Repellency of volatile oils from plants against three mosquito vectors

J Vector Ecol. 2001 Jun;26(1):76-82.


Volatile oils extracted by steam distillation from four plant species (turmeric (Curcuma longa), kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix), citronella grass (Cymbopogon winterianus) and hairy basil (Ocimum americanum)), were evaluated in mosquito cages and in a large room for their repellency effects against three mosquito vectors, Aedes aegypti, Anopheles dirus and Culex quinquefasciatus. The oils from turmeric, citronella grass and hairy basil, especially with the addition of 5% vanillin, repelled the three species under cage conditions for up to eight hours. The oil from kaffir lime alone, as well as with 5% vanillin added, was effective for up to three hours. With regard to the standard repellent, deet alone provided protection for at least eight hours against Ae. aegypti and Cx. quinquefasciatus, but for six hours against An. dirus. However, deet with the addition of 5% vanillin gave protection against the three mosquito species for at least eight hours. The results of large room evaluations confirmed the responses for each repellent treatment obtained under cage conditions. This study demonstrates the potential of volatile oils extracted from turmeric, citronella grass and hairy basil as topical repellents against both day- and night-biting mosquitoes. The three volatile oils can be formulated with vanillin as mosquito repellents in various forms to replace deet (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), the most common chemical repellent currently available.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae*
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal
  • Insect Repellents / pharmacology*
  • Insect Vectors*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Volatilization


  • Insect Repellents
  • Plant Oils