Copyright © 2017 Ruparao T. Gahukar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
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International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 6 (2) (2017) 22-28
International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences
Use of plant-derived products to control household and
structural arthropod pests
Ruparao T. Gahukar *
Arag Biotech Pvt. Ltd., Plot 220, Reshimbag, Nagpur 440 009, India
*Corresponding author E-mail: email@example.com
Plant extracts in water or chemical solvents; crude oil, essential oils and other allelochemicals of several plant species were tested at the
laboratory as contact poison and/or fumigant. Most of them acted as repellent to insects and mites. Toxicity effect was dose-dependent and
varied as per plant species and organism tested. In some instances, plant-derived products causing mortality were less effective than
synthetic pesticides. However, considering possible environmental contamination of synthetics and the eventual toxicity to non-target
organisms, plant-derived products against household and structural pests have been recommended by researchers. The major pest species
with mode of actions of plant products and integrated strategies for effective, practical and ecofriendly pest control are discussed throughout
Keywords: Allelochemicals; Insects; Mites; Plant Extracts; Mode of Action; Household and Structural Pests.
Household insect pests are important in dwellings, particularly in
urban areas . Currently, these insects are controlled mostly by
sprays and aerosols containing chemical insecticides such as,
abamectin, fipronil, indoxacarb, imidacloprid, chlorpyriphos,
propoxur and chlorfenapyr. Other formulations found in the market
include gel, powder, dust, paste and pellets. Structural pests are
controlled with oil paints or coating of pesticides at very low
concentrations. Few commercial products with low toxic contents
have also been promoted by private companies such as, killer bait
gel of hydramethylnon (2.15%) used in sticky traps . Generally,
the chemical application in residences can be quite hazardous to
human health due to contact toxicity, fumigant action and
environmental pollution. Therefore, consumer’s preference
paradigm is nowadays shifting from toxic chemicals to natural
products. Nevertheless, fewer toxic chemicals such as, pyrethrins,
silica gel, boric acid and hydramethylnon have been generally
recommended for quick effects,
Concerning effectiveness, most of the chemicals do not provide
long-term control of certain pests. For example, cockroaches taste
food before eating and avoid chemically-treated products. In
perspective, alternative measures have therefore been developed
and applied with varied degrees of control. Baiting and trapping are
successful only on a limited scale because if dust in baits gets wet
and then dries and cakes, it loses its electrostatic charge and may
not be picked up readily by insects. Pheromone traps can facilitate
monitoring the presence and incidence, particularly in hiding sites,
of the pest species. Essential oils (EOs) as green pesticides being
effective and economically profitable could be used against
household and structural pests [3-5]. The common EOs
experimented in laboratory are shown in Table 1. As such, it is often
advised to restrict to biodegradable, residue-free pesticides that are
safe for applicators and residents alike. Currently, published
information on chemical-free treatments is limited and not easily
available. To fill in this gap, I have compiled literature (2000-2016)
and discussed in this review, the use of plant-derived products
against important household and structural insect and mite pests
with perspective of choice for potential products.
Table 1: Essential Oils Used Against Household and Structural
Pests in Laboratory
Essential Pest species Essential oil Mode of Reference
oil used as action
Citral Perplaneta americana CON, FUM IN, RE 
Eugenol P. americana CON IN, RE 
Optotermes formosanus CON, FUM AF, IN [26)
Solenopsis invicta CON RE 
Geranol P. americana CON, FUM IN, RE 
Limonene P. americana CON RE 
C. formosamus CON, FUM IN 
Methyl Dermatophagoides CON AC [71[
AC= acaricide, AF= antifeedant, CON= contact pesticide, FUM=
fumigant, IN= insecticidal, RE= repellent.
2. Control of insects and mites
2.1. Cockroaches (Blattodea)
2.1.1. American cockroach
In control of American cockroach, Periplaneta americana L.
