Effectiveness of insect repellents : pay attention to the ingredients

With the recent outbreak of Zika virus, many insect repellents are very popular and became best-selling products, but researchers say they’re not equally effective at warding off mosquitoes that carry diseases like Zika virus, chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue. It is very difficult to choose a repellents : a search for “mosquito repellent” on Amazon.com delivers more than 28,000 product results ; Researchers at the Molecular Vector Physiology Laboratory at New Mexico State University are working to make the search for the best mosquito repellents a little easier ;

Researchers have written in the Journal of Insect Science February 16 about
Efficacy of Some Wearable Devices Compared with Spray-On Insect Repellents for the Yellow Fever Mosquito, Aedes aegypti

In this study, researchers have tested a lot of repellent devices and sprays : the estimated protected time has been evaluated for each one.

The conclusion of this study is :

“The results of our study show clearly that DEET and PMD are very effective mosquito repellents when used in sufficient concentration, while the other active ingredients had lower efficacy. This finding confirms the findings of several other studies that found DEET and PMD the most effective and longest lasting mosquito repellents currently available (Fradin and Day 2002, Carroll and Loye 2006). The Kids Herbal Armor product, which contains a mixture of essential oils as active ingredients, performed equally well as a 40% DEET solution and better than a 10% picaridin solution.
The citronella candle combined with a human subject attracted slightly more mosquitoes that the human bait person alone; however, this difference was not statistically significant. We found no indication that such candles repel Ae. aegypti females.”


DEET =N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, = diethyltoluamide

DEET is considered safe by many public health organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization. DEET is among those chemicals recommended by WHO for protection against disease-carrying mosquitoes and is the only repellent recommended by the CDC to protect against Lyme disease (

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus /PMD = para-menthane-3,8-diol

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is the trade name for the repellent that originated as an extract of the eucalyptus tree native to Australia. The tree extract is refined to intensify the concentration of the naturally occurring substance para-menthane-3,8-diol, also known as PMD, from 1 to 65 percent.


Researchers found that products with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, which contains an ingredient known as PMD, are more effective at repelling the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue.

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