Chinese pear psylla (Cacopsylla chinensisYang et Li) is a serious orchard pest that causes declines in fruit quality through feeding damage and the spread of pathogens. The rapid development of chemical pesticide resistance has become a severe problem in controlling pear psylla. Thus, the development of natural pesticides to replace conventional chemical pesticides is urgently needed. Here, we found that the essential oil of peppermint (Mentha haplocalyx Briq. [Lamiales: Labiatae]) is an ideal agent for controlling pear psylla based on experiments in the laboratory and the field. The major constituents of peppermint essential oil were found including menthol (49.73%), menthone (30.52%), α-pinene (3.60%), and α-terpineol (3.81%). This oil and chemicals in it performed serious contact toxicity against the winter-form adults and nymphs of pear psylla, yielding LD50 values of 2.54, 10.71, 2.77, 5.85, and 12.58 µg/adult and 1.91, 9.56, 2.18, 4.98, and 12.07 µg/nymph, respectively. Furthermore, the essential oil strongly repelled the adults of pear psylla with 78% repellence at the highest concentration tested in aY-tube olfactometer in the laboratory. The combined effect of the two factors made peppermint essential oil a natural pesticide, which achieved a maximum reduction of round to 80.9% in winter-form adult population and round to 67.0% in nymph population at the concentration of 4.0 ml/L in the field. Additionally, it had no effect on the natural enemies of pear psylla in the field. Therefore, peppermint essential oil has potential as an alternative to chemical pesticides for pest control in integrated pest management programs in pear orchards.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3