The Efficacy of Some Commercially Available Insect Repellents for Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) and Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae)

J Insect Sci. 2015;15(1):140. doi: 10.1093/jisesa/iev125.


Reducing the number of host-vector interactions is an effective way to reduce the spread of vector-borne diseases. Repellents are widely used to protect humans from a variety of protozoans, viruses, and nematodes. DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), a safe and effective repellent, was developed during World War II. Fear of possible side effects of DEET has created a large market for "natural" DEET-free repellents with a variety of active ingredients. We present a comparative study on the efficacy of eight commercially available products, two fragrances, and a vitamin B patch. The products were tested using a human hand as attractant in a Y-tube olfactometer setup with Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and Aedes albopictus (Skuse), both major human disease vectors. We found that Ae. albopictus were generally less attracted to the test subject's hand compared with Ae, aegypti. Repellents with DEET as active ingredient had a prominent repellency effect over longer times and on both species. Repellents containing p-menthane-3,8-diol produced comparable results but for shorter time periods. Some of the DEET-free products containing citronella or geraniol did not have any significant repellency effect. Interestingly, the perfume we tested had a modest repellency effect early after application, and the vitamin B patch had no effect on either species. This study shows that the different active ingredients in commercially available mosquito repellent products are not equivalent in terms of duration and strength of repellency. Our results suggest that products containing DEET or p-menthane-3,8-diol have long-lasting repellent effects and therefore provide good protection from mosquito-borne diseases.

Keywords: Aedes; Asian tiger mosquito; DEET; repellents; yellow fever mosquito.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aedes*
  • Animals
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • DEET
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Insect Vectors
  • Menthol / analogs & derivatives
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Perfume


  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Insect Repellents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Perfume
  • DEET
  • Menthol
  • terpin