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Susceptibility of the bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) and its parasitoid Dinarmus basalis (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) to three essential oils.


The bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) causes major losses during the storage of seeds of Vigna unguiculata (Walp.) in West Africa. An endemic parasitoid, the pteromalid Dinarmus basalis (Rond.) reduces the increase in bruchid populations in stores and could be used for biological control. African farmers often introduce essential oils into granaries at harvest time. In Togo, essential oils were extracted from two Gramineae, Cymbopogon nardus (L.) and Cymbopogon schoenanthus (L.) and from a Lamiaceae, Ocimum basilicum (L.). The major components of these essential oils were citronellal in C. nardus, carene-2 and piperitone in C. schoenanthus and estragol in O. basilicum. Cymbopogon schoenanthus was the most toxic oil for C. maculatus adults. D. basalis adults were more susceptible to the three essential oils than the adults of their hosts C. maculatus. In the presence of cowpea seeds, the LC50s of the three essential oils were lower than in their absence, suggesting that the seeds may absorb a part of the volatiles. High doses of three essential oils slightly affected the survival of the fourth instar or the pupae of C. maculatus. This high survival was due to protection of larvae from volatiles by the surrounding seeds. The D. basalis were more affected by the oil volatiles than their hosts. Sub-lethal doses of essential oils reduced the duration of the adult life of both insect species and fecundity of the females. The differences in sensitivity of the host and its parasitoid could influence their population dynamics. The introduction of the essential oils into storage systems potentially could reduce density of parasitoid populations and increase seed losses.