The control strategies for the olive crop key pest, Bactrocera oleae, involve synthetic chemical insecticides and few eco-sustainable alternatives, such as ovideterrents and lures. In the last few decades, the interest concerning the formulation of botanical based biopesticides increased, but little research investigated the suitability of these approaches for B. oleae control. This research aimed to investigate the residual contact toxicity and the oviposition deterrence of three essential oil (EO)-based nano-emulsions (Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Mentha × piperita) against B. oleae adult flies. All the nano-emulsions possessed optimal physical characteristics, with droplets dimensions ranging from 115 to 152 nm and low PDI values (<0.2), even after 1 year of storage. Although no notable residual contact toxicity was noted, all the tested formulations reduced the number of oviposition puncture in no-choice tests (percent repellence: mint < fennel < anise). In choice trials, olives treated with fennel and anise EO-formulations at the highest concentration (7.5%, 75 g of EO/L) were less attractive respect to control fruits and a significant reduction of olive punctures was recorded. Nano-biopesticides are promising eco-friendly tools to integrate B. oleae pest management programs and to reduce the use of harmful conventional active ingredients.
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