(Blattidae), mint/mentha (Mentha spicata L.) oil containing
terpenoids, terpenes and phenols (especially, citral, citronellal,
gernaniol and eugenol) exerted both repellent and insecticidal
activities through fumigant and contact actions when applied to
paper at 250 g oil/g . Citrus (Citrus reticulata Blanco) oil
containing limonene repelled adults up to 98%. However, when it
was mixed at 10% with soybean oil, repellency was reduced to 86%
. It means soybean oil can act as antagonist. Both oils were toxic
International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences
to oothecae with 96.7% egg mortality when mixed with onion
(Allium cepa L.) 5% extract in water . In another experiment,
10% clove oil exhibited 90% and 100% repellency against nymphs
and adults, respectively . When used as fumigant at 7.5 ul/l, 10
ul/l and 8.2 ul/l of air against first instar nymphs, fourth instar
nymphs and adults, respectively, it resulted in 100% mortality .
Clove oil has also been found stronger surface contact toxic with
LC50 of 0.0001-0.0077 ul/cm2 than rosemary (Rosmarinus
officinalis L.) oil with LC50 of 1.92-2.25 ul/cm2. In this experiment,
first instar nymphs were more sensitive than the fourth instar
nymphs followed by adults. Consequently, LT50 values in
continuous exposure test correlated negatively with concentration
A dose of 10,000-80,000 ppm (1-8%) of essential oil of Piper
aduncum L. deterred only nymphs  whereas oil of C. citratus
gave 100% repellency to adults after 24 h of application .
Among three local plants from Thailand (clove, lemon grass and
Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle), essential oils extracted from
lemon grass in ethyl alcohol and mixed in soybean oil gave 100%
repellency, and this mixture had been recommended as contact
poison by Sittichok et al. . Insect growth regulatory (IGR) effects
were observed with Azadirachtin (AZ, a limonoid from neem) and
two other allelochemicals, e.g. quassin (a triterpenoid from Quassia
amara (L.), and cinnamaldehyde (an organic compound from
Cinnamomum cassia [Nees & Nees) Presl.]. These studies
demonstrated that physiological effects of these allelochemicals do
not ease the primary insecticidal actions . Mode of action of
these two products however needs further studies as they can rather
act as repellent only. Conclusively, crude oil (lemon grass, citrus or
clove) or essential oils when mixed with vegetable oil (sesame or
soybean) were more effective than when used alone. To be cost-
effective, water extract (5%) should be recommended as it is easy
to prepare and apply to structures and places where cockroaches
2.1.2. German cockroach
Against the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.)
(Blattelidae), nearly 80% repellency of acetone extract of catnip
(Nepeta concolor Boiss. & Heldr. ex Benth,) at 900 ug/cm2 or
osage orange [Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid] at 157 ug/cm2 
was demonstrated. Ethanol and petroleum ether extract of leaves or
fruits of the American pepper (Schimus molle L.) when applied
topically, adults were not only repelled but later, they were killed
. Likewise, crude aqueous extract or acetone extract of pandan
leaves initially attracted nymphs but later the repellency was as high
as 93% due to musky odor emitted by aromatic compound 2-acetyl-
1-pyrroline present in leaves .
Sittichok et al.  tested EO of eight plants at 0.24 ul/cm2 of filter
paper and noted knock-down effect an hour after treatment and
complete mortality after 24 h. The most effective oil was extracted
from mint (Mentha piperita L.) with LT50 values of 4.17 h. On the
contrary, essential oils from Myristica fragrans Houtt. Seeds
exerted fumigant action resulting in 35-72% mortality . Thus,
both adults and nymphs were effectively controlled with EO (1,8-
cineole) which was significantly better in bioefficacy than other 11
essential oils. However, any of the EO tested did not prevent
hatching of oothecae. Consequently, multiple applications have
been recommended in order to eliminate recurrent infestations .
Among hundred plants from family Myrtaceae tested for toxicity,
EOs of six species of Eucalyptus and Melaleuca uncinate Br.
exhibited strong fumigant action with 100% mortality in male
adults whereas EO of five species of genus Eucalyptus, M. uncinata
and Melaleuca dissitiflora Muell., were toxic to both male and
female adults. Also, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity with
LC50 value of 0.22 mg/ml was reported with isoeugenol .
Likewise, essential oil of Eucalyptus robusta Sm. or Illicium verum
Hook. leaves, both applied at 5 ppm, and nut grass (Cyperus
rotundus L.) at 1 ppm repelled nymphs. On the contrary, essential
oils of I. verum and Lindera aggregata (Sims) Kosterm. were found
attractive at 1 ppm . Essential oils extracted from osage orange
fruit (raw/ripe) acted as repellent because of content of two
isoflavones (osajin, pomiferin), seven ses-terpenoids
(elemol/hedycaryol, alpha-copaene, alpha-cubebene, beta-elemene,
beta-carpophyllene, alpha-ylangene/valencene, (Z, E)-farnesol) and
a green volatile compound (hexyl hexanoate) . In a test of five
plants [Allium sativum L., Thymus vulgaris (L.), Oregano dubium
(L.), onion and rosemary], only EO from A. sativum at 5 ul/l air
caused 95% mortality within 48 h . All oils besides their strong
repellent action, were toxic and exerted IGR effects resulting in pest
Contact toxicity of (E)-anethole isolated from I. verum fruit was
evident to 80% mortality in adults caused at the dose of 0.159
mg/cm2 on the first day-after application. It also acted as a fumigant
causing 100% mortality at 0.398 mg/cm2 making this treatment
more effective up to 3 d compared to 2 d for deltamethrin . A
monoterpenoid allyl isothiocyanate isolated from horse-radish
(Armoracia rusticana Gaetn., Mey. & Schreb.) exhibited fumigant
action resulting in 100% mortality at a dose of 2.5 ul/l of air within
18 h whereas other monoterpenoids (eugenol, carvacrol, citronella)
did not affect pest survival . Unfortunately, these studies were
not continued to know the physiological changes that may take
place in insect body.
In topical application of 12 essential oils applied at a dose of 0.04-
0.06 mg/insect, thymol was found most toxic to adult males, gravid
females and medium nymphs with LD50 values of 0.07, 0.12 and
0.06 mg/cockroach, respectively. On the contrary, trans-
cinnamaldehyde was the most toxic component to adult females,
and small and large nymphs. In another dose-dependent assay, (-)
menthone had the greatest effect on hatching of oothecae with 20.89
nymphs/ootheca compared to 35.21 nymphs/ootheca in control
. In overall performance, not a single essential oil completely
prevented hatching. In an assay on nut grass rhizome steam
distillate constituents and related compounds against female adults,
they were effective in closed but not in open containers. Using
video-tracking system, Alzogaray et al.  0bserved that
monoterpenes at 70 ug/cm2produced repellent action but were less
effective than N,N-dimethyl-3-methylbenzamide indicating its low
bioefficacy. Therefore, essential oils with contact and fumigant
activity, particularly, against insecticide-resistant strains, could be
recommended to reduce highly toxic synthetic pesticides in indoor
As a practical solution, following measures were effective against
cockroaches. For example, raw or stewed okra fruits placed under
water sink attract cockroaches that can be killed with chemicals.
Likewise, bait containing a mixture of citrus pulp + brown sugar +
corn meal + boric acid is effective in “attract and kill technique”
. Four plants (5% extract in water) from Nigeria, viz. neem
(Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), Parquetina nigrescens (Afzel)
Bullock, Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.) and clove, were
tested as powder mixed with biscuit at 25-100%. Feeding on
biscuits (1.5 g/6 adults) resulted in 85-100% mortality in 2 d in P.
americana adults. . Similarly, Stauffer  suggested spraying
of rosemary or eucalyptus oil at a conc. of 18 ml/l or spreading
crushed leaves of laurel/sweet bay (Laurus nobilis L.) on floor
surface, to repel cockroaches by strong odor. Application of EOs
(20%) derived from kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix DC. exhibited cent
per cent repellency against both American and German cockroaches
resulting in up to 86% reduction in pest populations in residences
in Thailand . Recently, potassium alum has been used as
controlling agent against P. americana in the laboratory .
Nymphs and adults died (100% mortality) 4-d and 1-mo
respectively, after consuming alum (nymphs 0.3 mg, adult male 1
mg, adult female 2.7 mg). Gravid females are highly susceptible.
