Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 227–244 | Cite as

Plant essential oils as potential control agents of varroatosis

  • María Laura Umpiérrez
  • Estela Santos
  • Andrés González
  • Carmen Rossini


Beekeeping has always been vulnerable to various sanitary drawbacks. The mite Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae), an obligated ectoparasite of honeybees, has been in recent times one of the major problems leading not only to economical losses but also to ecological problems related to the role of honeybees as the most important pollinators on Earth. Varroatosis has been treated by methods that include special practices of beekeeping, physical removal, and the use of synthetic acaricides. None of these methods have, however, rendered complete protection, and there is clear evidence for the evolution of resistance to conventional acaricides. Consequently, the need for alternative control means has prompted the onset of several prospecting programs on botanicals with anti-varroa potential. Among these, essential oils appear as good candidates for safer control. In this review, we provide a concise compilation of the information generated in the last years on essential oils with anti-varroa activity. Future developments in this area demand standardization of bioassay protocols (either in the laboratory for primary screening or in hives), a detailed chemical characterization of the essential oils tested, and comprehensive studies on application methods.


Botanical pesticides Honeybees Plant extracts Varroa destructor 



Essential oil


Maximum residue levels


Colony collapse disorder



We thank the editors for the opportunity to prepare this work, and we also wish to thank financial support by the Program for the Development of Basic Sciences (PEDECIBA, Uruguay), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW, grant L/ICA/ICB/111817/06). We would also like to acknowledge funding from: Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, and Agencia Nacional de Innovación e Investigación (ANII), Uruguay.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Laura Umpiérrez
    • 1
  • Estela Santos
    • 1
  • Andrés González
    • 1
  • Carmen Rossini
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología Química, Facultad de Química, UdelaRMontevideoUruguay

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