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Laboratory cage studies on the efficacy of some medicinal plant essential oils for controlling varroosis in Apis mellifera (Hym.: Apidae)

Ghasemi, Vahid, Moharramipour, Saeid, Tahmasbi, Gholam Hossein
Systematic and applied acarology 2016 v.21 no.12 pp. 1681-1692
Apis mellifera, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Ferula gummosa, Mentha longifolia, Thymus kotschyanus, Varroa destructor, acaricidal properties, acaricides, alpha-pinene, antiparasitic properties, beehives, beta-pinene, cages, carvacrol, chemical composition, cineole, essential oils, exposure duration, fumigation, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, honey bees, medicinal plants, mites, mortality, oils, thymol, toxicity
Varroosis is a disease of Apis mellifera L. caused by the mite Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman. Essential oils and their chemical constituents offer a safe alternative to synthetic acaricides for the control of this mite in bee hives. The present study was conducted to evaluate anti-parasitic activity of essential oils from Thymus kotschyanus Bioss & Hohen., Mentha longifolia L., Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., and Ferula gummosa L. at concentrations of 1, 2.5, 4, and 5.5 μl/l air for 5 and 10 h. Findings indicated that mite mortality increased as oils concentration and exposure time increased. T. kotschyanus oil at 5.5 μl/l air caused a mite mortality rate of 54.4% and 84.43% after 5 and 10 h fumigation, respectively. At the same concentration and exposure time, the honey bee mortality was 0% and 7.2%, respectively. Application of M. longifolia and E. camaldulensis oils at 5.5 μl/l air resulted in 65.53% and 71.06% mortality in Varroa mites and 10.13% and 12% mortality in honey bees after 10 h exposure. Despite moderate acaricidal activity of F. gummosa oil against Varroa mite (49.69%), it was highly toxic to honey bee (30%). Also, GC/MS analysis of the oils showed that carvacrol (47.99%) and thymol (30.61%) in T. kotschyanus oil, piperitenone (36.86%), piperitenone oxide (27.53%),Cispiperitone epoxide (22.21%), and pulegone (8.38%) in M. longifoliaoil, 1,8-cineol (74.7%) and α-pinene (8.35%) in E. camaldulensis oil, and β-pinene (87.29%) in F. gummosa oil were the main chemical constituents. Collectively, our results led to a conclusion that T. kotschyanus, M. longifolia, and E. camaldulensis oils have enough potential to play an important role in integrated control programs of varroosis in apiaries.