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Sweet scents are double-action mosquito repellents

Updated at: Oct 09, 2015
Communicable Diseases
Written by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Oct 09, 2015
Sweet scents are double-action mosquito repellents

Sweet scents promise an effective action against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Here’s how fruity and minty scents make excellent mosquito repellents

India struggles with one of the worst dengue outbreaks in years. Supermarkets and departmental stores are flooded with several mosquito repellents and products touting to safeguard you from mosquito-borne diseases.

mosquito repellent

It is known that mosquitoes have a high sense of smell that can sniff out humans from far. And, therefore, there is no better way to repel them than to bath in fruity and minty fragrance. Studies have found that minty and fruity scents can be more than beneficial in luring mosquitoes in a trap.


How sweet smell repels mosquitoes?

A study at the University of California, Riverside, has found that you can turn a mosquitoes’ sense of smell against itself. It is one of the effective ways to reduce transmission of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

The research singled out on two potential substances, namely ethyl pyruvate and cyclopentanone. Ethyl pyruvat is a fruity compound used as a flavouring agent in food. When it is applied on an individual’s skin, it masks body’s odour and keeps mosquitoes from biting. The second compound is cyclopentanone, which lures mosquitoes in just like carbon dioxide, which makes you run away.

If these two compounds are combined together, you may be able to form a double barrier of protection against mosquitoes. And, it is natural, inexpensive and pleasant-smelling, which makes them highly effective.


The bottom line

These compounds could be developed into products to prevent mosquitoes from biting and keep them away. These are 'mask' and 'pull' strategies that could prove quite effective for mosquito control.


Read more articles on Dengue.


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