The economic impact of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, the lack of new acaricides, the occurrence of resistance and tighter legislation have all led to the need to find new ways to control this pest. One promising alternative method of control focuses on employing repellent and/or toxic effects of selected plant essential oils against D. gallinae. Ten essential oils (basil, thyme, coriander, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, fir tree, oregano, mint, and juniper) were tested for the persistence of toxic and repellent effects. In filter-paper toxicity bioassays against D. gallinae, the best results were observed for lavender (more than 97% mortality after 48 and 72 h) and thyme (84% at 72 h) at a dose of 0.12 mg/cm(2). In addition, two oils showed significant persistent toxic effects 15 and 30 days post application to filter papers. Thyme was the most effective (100% mortality at 72 h), followed by lavender (nearly 80% mortality after 72 h). Out of the ten oils tested for their repellent effect, thyme was the strongest, with nearly 80% of the tested area avoided by mites; oregano caused a 60% avoidance and lavender exhibited an effect close to 40%. All other oils exhibited a repellent effect of less than 30%. None of the experiments showed a repellent effect for HM (commercial alimentary oil) or negative controls. We found that the thyme and lavender essential oils exhibited promising results when tested in vitro for toxic and repellent effects against D. gallinae; thus, we suggest that future experiments focus on in vivo tests using these oils in farm units.
Keywords: Dermanyssus gallinae; Essential oil; Persistent; Repellent; Toxicity.
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