Mosquito Attractants

J Chem Ecol. 2021 May;47(4-5):351-393. doi: 10.1007/s10886-021-01261-2. Epub 2021 Mar 16.


Vector control and personal protection against anthropophilic mosquitoes mainly rely on the use of insecticides and repellents. The search for mosquito-attractive semiochemicals has been the subject of intense studies for decades, and new compounds or odor blends are regularly proposed as lures for odor-baited traps. We present a comprehensive and up-to-date review of all the studies that have evaluated the attractiveness of volatiles to mosquitoes, including individual chemical compounds, synthetic blends of compounds, or natural host or plant odors. A total of 388 studies were analysed, and our survey highlights the existence of 105 attractants (77 volatile compounds, 17 organism odors, and 11 synthetic blends) that have been proved effective in attracting one or several mosquito species. The exhaustive list of these attractants is presented in various tables, while the most common mosquito attractants - for which effective attractiveness has been demonstrated in numerous studies - are discussed throughout the text. The increasing knowledge on compounds attractive to mosquitoes may now serve as the basis for complementary vector control strategies, such as those involving lure-and-kill traps, or the development of mass trapping. This review also points out the necessity of further improving the search for new volatile attractants, such as new compound blends in specific ratios, considering that mosquito attraction to odors may vary over the life of the mosquito or among species. Finally, the use of mosquito attractants will undoubtedly have an increasingly important role to play in future integrated vector management programs.

Keywords: Mosquito; attractant; compound; host odor; volatile.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / chemistry
  • Ammonia / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Culicidae / chemistry*
  • Culicidae / metabolism
  • Female
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mosquito Control
  • Octanols / chemistry
  • Octanols / metabolism
  • Odorants
  • Pheromones / chemistry*
  • Pheromones / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism


  • Octanols
  • Pheromones
  • Plant Extracts
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • insect attractants
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Lactic Acid
  • Ammonia
  • 1-octen-3-ol