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Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent

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Published by Jothi Murugan

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Published by: Jothi Murugan on Aug 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Insect repellent1
Insect repellent
Mosquito on a bottle of herbal mosquitorepellent.
insect repellent
is a substance applied to skin, clothing, or othersurfaces which discourages insects (and arthropods in general) fromlanding or climbing on that surface. There are also insect repellentproducts available based on sound production, particularly ultrasound(inaudibly high frequency sounds). These electronic devices have beenshown to have no effect as a mosquito repellent by studies done by theEPA and many universities.
Insect repellents help prevent and control the outbreak of insect-bornediseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever, bubonic plague,and West Nile fever. Pest animals commonly serving as vectors fordisease include the insects flea, fly, and mosquito; and the arachnidtick.
Common insect repellents
-toluamide)Essential oil of the lemon eucalyptus (
Corymbia citriodora
) and its active compound p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)Icaridin, also known as picaridin, Bayrepel, and KBR 3023Nepetalactone, also known as "catnip oil"Citronella oil
PermethrinNeem oilBog MyrtleIR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)Permethrin is different in that it is actually a contact insecticide.
Repellent effectiveness
A popular post-WWII Australianbrand of insect repellent.
Synthetic repellents tend to be more effective and/or longer lasting than "natural"repellents.
In comparative studies, IR3535 was as effective or better thanDEET in protection against mosquitoes.
However, some plant-based repellentsmay provide effective relief as well.
Essential oil repellents can beshort-lived in their effectiveness, since essential oils can evaporate completely.A test of various insect repellents by an independent consumer organizationfound that repellents containing DEET or picaridin are more effective thanrepellents with "natural" active ingredients. All the synthetics gave almost 100%repellency for the first 2 hours, where the natural repellent products were mosteffective for the first 30 to 60 minutes, and required reapplication to be effectiveover several hours.
For protection against mosquitos, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued astatement in May 2008 recommending equally DEET, picaridin, oil of lemoneucalyptus and IR3535 for skin.
Permethrin is recommended for clothing, gear,
Insect repellent2or bed nets.
In an earlier report, the CDC found oil of lemon eucalyptus to be more effective than other plant-basedtreatments, with a similar effectiveness to low concentrations of DEET.
However, a 2006 published study found inboth cage and field studies that a product containing 40% oil of lemon eucalyptus was just as effective as productscontaining high concentrations of DEET.
Research has also found that neem oil is mosquito repellent for up to 12hours.
Citronella oil's mosquito repellency has also been verified by research,
including effectiveness inrepelling
 Aedes aegypti
but requires reapplication after 30 to 60 minutes.
Repellent safety
-Menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)
Regarding safety with insect repellent use on children and pregnantwomen:Children may be at greater risk for adverse reactions to repellents, inpart, because their exposure may be greater.Keep repellents out of the reach of children.Do not allow children to apply repellents to themselves.Use only small amounts of repellent on children.Do not apply repellents to the hands of young children because thismay result in accidental eye contact or ingestion.Try to reduce the use of repellents by dressing children in longsleeves and long pants tucked into boots or socks wheneverpossible. Use netting over strollers, playpens, etc.As with chemical exposures in general, pregnant women shouldtake care to avoid exposures to repellents when practical, as thefetus may be vulnerable.Regardless of which repellent product used, it is recommended to readthe label before use and carefully follow directions.
Usageinstructions for repellents vary from country to country. Some insectrepellents are not recommended for use on younger children.
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) the UnitedStates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 casesof potential DEET associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPAstates: "... it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEETtoxicity," but observed that with 30% of the US population usingDEET, the likely seizure rate is only about one per 100 millionusers.
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that, "Everglades National Park employeeshaving extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia,mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers".
The EPA states that citronella oil shows little or no toxicity and has been used as a topical insect repellent for 60years. However, the EPA also states that citronella may irritate skin and cause dermatitis in certain individuals.
Canadian regulatory authorities concern with citronella based repellents is primarily based on data-gaps intoxicology, not on incidents.
Within countries of the European Union, implementation of Regulation 98/8/EC,
commonly referred to as theBiocidal Products Directive, has severely limited the number and type of insect repellents available to Europeanconsumers. Only a small number of active ingredients have been supported by manufacturers in submitting dossiers
Insect repellent3to the EU Authorities. In general, only formulations containing DEET, icaridin (sold under the trade name Saltidinand formerly known as Bayrepel or KBR3023), IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester) andCitriodiol (p-menthane-3,8-diol) are available. Most "natural" insect repellents such as citronella, neem oil, andherbal extracts are no longer permitted for sale as insect repellents in the EU; this does not preclude them from beingsold for other purposes, as long as the label does not indicate they are a biocide (insect repellent).
Insect repellents from natural sources
There are many preparations from naturally occurring sources that are repellent to certain insects. Some of these actas insecticides while others are only repellent.
 Achillea alpina
(mosquitos)alpha-terpinene (mosquitos)
Sweet Basil (
Ocimum basilicum
Callicarpa americana
Camphor (moths)
Carvacrol (mosquitos)
Castor oil (
 Ricinus communis
) (mosquitos)
Catnip oil (
species) (nepetalactone against mosquitos)
Cedar oil (mosquitos, moths)
Celery extract (
 Apium graveolens
) (mosquitos)
In clinical testing an extract of celery was demonstrated to beat least equally effective to 25% DEET,
although the commercial availability of such an extract is not known.Cinnamon
(leaf oil kills mosquito larvae)
Citronella oil (repels mosquitos)
Oil of cloves (mosquitos)
Eucalyptus oil (70%+ eucalyptol), (cineol is a synonym), mosquitos, flies, dust mites
)Fennel oil (
 Foeniculum vulgare
) (mosquitos)
Garlic (
 Allium sativum
) (rice weevil, wheat flour beetle)
Geranium oil (also known as
 Pelargonium graveolens
Lavender (repels insects)
Lemon eucalyptus (
Corymbia citriodora
) essential oil and its active ingredient p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)Lemongrass oil (
species) (mosquitos)
East-Indian Lemon Grass (
Cymbopogon flexuosus
Marigolds (
species)Marjoram (Spider mites
Tetranychus urticae
 Eutetranychus orientalis
Neem oil (
 Azadirachta indica
) (Repels or kills mosquitos, their larvae and a plethora of other insects includingthose in agriculture)Oleic acid, repels bees and ants by simulating the "Smell of death" produced by their decomposing corpses. It is a400 millions years old natural mechanisms helping to sanitise the hives or to escape predators
Pennyroyal (
 Mentha pulegium
) (mosquitos,
), but very toxic to pets.
Peppermint (
) (mosquitos)
Pyrethrum (from
species, particularly
C. cinerariifolium
C. coccineum
)Rosemary (
 Rosmarinus officinalis
Spanish Flag (
 Lantana camara
) (against Tea Mosquito Bug,
 Helopeltis theivora
Tea tree oil
Thyme (
species) (mosquitos)
Yellow Nightshade (
Solanum villosum
), berry juice (against
Stegomyia aegypti

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