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10 August 2023 Fir (Abies balsamea) (Pinales: Pinaceae) needle essential oil enhances the knockdown activity of select insecticides
Edmund J. Norris, Jeffrey R. Bloomquist
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Because of the increased interest in plant essential oils (PEO) for both home pest control and personal bite protection, the ability of fir needle (Abies balsamea) oil to synergize the 1-h knockdown and 24-h toxicity of 9 different synthetic insecticides was evaluated. Fir needle oil strongly synergized knockdown of the neonicotinoids, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam (between 16- and 24-fold), as well as natural pyrethrins (12-fold), but had less effect with organophosphates and fipronil. For 24-h mortality, only pirimiphos-methyl was strongly synergized by fir needle oil pretreatment (18-fold). Chemical analysis and testing identified delta-3-carene is the most bioactive constituent, producing synergism similar to that of the whole oil. In fact, this constituent synergized the 24-h mortality of clothianidin to a higher degree than fir needle oil itself (4.9-fold vs. 2.4-fold). Synergism is unlikely to be mediated by effects on the nervous system, as fir needle oil caused no change in mosquito central nervous system firing at 100 ppm and did not synergize an inactive concentration of natural pyrethrins (10 nM).To better understand fir needle oil effects, we evaluated the ability of pretreatment with this oil to impact Aedes aegypti monooxygenase degradation of a model substrate, 7-ethoxycoumarin. Interestingly, both fir needle oil and delta-3-carene caused a significant increase in metabolic degradation of 7-ethoxycoumarin, perhaps indicating they upregulate oxidative metabolic processes. Such an action would explain why fir needle oil enhances knockdown, but not 24-h mortality for most of the insecticides studied here, whereas increased bioactivation would explain the synergism of pirimiphos-methyl toxicity.

Edmund J. Norris and Jeffrey R. Bloomquist "Fir (Abies balsamea) (Pinales: Pinaceae) needle essential oil enhances the knockdown activity of select insecticides," Journal of Medical Entomology 60(6), 1350-1356, (10 August 2023).
Received: 26 February 2023; Accepted: 4 August 2023; Published: 10 August 2023

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Aedes aegypti
fir needle
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