Journal of medical entomology

Repellency of the Components of the Essential Oil, Citronella, to Triatoma rubida, Triatoma protracta, and Triatoma recurva (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae).

PMID 26335480


The kissing bugs--Triatoma rubida (Uhler), Triatoma protracta (Uhler), and Triatoma recurva (Stal)--are common hematophagous bugs in southeastern Arizona and responsible for severe allergic reactions in some individuals who are bitten. They also possess the potential to transmit the blood parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. We previously found the essential oil, citronella, to be an excellent deterrent of feeding of T. rubida on a restrained mouse. In this work, we tested major components--alcohols, aldehydes, and monoterpenes--of citronella oil for repellency against the three common triatome species endemic in southern Arizona. The following citronella oil components--geraniol, citronellol, limonene, and citronellal--in different concentrations and combinations were tested. All components of citronella oil demonstrated some inhibition of feeding, ranging from very weak inhibition (limonene) to significant inhibition (geraniol and citronellol). A mixture of geraniol and citronellol was found to be repellant at concentrations of .165 and .165 vol%, respectively, for all three triatome species. Citronellal and limonene had no significant repellent activity. The repellent activity of citronella oil appears to be acting through direct contact with the bugs rather than diffusion of vapors.