Influence of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus

Exp Appl Acarol. 2014 May;63(1):77-83. doi: 10.1007/s10493-013-9765-8. Epub 2013 Dec 25.


The aim of this study was to verify the influence of tea tree oil (TTO) (Melaleuca alternifolia) tested in its pure and nanostructured (TTO nanoparticles) forms on the reproduction of female Rhipicephalus microplus. For our purpose, female ticks were collected from naturally infected animals and treated in vitro with TTO (1, 5, and 10 %) and TTO nanoparticles (0.075, 0.375, and 0.75 %). In order to validate the tests, they were performed in triplicate using positive (amitraz) and negative (untreated) controls. It was possible to observe that pure TTO (5 and 10 %) and TTO nanoparticles (0.375 and 0.75 %) showed 100 % reproductive inhibition on female ticks. Additionally, pure TTO (1 %) also showed an acaricide effect (70 %), similarly to the positive control (78.3 %). This is the first study demonstrating the activity of pure TTO and TTO nanoparticles on female ticks. Therefore, based on these results, we were able to show that both forms and all concentrations of M. alternifolia affected tick reproduction by inhibiting egg laying and hatching. We were also able to show that TTO nanoparticles potentiated the inhibitor effect of pure TTO on the reproduction of R. microplus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology
  • Oviposition / drug effects
  • Pest Control / methods*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Rhipicephalus / drug effects*
  • Rhipicephalus / physiology
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology*


  • Tea Tree Oil