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ISSN : 1229-3571(Print)
ISSN : 2287-819X(Online)
Korean Journal of Organic Agricultue Vol.26 No.2 pp.259-268

Screening of Essential Oil Repellents against the Organic Pear Pest Holotrichia parallela (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)*

Jang-Hoon Song**, Md Abdul Alim***, Eu-Ddeum Choi**, Duck-Soo Choi****, Ho-Jin Seo*****

These authors contributed equally to this work as the first author.

Corresponding author, Pear Research Institute, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science (,
February 8, 2018 April 23, 2018 April 26, 2018


The study investigated the efficacy of four different essential oils on the repellent responses of large black chafer (Holotrichia parallela) Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in organic pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) orchards. Cinnamon, pine, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils were used, and the behavioral responses and repellent effects against H. parallela were investigated under laboratory and field conditions. Adult beetle responses to different oils were examined using a Y-tube olfactometer in the laboratory and four absorbent blocks with each oil in the field. The repellent responses rates of H. parallela were 100% for cinnamon oil; however, only 67% of adult beetles avoided peppermint and eucalyptus oil in the Y-tube olfactometer bioassay. In the field tests, the least damage to leaves was observed on trees treated with cinnamon oil, whereas the most damage was observed in the control (non-treated) trees and those treated with peppermint oil, followed by eucalyptus and pine oil. Therefore, cinnamon oil can be used as a repellent to avoid damage form large black chafers in organic pear orchards.

유기재배 과원에서 큰검정풍뎅이 방제를 위한 기피 살충자재 선발

송 장훈**, 둘알림 압***, 최 으뜸**, 최 덕수****, 서 호진*****
**Pear Research Institute, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science
***Department of Entomology, Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University
****Jeonnam Agricultural Research and Extension Services


    Rural Development Administration

    Ⅰ. Introduction

    The large black chafer Holotrichia parallela Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) is a dominant pest of agricultural and horticultural crops in East Asia, especially in China, Korea, and Japan. In Korea, this beetle infests organic pear orchards where adults feed on the leaves of pear trees (Pyrus pyrifolia). Adults feeds on the leaves and larvae feed on the roots of other host plants from June to September, and larvae overwinter in the soil (Choi et al., 2006). During pest outbreaks, organic pear trees can become completely defoliated, resulting in some tree mortality. In the past, prevention of defoliation relied on the use of pesticides, such as phosphamidon, carbofuran, and omethoate products that are highly toxic to mammals (Liang et al., 1990; Liu, 2010). These chemicals cause serious environmental pollution and are hazardous to humans, pollinators, and livestock. Hence, the development of effective, environmentally safe control techniques for this pest is needed.

    Plant oils can influence insect behavior and have potential as natural pesticides, lures, repellents, or antifeedants. For example, the addition of phenylacetaldehyde (a general floral odor compound) to traps significantly increased catches of Lygus rugulipennis Poppius and Adelphocoris lineolatus (Goeze) (Hemiptera: Miridae) compared with unbaited traps (Koczor et al., 2012). For Holotrichia oblita (Faldermann) (Coleoptera: Melolonthidae), a pest of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.; Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae), the leaf volatiles dibutyl phthalate and cinnamaldehyde were highly attractive, suggesting their potential use as lures (Li et al., 2013). Many authors have studied the toxicity and antifeedant activity of plant volatiles on pests (Huang & Ho 1998; Hernández-Lambraño et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2015). Most effective environmentally friendly antifeedants that are extracted from plants can be applied in the field against pests (Koczor et al., 2012).

    Herbivore attacks are known to increase the emission of plant volatiles (Cossé et al., 2006). Such herbivore-induced plant volatiles can be effective, safe, and environmentally friendly chemicals for managing pests. In this study, four oils were used: cinnamon, pine, peppermint, and eucalyptus to investigate the behavioral responses and repellent effects against H. paralella under laboratory and field conditions.

    Ⅱ. Materials and Methods

    1. Insects

    Adult beetles (H. parallela) were collected from an organic pear orchard on one night in September 2016, during the peak of adult emergence. All beetles were collected in the Pear Research Institute, RDA, Naju, Republic of Korea, and maintained in ventilated net cages (30×30× 30 cm). Beetles were fed fresh pear leaves in daily. Thirty adult beetles were maintained per cage.

    2. Y-tube olfactometer bioassay

    We used a Y-tube olfactometer (Fig. 1) (Sigma Scientific Co.). Medical-grade compressed air was passed through the arms, creating an airflow of 450 mL/min in each arm, with airflow regulated using flow meters. The Y-tube olfactometer was kept in a dark room to minimize possible light effects and the set-up was illuminated. The temperature in the bioassay room was maintained at 23-25°C. Two pieces of same-sized cotton were used in each assay, one treated with 0.5 ml of one of the oils (cinnamon, pine, peppermint, or eucalyptus) and another left untreated as the control. Both pieces were placed in glass cups that were connected to the line between the air source and the test chambers (arms of the Y-tube).

    To test each oil, one adult beetle was randomly selected and placed inside the olfactometer. Each beetle was tested individually, using a new adult for each replicate until 10 replicates had been run per treatment (oil). In each replicate, the wire of the Y-tube was cleaned using acetone to remove any chemical residues that may have confounded the behavior of the beetles. The beetle was placed at the starting point in the Y-tube and allowed to choose either arm of the Y-tube until it reached the decision line (Fig. 1 “E”). Each test was run for 10 min. Parameters measured were: (i) choice of Y-tube; and (ii) time to the decision line (which was measured using a stopwatch to a precision of 0.01 s.

