Insect feeding and oviposition deterrents from western red cedar foliage


The feeding deterrent activity of fractions from the foliage of western red cedar,Thujaplicata Donn, was studied in laboratory bioassays using the white pine weevil,Pissodes strobi Peck, as a test insect. The most active fraction was the volatile mixture that comprises the leaf oil of this tree species. Further fractionation of the leaf oil indicated feeding deterrent activity in the monoterpene hydrocarbon, thujone, and terpene alcohol fractions. When tested alone, both (−)-3-isothujone and (+)-3-thujone, which made up 75–88% and 5–10% of the leaf oil, respectively, deterred feeding by the weevils. Western red cedar leaf oil also showed antifeedant activity with the alder flea beetle,Altica ambiens (Le Conte), and served as an oviposition deterrent for the onion root maggot,Hylemya antiqua Meigen. The leaf oil, however, had no inhibitory effect on the feeding of the leaf roller,Epinotia solandriana L., and the red-backed sawfly,Eriocampa ovata L.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Alfaro, R.I., Pierce, H.D., Jr., Borden, J.H., andOehlschlager, A.C. 1979. A quantitative feeding bioassay forPissodes strobi Peck (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).J Chem. Ecol. 5:663–671.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barton, G.M., MacDonald, B.F., andSahota, T.S. 1972. Juvenile hormone-like activity of thujic acid, an extractive of western red cedar.Can. Dep. Fish. For. Bi-mon. Res. Notes 28:22–23.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Erdtman, H., andGripenberg, J. 1948. Antibiotic substances from the heartwood ofThuja plicata Donn.Nature 161:719.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Hach, V., andMcDonald, E.C. 1971. Diethylamide of thujic acid, a potent repellent ofAedes aegypti.Science 174:144–145.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Mach, V., Lockhart, R.W., McDonald, E.C., andCartlidge, D.M. 1971. On the isolation of (+)-3-thujone.Can. J. Chem. 49:1762–1764.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Rennerfelt, E. 1948. Thujaplicin, a fungicidal substance in the heartwood ofThuja plicata.Physiol. Plant. 1:245–254.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Roff, J.W., andWhittaker, E.I. 1959. Toxicity tests of a new tropolone, B-thujaplicinol, occurring in western red cedar.Can. J. Bot. 37:1132.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Sandra, P., andVerzele, M. 1977. Surface treatment, deactivation and coating in (GC)2 (glass capillary gas chromatography).Chromatographia 10:419–425.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Schieke, J.D., Comins, N.R., andPretorius, V. 1975. Whisker-walled open tubular glass columns for gas chromatography.J. Chromatogr. 112:97–107.

    Google Scholar 

  10. VanDerKamp, B.J. 1975. The distribution of microorganisms associated with decay of western red cedar.Can. J. For. Res. 5:61–67.

    Google Scholar 

  11. VanderSar, T.D.J., andBorden, J.H. 1977. Aspects of host selection behavior ofPissodes strobi Peck. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as revealed in laboratory feeding bioassays.Can. J. Zool. 55:405–414.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Vernon, R.S., Borden, J.H., Pierce, H.D., Jr., andOehlschlager, A.C. 1977. Host selection byHylemya antiqua: Laboratory bioassay and methods of obtaining host volatiles.J. Chem. Ecol. 3:359–368.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Von Rudloff, E. 1962. Gas-liquid chromatography of terpenes VI. The volatile oil ofThuja plicata Donn.Phytochemistry 1:195–202.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Wellington, W.G. 1969. Effects of 3 hormonal mimics on mortality, metamorphosis and reproduction of the western tent caterpillar,Malacosoma californicum pluviale.Can. Entomol. 101:1163–1172.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Zerillo, R.T., andOdell, T.M. 1973. White pine weevil (Pissodes strobi Peck): A rearing procedure and artificial medium.J. Econ. Entomol. 66:593–594.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Additional information

Research supported by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Canada, Co-op Grant No. A0243 and Operating Grant Nos. A3881 and A3706, and by the British Columbia Ministry of Labour Youth Employment Program.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Alfaro, R.I., Pierce, H.D., Borden, J.H. et al. Insect feeding and oviposition deterrents from western red cedar foliage. J Chem Ecol 7, 39–48 (1981).

Download citation

Key words

  • Insect feeding deterrents
  • antifeedants
  • Pissodes strobi Peck
  • Coleoptera
  • Curculionidae
  • Thuja plicata Donn