Fumigant Activity of Sweet Orange Essential Oil Fractions Against Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2017 Aug 1;110(4):1556-1562. doi: 10.1093/jee/tox120.


Sweet orange oil fractions were prepared by molecular distillation of cold-pressed orange oil from sample A (Citrus sinensis (L.) 'Hamlin' from America) and sample B (Citrus sinensis Osbeck 'Newhall' from China) respectively, and their fumigant activities against medium workers of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) were investigated. The volatile composition of the orange oil fractions was identified and quantified using GC-MS. Fractions from sample A (A1, A2, and A3) contained 23, 37, and 48 chemical constituents, and fractions from sample B (B1, B2, and B3) contained 18, 29, and 26 chemical constituents, respectively. Monoterpenes were the most abundant components, accounting for 73.56% to 94.86% of total orange oil fractions, among which D-limonene (65.28-80.18%), β-pinene (1.71-5.58%), 3-carene (0.41-4.01%), β-phellandrene (0.58-2.10%), and linalool (0.31-2.20%) were major constituents. Fumigant bioassay indicated that all orange oil fractions exerted good fumigant toxicity against workers of fire ants at 3, 5, 10, and 20 mg/centrifuge tubes, and B1 had the strongest insecticidal potential, followed by A1, B2, A2, B3, and A3. The fractions composed of more high volatile molecules (A1 and B1) showed greater fumigant effects than others. Compounds linalool and D-limonene, which were the constituents of the orange oil, exhibited excellent fumigant toxicity against red imported fire ant workers. Linalool killed red imported fire ant workers completely at 5, 10, and 20 mg/tube after 8 h of treatment, and D-limonene induced >86% mortality at 8 h of exposure.

Keywords: fumigant; molecular distillation; red imported fire ant; sweet orange essential oil.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants / drug effects*
  • Citrus sinensis / chemistry*
  • Fumigation / methods*
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Species Specificity


  • Insecticides
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • orange oil