We compared the behavioral responses of Aedes aegypti females to essential oils extracted from native plants Melaleuca leucadendron (ML), Litsea cubeba (LC), and Litsea salicifolia (LS) by using an excito-repellency test chamber. Mortality of Ae. aegypti females following 24 h holding period post-contact and non-contact trials were observed. No mortality was seen in escaped mosquitoes after direct contact with essential oils ML and LS, and low mortality (2.3–20.4%) with LC. Likewise, in all non-contact trials, no mortality was observed in escaped females from all three treatments, whereas low mortality was seen in non-escaped mosquitoes exposed to LC (0–14.3%) and LS (0–17.1%). Ae. aegypti showed significantly higher escape rates from contact chambers treated with ML and LC compared to LS, regardless of test concentrations (P<0.05). Non-contact repellent responses were significantly pronounced with LS, except at the highest (6.0%) concentration. We conclude that essential oils from all three botanicals exhibit significant irritant and repellent properties against Ae. aegypti and deserve further investigation for possible use as active ingredients in topical (skin) and indoor dispersed repellent systems.
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