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Parasitol Res. 2009 Dec;106(1):145-52. doi: 10.1007/s00436-009-1639-y. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Acaricidal and insecticidal activity of essential oils on Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) and Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

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Laboratorio de ArtrĂ³podos. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that is a serious pest of honeybees and has caused severe losses of colonies worldwide. One of the feasible alternative treatments being used for their control is essential oils. The aim of this work was to evaluate the bioactivity of some essential oils on V. destructor and Apis mellifera in relation with their chemical composition and physicochemical properties. Lavender, lavendin and laurel essential oils showed linalool as main compound in their composition. 1,8-Cineole was also present as a predominant component in the laurel essential oil. However, thyme oil was characterized by a high concentration of thymol. Mites and bees toxicity was tested by means of complete exposure method. For mites, LC(50) values for laurel, lavender and lavendin essential oil did not show significant variation throughout all observation times. However, the LC(50) values for thyme oil at 48 and 72 h were lower than at 24 h. Bee mortality was evident only in treatment with thyme oil. At 48 and 72 h, lavender essential oil presented better selectivity indexes. In this research, all essential oils caused mite mortality without severe harmful effects on adult bees. The simultaneous evaluation of the physicochemical analysis of the essential oils, the characterization of the dosage response relationships among them, and the mortality effects on mite and bees, give us the possibility to obtain comparative results for future research in Varroa control.

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