Insecticidal and biting deterrent activity of rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.) essential oils and individual compounds against Stephanitis pyrioides and Aedes aegypti

Pest Manag Sci. 2013 Dec;69(12):1385-92. doi: 10.1002/ps.3518. Epub 2013 Apr 15.


Background: Rose-scented geranium, Pelargonium spp., essential oils from the cultivars 'Bourbon', 'China', 'Egypt', 'Rober's Lemon Rose' and 'Frensham' were analyzed by GC-FID and GC-MS. A total of 136 compounds were identified from five essential oils, constituting 85.5-99.7% of the oils. Essential oils and pure compounds were evaluated for their insecticidal activity against Stephanitis pyrioides and larvicidal and biting deterrent activity against Aedes aegypti.

Results: All five geranium oils were toxic to S. pyrioides, and four of these five were more potent than malathion and neem. Trans-nerolidol (LD50 = 13.4 ppm) was the most toxic compound against one-day-old Ae. aegypti larvae, followed by geraniol (49.3 ppm), citronellol (49.9 ppm) and geranyl formate (58.5 ppm). Essential oil of cultivar 'Egypt' at 100 μg cm(-2) [biting deterrent index (BDI) = 0.8] showed the highest biting deterrent activity, followed by cultivars 'Frensham' (BDI = 0.76), 'China' (BDI = 0.72), 'Rober's Lemon Rose' (BDI = 0.63) and 'Bourbon' (BDI = 0.45) essential oils. Among the pure compounds, the biting deterrent activity of geranic acid (BDI = 0.99) was not significantly different from that of N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET).

Conclusion: Essential oils and pure compounds showed insecticidal activity against S. pyrioides and Ae. aegypti. The high biting deterrent activity of geranic acid points to the need for further research.

Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Stephanitis pyrioides; citronellol; geranic acid; geraniol; nerolidol; rose-scented geranium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / drug effects*
  • Aedes / physiology
  • Animals
  • China
  • Heteroptera / drug effects*
  • Heteroptera / physiology
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Pelargonium / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*


  • Insecticides
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils