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ESSENTIAL OILS AS REPELLENTS AND TOXICANTS AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES

Summary of Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis, and J.


chinensis (Cupressaceae) as repellents against ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and
mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and as toxicants against mosquitoes
Andi Reynolds
Introduction
Mosquitoes and ticks have been known to spread various diseases and
illnesses that can lead to human death. Insect related diseases have
developed within the past 3 decades affecting human health. Insect
repellents applied to the skin or clothing can reduce the risk of an insect bite
or sting from passing disease. Although, the repeated use of these repellents
can lead to the decreased susceptibility of the insecticide. With that being
said, there are many natural repellents found in plants or plant oils that limit
the risk to the environment as well as to the mammals living in it. There is
an urgent need to develop alternatives to chemical control of a wide variety
of arthropod vectors of human diseases (John F. Carroll1*, 2011, pp. 258259). China has a plethora of plants that are used for medicinal purposes,
some of these plants in particular have been said to repel insects. Scientist
gathered the plants found in China (Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis,
and J. chinensis) to test the plants efficiencies as repellents in an essential
oil form. One purpose of this study was to characterize the chemical
composition of the essential oils of C. funebris, J. chinensis, and J. communis
The second purpose was to evaluate these oils as repellents against the

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ESSENTIAL OILS AS REPELLENTS AND TOXICANTS AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES

ticks A. americanum and I. scapularis and as repellents and adult and larval
toxicants against the yellow fever mosquito (John F. Carroll1*, 2011, p. 259).
Materials and Methods
In this experiment, the scientists gathered tick larvae and mosquitoes.
The ticks were fed as larvae on rats and the mosquitoes were fed twice
weekly with bovine blood in a pig intestine. Once the ticks and mosquitoes
were at an adult age scientist began experimenting with synthetic insect
repellants like Deet and the essential oils of the plants Cupressus funebris,
Juniperus communis, and J. chinensis. Scientists started by applying the
essential oils and Deet to filter paper, once the filter paper was dry they put
5-10 ticks under the filter paper in a petri dish to test the reaction. This
experiment was tested with each essential oil as well as the Deet. While
testing the mosquitoes, scientists opened a sleeve to the cage and put a
cloth that had human odors to attract them, this was in order to test their
biting patterns. After observing the biting patterns, scientists put a muslin
cloth that had previously been covered in essential oils in the open sleeve
and tested the reactions. They did this experiment with the all the three of
the essential oils as well as the Deet.
Results
All three essential oils acted as a repellent to the ticks. Although the
repellent was working at 6 hours post application, its effectiveness showed a
decline. The oils of C. funebris and J. chinensis did not repel the female
mosquitoes even at the highest dosage. On the other hand, the oil of J.

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ESSENTIAL OILS AS REPELLENTS AND TOXICANTS AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES

communis showed a large number of mosquitoes repelled. Many of the ticks


even died when exposed to the oils, but to rid the mosquitoes there would
have needed to be a much stronger concentration.
Discussion
The oils of C. funebris and J. communis were shown to be as effective
to Deet in repelling ticks, but need to be applied more often than the Deet.
The oils are clearly not ephemeral and formulation chemistry can extend
the longevity of repellent activity should they be developed into commercial
repellent products (John F. Carroll1*, 2011, p. 266). Different oils showed
positive and negative results to the insects. Further experimentation will be
done with different oils because of the findings in this experiment. Some
limitations were that the scientists only had two types of insects and majority
female with not many male mosquitoes in captivity. Also, there is a
possibility that a few other plants oils that were not tested in this experiment
are known to be repellents as well. The hypothesis was successful in a few
aspects as to finding natural alternatives to the chemical insect repellents
that are harmful.

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ESSENTIAL OILS AS REPELLENTS AND TOXICANTS AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES

Bibliography

Carroll, J. F., Tabanca, N., Kramer, M., Elejalde, N. M., Wedge, D. E., Bernier, U.
R., . . . Zhang, S. (2011). Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus
communis, and J. chinensis (Cupressaceae) as repellents against ticks (Acari:
Ixodidae) and mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and as toxicants against
mosquitoes. Journal of Vector Ecology, 36(2), 258-268. doi:10.1111/j.19487134.2011.00166.x