A laboratory experiment was conducted with the poultry red mite Dermanysuss gailinae (De Geer) to assess the toxicity of a range of essential oils obtained from wild-growing plants in Tunisia to this pest. Details of the percentage essential oil yield from these plants were also recorded. For comparison, commercially sourced essential oil from Thymus vulgaris (L) was also tested against D. gallinae after work elsewhere found this product to be acaricidal. Recently fed adult female D. gallinae were exposed to the essential Oils at 0.1 Mg oil/cm(2) in Petri-dishes at 22 degrees C over a period of 24 h. Results showed that the yield of essential oil varied considerably depending upon the source plant. Whilst maximum yields of 0.5% were achieved, three of the seven wild plants selected provided yields of less than 0.1%. Similar variability was recorded with respect to the toxicity of the essential oils to D. gallinae. Three of the essential oils tested did not cause significant D. gallinae mortality (in comparison to the control). However, all other selected oils provided mortality levels statistically similar to the 90% mortality achieved with commercial T vulgaris essential oil, with the oil from Pelargonium graveolens (L'Her.) killing 100% of D. gallinae exposed to it. Essential oil from P. graveolens in particular may be suitable for further development as a D. gallinae acaricide alongside or in place of commercial thyme essential oil.