Alum is cheap and available locally, even in villages, and can be
suggested for its use as curative measure.
2.1.3. Asian cockroach
Adult populations of the Asian or flying cockroach Blattella
asahinai Mizukubo (Blattellidae) were reduced up to 68% at 7 d
after treatment with essential oil-based emulsifiable concentrate
International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences
(EC) formulation, but control diminished to only 2% by 30 d
whereas beta cyfluthrin EC or fipronil granules killed cent per cent
pest population at 7d or 30 d, respectively in the USA . In a
comparison of five mulches, there was little preference of B.
asahinai to cypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich. Therefore,
cypress mulch around home may help to reduce pest populations
and limit insecticide exposure to humans and animals .
2.1.4. Implications for cockroach management
Essential oils, plant extracts in water or chemical, and crude oil
when used through oral, topical or vapor rotes, were found less
effective than synthetic pesticides as contact poison and/or
fumigant. Thus, for an alternative to chemicals, a combination of
sanitation with traps or granular baits seems to be effective and
economic and may be recommended for practical application in
residences. All compounds extracted from plants gave reasonable
control but in most of the cases, comparative mortality was not
studied. Further, plant products, particularly water extracts are easy
to prepare, cheap due to round the year-availability of local plant
material, and should be recommended in place of two common
insecticides (dichlorvos, deltamethrin). Use of alum needs further
investigation for side effects. In all treatments, early instar nymphs
would be targeted for effective control.
2.2. Termites (Isoptera)
2.2.1. Formosan subterranean termite
Among chemicals, an IGR hexaflumuron (550-900 mg in bait
tubes)  or a semisynthetic agent avermectin (3% dust) (20-30 g
in monitor devices)  eliminated completely the termites from
the infesting sites. When 32 extracts, each at 2000 ppm (0.2%) in
hexane, ethyl acetate, acetone or methanol of leaves of eight plant
species were compared for the control of Formosan subterranean
termite (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) (Rhinotermitidae),
highest mortality of 90% was achieved 24 h after treatment with
hexane extracts of Aristolchia bracteolate Lam., ethyl acetate
extracts of Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Wall. ex Nees,
Datura metel L. and Eclipta prostrata (L.) or methanol extract of
Andrographis lineata Nees and D. metel . Among leaf extracts
and extract derivatives of a Taiwanese plant, Calocedrus
macrolepis var. formosana (Florin) Florin, only T-muurolol caused
100% mortality at 5 mg/g wood after 14 d with LC50 value of 27.6
Blaske and Horst  studied repellent action by orientation and
avoidance behavior, and toxic effects by contact and fumigation
actions of plant extracts. In no-choice test, pest mortality did not
occur but termites were effectively prevented from penetrating
treated soil. The eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.)
leaf oil exhibited both contact and fumigant actions with LC50 value
of 12.68-17.50 mg/g. Oil extracted from citrus peel (containing
92% d-liminene) applied at 0.4% caused 96% mortality within 5
days . Similarly, catnip oil (containing E-Z-nepetalactone and
Z, E-nepetalactone) at 40 mg/cm2 caused 100% mortality one day
after application. At a lower dose of 20 mg/cm2 of E-Z-
nepetalactone, only repellent activity was observed . These
examples showed that higher doses of oil are needed for effective
Essential oils (cedrol, L-cardinol) isolated from heartwood of a
Taiwanese plant (Taiwana cryptomerioides Hayata) exhibited a
maximum antitermitic activity with 100% mortality at a dose of 10
mg/g wood . Between 100 essential oils, each applied at 10
mg/g wood, those extracted from three coniferous plants [e.g. C. m.
formosana, Cryptomeria japonica (Thunberg) Don, and
Chamaecyparis obtusa var. formosana (Hayata], acted as repellent
and gave the cent per cent mortality after 5 d of application. The
best treatment was EOs of C. m. formosana with LC50 value of 2.6
mg/g . From eight essential oils, clove oil at 50 ug/cm2 were
most toxic whereas the oil extracted from vetiver, Chrysopogan
zizanioides (L.) Roberty acted as repellent only at 5ug/g sand, and
prevented tunneling at a higher dose of 25ug/g sand . Thus,
essential oils repelled insects just after application and were toxic
in a few days later.
