Peganum harmala L. (Zygophyllaceae) is an herb native to arid and semiarid regions of Central Asian deserts. This study investigated the effects of ethanol extracts of P. harmala seeds on the olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) (Diptera: Tephritidae), i.e., adult repellency, reproductive activity, and larval growth, as well as parasitism levels by Psyttalia concolor (Szépligeti). Olive fruit treated with 2% extract reduced B. oleae oviposition. In choice tests, female B. oleae spent >99% of their time foraging on untreated fruit rather than P. harmala-treated fruit. These changes in ovipositional behavior resulted in a nearly 30-fold decrease in oviposition marks on treated fruit compared with untreated fruit during a 48 h exposure period. When female B. oleae were fed liquid diet containing 0.2% P. harmala extract, there was no effect on the number of ovipositional marks on exposed fruit, but up to 21.4% of the deposited eggs were deformed. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analyses of deformed eggs revealed that some protein bands were missing. Consequently, the number of offspring produced by treated females was lower than by untreated females. Neither the sex ratio nor body size of the fly's offspring were affected by adults fed diet containing 0.2% P. harmala extract. However, there was a slightly prolonged developmental time from egg to adult. Parasitism of larval B. oleae by P. concolor was not affected by infested fruit treatment with 2% P. harmala extract. P. harmala extracts as a potential control for insect pest species are discussed.
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Vol. 102 • No. 6