During the past decades, the huge use of pesticides caused several environmental problems, so research investigations moved to find a series of compounds with selective toxicity, of a biodegradable and environment-friendly nature, maintaining a positive action in crop and stored products protection. In this perspective, interesting results in the control of pests and fungal pathogens were obtained using essential oils, which are compounds produced by many species of plants as secondary metabolites. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the fumigant activity of five Citrus essential oils against the confused flour beetle Tribolium confusum Du Val, planning a possible employment in the mill industry. The fumigant effectiveness was evaluated 24, 48, 72 hours and 7 days after the start of exposure and each essential oil was analyzed by means of GC and GC/MS. Further evaluations about the toxicity of these compounds were made by partially filling the glass vials with food matrix, in order to assess the possible interference of this matter on the active compounds. The data obtained indicated that, at a low level of fumigant concentration, essential oils can effectively control stored product pests; in the presence of debris, like flour, the efficacy decreased. Plant extracts caused also increased mortality levels after the end of fumigation. The results obtained from this experimentation confirm the efficacy of essential oils in pest control and, in particular, against stored product pests.
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