Plant Secondary Metabolites as Rodent Repellents: a Systematic Review
The vast number of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) produced by higher plants has generated many efforts to exploit their potential for pest control. We performed a systematic literature search to retrieve relevant publications, and we evaluated these according to PSM groups to derive information about the potential for developing plant-derived rodent repellents. We screened a total of 54 publications where different compounds or plants were tested regarding rodent behavior/metabolism. In the search for widely applicable products, we recommend multi-species systematic screening of PSMs, especially from the essential oil and terpenoid group, as laboratory experiments have uniformly shown the strongest effects across species. Other groups of compounds might be more suitable for the management of species-specific or sex-specific issues, as the effects of some compounds on particular rodent target species or sex might not be present in non-target species or in both sexes. Although plant metabolites have potential as a tool for ecologically-based rodent management, this review demonstrates inconsistent success across laboratory, enclosure, and field studies, which ultimately has lead to a small number of currently registered PSM-based rodent repellents.