March 27, 2013

Are Mosquitos Becoming Immune To DEET?

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine reported on Thursday, February 21, 2013 that they have conducted a new research study regarding the usage of insect repellents.  Their study specifically focused on how mosquitos were affected when they were exposed to insect repellents that contained DEET.

Previous studies of DEET have shown that certain mosquitos and flies “carry a genetic change in the odor receptors that makes them insensitive to the smell” while most other insects are repelled by DEET.

This new study on mosquitos and DEET revealed that exposed mosquitos were mostly immune to the smell of DEET after briefly being exposed to the chemical.  Three hours later, the previously exposed mosquitos were attracted to human skin which contained DEET.

It should be noted that the study was performed on mosquitos that were known daytime biting pests, not the typical dusk and dawn biting mosquitos which are found in the United States.

NJ pest control experts are not suggesting that residents stop wearing protective clothing or insect repellents with DEET due to this new study.  Still in its infancy, scientists and pest control pros around the world will be watching to see what further testing outcomes on DEET will be.