ABSTRACT: The demand for effective insecticides in pest control with low toxicity to the non-target organisms, such as natural enemies and pollinators, is increasing steadily. A good alternative for synthetic insecticides is natural compounds, including essential oils (EO). This work assessed toxicity of essential oils extracted from Artemisia annua, A. absinthium, A. camphorata, A. dracunculus and A. vulgaris against the melonworm Diaphania hyalinata (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) larvae, a pest of Cucurbitaceae, and their selectivity for fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and jataí bee Tetragonisca angustula (Latreille) (Meliponinae). The plants were grown in a greenhouse with mineral fertilization and were used for EO extraction. The insects in the bioassay belonged to the second instar of D. hyalinata and adult forms of S. saevissima and T. angustula. Essential oil from A. annua induced a high mortality rate in D. hyalinata (96 %) over a 48 h period. The same essential oil was selective for predator S. saevissima (42 % mortality) and pollinator T. angustula (74 % mortality), while causing high mortality in D. hyalinata. The insecticidal activity of A. annua oil was attributed to the synergism of its constituents viz., camphor and 1,8-cineole. Therefore, this essential oil contains constituents that are promising for effective use as insecticide due to its high toxicity and rapid action against D. hyalinata as well as low toxicity for predator and pollinator.