Two phytochemicals (B-cymene and terpinene) derived from
eucalyptus leaf oil, showed both contact and fumigant actions
whereas 1, 8-cineole acted only as fumigant  whereas
cinnamaldehyde extracted from Cinnamomum osmophloeum
Kaneh. showed comparatively strongest toxicity at 1 mg/g wood;
eugenol and L-terpineol being least effective at the same dose .
Boue and Raina  studied the effects of oral feeding and topical
application on the fecundity, mortality and food consumption in
relation to flavonoids of five plants. In these tests, apigenin and
biochanin-A fed at 50 ug per reproductive pair proved most toxic.
Further, both compounds at 100 ug reduced fecundity and
biochanin-A did not elicit phagostimulant activity for adult termites
. Mao and Henderson  reported antifeedant activity and
acute and residual toxicity of alkaloids (matrine and oxymatrine)
extracted from Sophora flavescens Ait. With filter paper
consumption bioassay, Fokialakis et al.  reported that eight
thiophenes isolated from five species of genus Echinops gave 100%
mortality within 9 d when applied at 2% conc. These findings
showed superiority of essential oils over extracts and crude oil.
2.2.2. Eastern subterranean termite
Chloroform extracts of dry leaves of Lantana camara L. Applied at
0.016 mg/cm2 of filter paper or 0.125 mg/g of sand, exhibited
excellent repellent, moderate toxic and antifeedant activities against
the Eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar)
(Rhinotermitidae). Higher dose at 0.212 mg/cm2 on filter paper
resulted in >90% mortality and up to 78% reduction in feeding
whereas topical application (4 ug/termite) resulted in a maximum
of 60% mortality. Thus, filter paper treatment showed superiority
over other methods . More trials may be necessary for practical
application in houses. The eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana
L.) oil extracted from heart wood, and ethanol extracts of needles
proved lethal and prevented termites from damaging wood .
Heartwood was more resistant than sapwood due to presence of
essential oils and other allelochemicals. Therefore, there was less
pest infestation ((2.1-6.1% versus 44.6%) and termite survival
(<24% versus >84%) in cedar wood than in susceptible pine wood
2.2.3. Building termite
Leaf extracts (5%) of L. camara in chloroform gave up to 68%
mortality 48 h after application of the building termite,
Microcerotermes beesoni Snyder (Termitidae), and extract of
Ageratum conyzoides L. leaves in petroleum ether or hexane
showed 67% repellency . Further, Kaur and Rawat 
evaluated extracts in water or chemicals of leaves of six plants,
seeds of two plants and root of one plant and finally. They
recommended the leaf extracts (0.1%) in petroleum ether of L.
camera; ethanol extracts (0.1%) of Murraya keonigii (L.) Spreng.
Or methanol extract (0.1%) of cassia, Senna (Cassia) occidentalis
(L.) Link. These treatments caused 100% pest mortality within 24
h of application. Similarly, essential oil extracted from M. fragrans
gave 100% mortality 14 d after treatment at a dose of 5 mg/g wood
with LC50 of 28.6 mg/g . Extract in water is comparatively
cheaper than chemicals and easy to prepare with readily available
local materials. For example, L. camara is a weed abundantly found
in village surroundings, fallow lands, field bunds and roadside, its
extract may therefore be suggested.
In India, Lakshmanan  found potential in controlling building
termite by spraying water extract (>10%) of Euphorbia
clavarioides Boiss. var. truncata (N.E.Br.) White, Dyer & Sloane,
Aloe lateritia var. germinicola (Reynolds), Melia azedarach L.,
Lippia javanica (Burm. f.) Spreng or Ocimum sanctum L., and
neem oil (NO) mixed in kerosene. Moreover, 20% crude oil of
jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.) reduced greater weight loss in treated
wood (18.8-48.8% compared to oil fractions with 10.5-35.2% loss)
or untreated wood (50.8% loss) .
