The essential oil of catnip, Nepeta cataria L., contains two isomers of nepetalactone, E,Z- and Z,E-nepetalactone, and was tested for repellent activity to adult male German cockroaches, Blattella germanica (L.), in a choice-test arena. The two isomers of nepetalactone were purified by using preparative thin-layer chromatography and tested for behavioral activity in the choice-test arena. Significant differences due to concentration were detected by analysis of variance, and the responses were compared by least-squared means analysis. The activities of the essential oil and purified isomers were compared with N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) by a paired t-test. E,Z-Nepetalactone was the most active of the compounds tested, being significantly more active to this species than equivalent doses of DEET, the essential oil, or Z,E-nepetalactone. Antennectomized insects showed no response to concentrations that were active against intact insects.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2