Giatropoulos A, Bellini R, Pavlopoulos DT, Balatsos G, Karras V, Mourafetis F, Papachristos DP, Karamaouna F, Carrieri M, Veronesi R, Haroutounian SA, Michaelakis A.
Mosquito management programs in the urban environment of Italian cities mainly rely on larval control with conventional insecticides, primarily targeting the road drains that constitute the principal mosquito breeding sites encountered in public. The repeated utilization of synthetic insecticides may have adverse effects on non-targets and lead to resistance development issues, while the performance of biopesticides encounters limitations in field use. Botanical insecticides as single larval control agents or in binary mixtures with conventional insecticides have been extensively studied in the laboratory as an effective and eco-friendly alternative mosquito control method with promising results. The study herein concerns the investigation, for the first time under realistic conditions in the field, of the joint action of a carvacrol-rich oregano Essential Oil (EO) with two conventional insecticides, namely, the insect growth regulator diflubenzuron and the bio-insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.), in road drains in Crevalcore city, Italy, against Culex pipiens and Aedes albopictus. According to the obtained results, the application of both plain EO and its mixtures with diflubenzuron and B.t.i. exerted very high efficacy in terms of immature mosquito population reduction over a two-week period. Three weeks after treatment, the performance of the oil and its mixtures diminished but remained high, while the addition of diflubenzuron potentiated the persistent action of the oil against Cx. pipiens. These findings are indicative of the potential of mixing carvacrol-rich EO with diflubenzuron and B.t.i. as an efficient eco-friendly alternative to mono-insecticide applications in road drains against Cx. pipiens and Ae. albopictus larvae.