Insecticidal and repellent effects of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil against Lucilia cuprina

Vet Parasitol. 2012 Mar 23;184(2-4):271-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.08.017. Epub 2011 Aug 16.


Laboratory studies were conducted to assess the effect of tea tree oil (TTO) from Melaleuca alternifolia (terpinen-4-ol chemotype) against different stages of the Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina. When applied to wool, 3% TTO formulation repelled gravid female L. cuprina and prevented oviposition for six weeks. Formulations containing 1% TTO caused 100% mortality of L. cuprina eggs and 1st instar larvae and 2.5% TTO caused mortality of most second and third instar larvae in agar feeding assays. In experiments where third instar larvae were dipped in TTO formulations for 60s, concentrations of up to 50% TTO gave less than 50% kill. TTO at concentrations of 0.5%, 2% and 5% was strongly repellent to third instar larvae and caused them to evacuate treated areas. Inclusion of TTO in formulations with diazinon, ivermectin and boric acid reduced mortality in comparison with the larvicides used alone, at least partially because of avoidance behaviour stimulated by the TTO. Addition of TTO to wound treatments may aid in wound protection and myiasis resolution by preventing oviposition by L. cuprina adults, insecticidal action against L. cuprina eggs and larvae, stimulating larvae to leave the wound and through antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Diptera* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Insect Repellents* / toxicity
  • Insecticides* / toxicity
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Oviposition / drug effects
  • Ovum / drug effects
  • Tea Tree Oil* / toxicity


  • Insect Repellents
  • Insecticides
  • Tea Tree Oil