This study, conducted under laboratory conditions, was designed to determine the repellent activity of 10 naturally occurring volatile alcohol constituents against adults of the fungus gnat, Bradysia sp. nr. coprophila (Lintner) (Diptera: Sciaridae). The essential oil constituents were octanoic acid, furfural, acetophenone, benzaldehyde, dimethoxybenzene, borneol, menthol, 1-octen-3-ol, and 7-hydroxycitronellol, and α-terpineol. α-Terpineol, octanoic acid and furfural were tested at several concentrations, whereas the remaining seven were tested at only one concentration. The essential oil constituents' menthol, 1-octen-3-ol, and borneol displayed the most repellent activity. The mean percentage of fungus gnat adults recovered from the test compound petri dishes associated with the three essential oil constituents was between 6 and 15% compared with between 36 and 50% for the petri dishes with distilled water. The mean ± SEM number of fungus gnat adults present in the sample compartments associated with menthol (10.4 ± 2.6), 1-octen-3-ol (18.8 ± 2.4), and borneol (23.4 ± 5.6) was statistically lower than those in the petri dishes containing distilled water (60.9 ± 7.4, 49.8 ± 4.0, and 79.7 ± 13.5), respectively. Only the highest concentration of α-terpineol (8.0 µmol) displayed significant repellent activity against fungus gnat adults. The other essential constituents tested, including octanoic acid (all three concentrations), furfural (both concentrations), acetophenone, dimethoxybenzene, and 7-hydroxycitronellol, were not statistically different from the distilled water control. 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.
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Vol. 104 • No. 5