Repellency of essential oils to mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):625-9. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/36.5.625.


The repellency of different concentrations (5, 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100%) and combinations of 5 essential oils (Bourbon geranium, cedarwood, clove, peppermint, and thyme) to Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles albimanus Wiedemann when applied to human skin was determined in laboratory tests. Cedarwood oil failed to repel mosquitoes and only high concentrations of peppermint oil repelled Ae. aegypti. None of the oils tested prevented mosquito bite when used at the 5 or 10% concentration. Thyme and clove oils were the most effective mosquito repellents and provided 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 h of protection, depending on oil concentration. Clove oil (50%) combined with geranium oil (50%) or with thyme oil (50%) prevented biting by An. albimanus for 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 h. The potential for using essential oils as topical mosquito repellents may be limited by user acceptability; clove, thyme, and peppermint oils can be irritating to the skin, whereas both human subjects in this study judged the odor of clove and thyme oils unacceptable at concentrations > or = 25%.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes*
  • Animals
  • Anopheles*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Mosquito Control* / methods
  • Oils, Volatile*


  • Insect Repellents
  • Oils, Volatile