International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences
2.2.4. Asian subterranean termite
Defatted NO at 7.5% was better than AZ (91% purity) as
antifeedant, oviposition deterrent, IGR or contact poison against the
Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi Wasmann
(Rhinotermitidae) . Bark powder extracts in ethyl acetate of
Rhizophora apiculata Blume showed toxic activity due to presence
of aromatic carboxylic acids and phenols .
2.2.5. Egyptian subterranean termite
In the Middle East, the Egyptian subterranean termite,
Anacanthotermes ochraceus (Burm.) (Hodotermitidae) was
managed by spraying wooden structures with an aqueous extract of
four Saharan toxic plants but only (Willd.) Ait. extract in water
resulted in a significantly higher pest mortality (maximum of 50%)
than with other plants (Hyoscyamus muticus L., Pergularia
tomentosa .and Datura stramonium L.) . Comparatively,
imported wood was resistant to pest attack. Therefore, isolation and
characterization of allelochemicals and their use as repellent or
antifeedant may lead to improvement in current pest control .
2.2.6. Implications for termite management
Subterranean termites are a problem in developing, and less-
developed countries where houses are constructed with local
material (bamboo, plant stalks, crop residue). Considering easy
availability of commercial products in the market, crude oil of
neem, jatropha, eucalyptus and jatropha can be a suitable remedy.
For example, water extracts (especially of neem and lantana), crude
oil and essential oils were found effective against majority of
termite species in India . Most of these products showed various
modes of action such as, antifeedant, repellent, IGR and toxic. New
plant-derived products include coconut shell oil. Its coating reduced
termite infestation from 100% in untreated wood to 34.2% in
treated wood, and protected wood up to 18 mon . Furthermore,
pine (Pinus sp.) resin derivatives (diterpene acids) helped to reduce
termite damage . Thus, coconut shell oil and resin can be
effectively used as protectant (preventive coating) against termites.
After evaluating marketed formulations and crude preparations,
preference should be given to products based on the indigenous
plant species which are readily available in plenty.
2.3. Ants (Hymenoptera)
Not much research has been undertaken on ant control since they
are easily managed by boric acid, silica aerogel, aerosol sprays, and
diatomaceous dusts or NO sprays. In the digging bioassay, Chen
 observed that a commercial product containing essential oil
when applied to send at 100 mg/kg, it was repellent to adults of the
red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Formicidae).
Among compounds tested by Chen , eugenol, menthol and
methyl salicylate were significantly more effective than camphor
and eucalyptol (all applied at 10 mg/kg of sand). These essential
oils may be further studied for sand application to prevent ant entry
into house premises and can be considered as preventive measure.
2.4. Silverfish (Thysanura)
In the laboratory, essential oils of Cryptomeria japonica D. Don
leaves (containing elenol, 16-kaurene, 3-carene and other
compounds) exhibited 80% repellency to common silverfish or fish
moth, Lepisma saccharina Linn. (Lepismidae), at a dose of 0.01
mg/cm2and 100% mortality at 0.16 mg/cm2 within 10 h of
application . In residences, essential oils (myrtenol, myrtenal,
alpha-pinene) extracted from the Formosan cypress plant,
Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum sprayed in the air at 0.16
mg/cm3 space completely killed the pest within 8 h of application
. Sprays of EO on surface or in air would be appropriate for
effective pest control.
2.5. Psocids (Psocoptera)
Essential oil of Cupressus funebris Endl. or Eucalyptus citriodora
at low dose of 10 ppm showed repellent effect to common psocid
or book lice, Liposcelis bostrychophila Badonnet (Liposcelidae)
and was toxic when used at high dose of 20 ppm for fumigation.
Action was enhanced significantly when EO were combined with
12% CO2 + 9% O2 or balanced N2. Between 28 compounds of
essential oil extracted from Kaempferia galanga., only trans-
cinnamaldehyde exerted contact, fumigant and repellent actions
. Extraction of essential oils is costly, crude oils may therefore
be tested at least for repellency.
Wheat germ and wheat germ oil attract psocids which could be
killed with chemical pesticides . This is a practical solution to
pest infestation problem in residences and can be recommended
while taking proper precautions for pesticide application.
