Lemongrass and Cinnamon Bark: Plant Essential Oil Blend as a Spatial Repellent for Mosquitoes in a Field Setting

J Med Entomol. 2019 Sep 3;56(5):1346-1352. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjz078.


Plant essential oils (EOs) have been considered as spatial repellents to help disrupt the pathogen transmission cycle of mosquitoes. Our objective was to assess spatial repellency effects of EOs on the tropical yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) and on local mosquito populations in coastal British Columbia (Canada). In laboratory experiments using protocols of the World Health Organization, three of the solitary EOs tested proved repellent to Ae. aegypti: cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and rosemary. Binary combinations of select EOs enhanced the repellent effect of single EOs through synergistic interactions. The EO blend of geranium and peppermint lowered the RD50 (the dose required to obtain 50% repellency) of each solitary EO by >1,000-fold. Compared with binary EO blends, ternary EO blends were typically less repellent to mosquitoes, possibly due to a dilution effect of the most effective EO constituent(s) in the blend. In field experiments, the EO blend of lemongrass and cinnamon bark expressed spatial repellency towards the cool weather mosquito, Culiseta incidens (Thomson) (Diptera: Culicidae), even when this blend was disseminated from devices as much as 1 m away from a sentinel trap releasing attractive vertebrate host odorants and CO2. Deployment of EOs as spatial repellents in small outdoor gatherings could help protect humans from mosquito-borne diseases, particularly when this tactic is coupled with other tools of mosquito management.

Keywords: mosquito; plant essential oils; spatial repellent; synergism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • British Columbia
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry*
  • Culicidae*
  • Cymbopogon / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Mosquito Control*
  • Oils, Volatile*
  • Plant Bark / chemistry
  • Species Specificity


  • Insect Repellents
  • Oils, Volatile