinene: 11.8, (-)-a-pinene: 14.6, limonene: 81.0, menthone: 141.0, and linalool: 238.6. (+)-a-Pinene was as good a fumigant as dichlorvos (positive control, KT50 = 9.7 min). The least effective compounds were menthyl acetate and geraniol (both affected less than 50% of larvae after 490 min of exposure). In conclusion, (+)-a-pinene (for its fumigant effect), menthyl acetate (for its hyperactivant effect) and menthone and geraniol (for their repellent properties) could potentially be used for controlling B. germanica.

Keywords: Dictyoptera, Blattellidae, Blattella germanica, German cockroach, locomotor activity, monoterpenes, repellency, knock-down

Received: April 10, 2012; Accepted: October 1, 2012; Published: April 11, 2013

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