2.6. House dust mites (Acarina)
Acaricidal activity of oil extracted from the clove buds , neem
or lemon grass  has been reported. According to Kim et al. ,
the most effective constituent for contact toxicity is methyl eugenol
at a dose of 0.94 ug/cm2 and 0.67 ug/cm2 against the European
house dust mite Dermatophagoides farina Huges (Pyroglyphidae)
and the American house dust mite, Dermatophagoides
pteronyssinus (Trouessart) (Pyroglyphidae), respectively.
Application of eugenol, acetyl eugenol, isoeugenol or methyl
eugenol was effective as fumigant against both mite species and
resulted in higher pest mortality than chemical DEET at 17.85
ug/cm2 . Traditionally, eucalyptus oil is used to prevent pest
infestation. More research is needed to verify bioefficacy of
3. Looking ahead
!1) Salehzadelia and Mahjub  reported antagonistic effect of AZ
mixed with pyrethroids (0.5% cyfluthrin 10WP or 0.1% permethrin
25WP) against German cockroach. This is possible since these
products belong to different groups of pesticides with different
modes of action. Further, antagonistic effect might be due to
competition for same site or some conformational changes in target
sites or receptors. Extensive studies are therefore needed to confirm
these findings to include in pest management strategy. Research on
structure activity relationship would reveal why some essential oils
are toxic and other are not toxic. Similarly, laboratory findings are
to be put in practice for effective pest control by undertaking
(2) Regulation to harmonize the overall arrangement for
authorization of plant products differs in each country and the
legislation for execution of rules is under different ministries.
Generally, the list of active substances is regularly published by the
competent authority. Also, bulletins and gazettes are available with
international organizations . In fewer developed and
developing countries, standardizations for the content of active
ingredients in crude extracts or commercial products are not often
followed probably because laboratory facilities are inadequate or
non-existing, and procedure is expensive . This aspect is
important as the content varies considerably as per ago-climatic
zones, collection and processing of raw material and methods of
extraction . For marketing, similar official procedure is
imposed for registration and for granting license for synthetic
pesticides and plant products. Plant products are labelled with green
sign or category IV of the pesticides. Therefore, information
provided in this paper is essentially scientific or technical in nature
and cannot be used without complying current regulations and
respecting procedure for any treatment in houses.
(3) Operators sometimes mix locally available products as
synergists or adjuvants (particularly kerosene, medicinal herbs) in
spray tank and apply against pests and unregistered plant products
are used illegally and their use results in partial pest control .
Not wearing of protective clothing is another reason for chronic
exposure to plant products. Information on category of toxicity,
expiry date, antidotes in case of accidental poisoning etc. is clearly
International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences
given on the container label and product leaflet . Whenever
sprays containing essential oils are used, inhalation can be
problematic for human health. Precautions should therefore be
advocated during such applications in houses or surroundings.
Otherwise, accidental poisoning occurs particularly when operators
are not well trained or not fully aware of operations to be carried
out. For example, ingestion of unrefined NO , purified
terpenoid constituents of essential oil  or AZ  can cause
moderate poisoning or mammalian toxicity. Human and animal
studies showed that unprocessed material (seed oil, aqueous
extracts) are less toxic than non-aqueous extracts and can be applied
inside residences with proper care . Essential oils gave
promising results but ready-to-use formulations are needed to make
them easily available to applicators.
(4) Since NO is commonly used in medical and cosmetic products,
it is stored inside houses where hand to mouth exposure can pose
health problems. In fact, NO is likely to be carcinogenic and causes
toxic encephalopathy . On the contrary, cold-pressed neem oil
(CPNO) is comparatively safe to humans, predators and parasitoids
of insects, honey bees and other pollinators except it is slightly toxic
to aquatic organisms in laboratory, and honey bees have been
reported to avoid food that contains >100 ppm of CPNO , and
its “indoor use” have been approved by EPA in the USA ; it can
therefore be recommended in other countries against household and
I am greatly thankful to my colleagues for reviewing the manuscript
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