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K-State Today

October 18, 2011

Entomologists publish on use of natural oils against greenhouse pests

Submitted by David Margolies

Raymond Cloyd, professor of entomology, Bari Arieli, former research assistant in entomology, and colleagues from the University of Illinois published in Journal of Economic Entomology on the repellency of natural oil constituents to the fungus gnat, a pest in commercial greenhouses.

Fungus gnats are considered major insect pests of greenhouse-grown crops. Females lay eggs that hatch into larvae that directly injure plants by feeding on roots or tunneling into plant crowns. A potential alternative management strategy may be to use essential oil constituents or volatile compounds with repellant activity. This would prevent adult females from laying eggs in growing media, which would alleviate dealing with fungus gnat larval populations. The results of this study indicate that certain essential oil constituents repel fungus gnat adults, which may be useful, from a practical standpoint, in deterring adults from laying eggs into growing media.

The full article can be accessed here.