    3. Field experiments

    Field trials were conducted in an organic pear orchard that was naturally infested with H. parallela at the Pear Research Institute, RDA, Naju, Republic of Korea. The experiments were conducted from the first to the last week of September 2016. Within the orchard, 4 plots were randomly selected, in which 4 trees were randomly assigned to each of the 4 treatments (cinnamon oil, pine oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil), with 3 replicates for each treatment (12 replicates per plot). The control plots were assigned in a separate plot in same field. In each plot, treatment plants were spaced 14 m apart, with a buffer zone between them. Four rows of pear trees were established between the buffer zones (another 4 rows, 30 m).

    Four absorbent blocks were placed in each tree; two blocks were placed in a punctured zippered bag at 1 m and another two were placed at 2.5 m above the base of the tree (Fig. 2). One mL of each oil was spread over each block in each treatment using a micropipette, and repeated weekly. Beetle repellent rates were collected weekly at <1, 1, 2, and 3 m away from the left and right sides of each treatment trees. The same procedures were used for the controls. Damaged leaves were marked using permanent marker pen for the next sampling (Fig. 3).

    4. Statistical analyses

    Seasonal leaf damage by H. parallela in different treatments was analyzed using Chi-square tests. Tukey’s tests were used for all post-hoc analysis of multiple comparisons (Zar, 2010). All statistical analysis was done to using SPSS, version 16.

    Ⅲ. Results and Discussion

    1. Repellent responses in the Y-tube olfactometer bioassay

    The repellent responses of H. parallela varied across the different oils. Cinnamon oil showed the highest avoidance rate (100%) (Fig. 4). All H. parallela avoided the cinnamon oil odor arm and chose the control arm and remained there for the duration of the test. For eucalyptus and peppermint oils, 67% of H. parallela did not chose to any arm, while only 17% chose to either the control or treatment arms. In the pine oil treatment, 50% avoided the treatment arm, and 50% avoided both arms (Fig. 4). Other studies have also shown that peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil reduce attractiveness to Japanese bettle when combined with wintergreen oil (Youssef et al., 2009).

    2. Repellency rates in an organic pear orchard

    The highest repellency rate was observed in the cinnamon oil treatment at up to 2 m distance, after which the effect significantly declined (left side, χ2=13.825; df=4; P=0.007; right side, χ2 =16.301; df=4; P=0.002) (Table 1). Pine oil did not show any statistical difference in repellency rates on either the left or right sides of the release point. However, eucalyptus and peppermint oil showed a significant difference in repellency rates of each side (peppermint: right, χ2=12.245; df=4; P=0.015; eucalyptus: left, χ2=14.053; df=4; P=0.007; right, χ2=16.943; df=4; P=0.002) (Table 1). Some of the variation in left and right side repellency rates might have been due to the wind speed and directions. Cinnamon and eucalyptus oils showed better repellency rates at up to 2 m distance and were statistically different (cinnamon oil, χ2=29.511; df=4; P<0.001; pine oil, χ2=12.268; df=4; P=0.015; peppermint, χ2=12.809; df=4; P=0.012; eucalyptus, χ2=29.112; df=4; P<0.001) (Fig. 5).

    The most leaf damage was observed in the control plots, then in the peppermint oil plants, followed by the eucalyptus, and pine oil plants. The least damage was observed in the cinnamon oil plants (χ2=53.502; df=4; P<0.001) (Fig. 6). Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Presl. (Lauraceae) is a medicinal plant that is widespread globally. The essential oils, compounds, antimicrobial, insecticidal, and repellent activities of Cinnamomum have been reported previously (Liu et al., 2001; Kim et al., 2003; Tripathi et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2005). Eucalyptus oil is ranked 4th among the commonly used insecticides for repelling insects from beehives (Kegley et al., 2007). Eucalyptus oil has also been used as an antifeedant, particularly against biting insects (Trigg, 1996a, b; Trigg and Hill, 1996; Chou et al., 1997; Thorsell et al., 1998). Trigg (1996a, b) reported that eucalyptus-based products used as insect repellent for humans can protect from biting insects for up to 8 h, depending upon the concentration of the essential oil.

    Ⅳ. Conclusions

    In this study, cinnamon and eucalyptus oil displayed good repellent activities against H. parallela. However, cinnamon oil showed the strongest repellency, at up to 2 m distance from the release point. Therefore, cinnamon oil can be used to repel H. parallela in organic pear orchards.



    Y-tube olfactometer used to examine the behavior of large black chafer Holotrichia parallela in response to olfactory cues originating from four different essential plant oils.

    Adult beetles were placed individually in the arena at the entry point “E”. A Y-shaped wire was provided to enable insects to move and prevent contact with the slippery glass in the Y-tube.


    Location of oil odor release blocks in pear trees.

    The arrows indicate where to place the blocks.


    Damaged leaves marked using permanent marker pen.


    Repellent responses of Holotrichia parallela to four oils in the Y-tube bioassay.


    Seasonal leaf damage caused by Holotrichia parallela at different distances from the oil release points.

    Vertical bars indicate ± standard errors (n=3). Means followed by different letters within a column are significantly different from each other based on a Tukey multiple comparison test ( P<0.05).


    Seasonal leaf damage (%) caused by Holotrichia parallela in trees treated with different oils.

    Vertical bars indicate ± standard errors (n=3). Means followed by different letters within a column are significantly different from each other based on a Tukey multiple comparison test ( P<0.05).


    Mean damage rate (repellency) by Holotrichia parallela in an organic pear orchard in different directions from the release point of essential oils

    z.Means followed by different letters within columns are significantly different in Tukey’s multiple comparison tests (P<0.05).


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