Nootkatone is a repellent for Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus)

Betty C.R. Zhu
Gregg Henderson, LSU Agricultural Center
Feng Chen, LSU Agricultural Center
Lara Maistrello, LSU Agricultural Center
Roger A. Laine


We examined the behavior of Formosan subterranean termites toward one of the components of vetiver grass oil, the roots of which manufacture insect repellents. We found nootkatone, a sesquiterpene ketone, isolated from vetiver oil is a strong repellent and toxicant to Formosan subterranean termites. The lowest effective concentration tested was 10 3μg/g substrate. This is the first report of nootkatone being a repellent to insects.