Why DEET Repels Mosquitoes

Mosquito

Mosquito

The mosquito repellent DEET was discovered by testing large numbers of chemicals for mosquito repellent properties. Why it is effective was not understood until many years later. DEET is known to interact with olfactory receptors in the mosquito antenna and disrupt their signalling. Current thought is that mosquitoes rely on olfactory stimuli to guide their feeding behavior. DEET disrupts the olfactory nerves, sending a confusing set of signals to the mosquito brain. Lacking the proper set of stimuli to induce biting and feeding, the confused mosquito flies off without a blood meal.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

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