Some New, Natural Pesticides Beat Mosquitoes

From the WebMD Archives

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A new class of natural-based mosquito repellents appears to be effective, researchers report.

Each year, nearly 700 million people worldwide contract mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, West Nile, Zika and dengue fever, resulting in more than 1 million deaths.

Many mosquito species have become resistant to commonly used pyrethroid-based insecticides, so an urgent search is on for alternatives.

This new class of mosquito repellents based on naturally occurring compounds is effective and poses less environmental risk, according to research presented Aug. 20 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, in Boston.

"Our new repellents are based on how nature already works," study leader Joel Coats said in a society news release.

"For example, citronella, a spatial repellent that comes from lemongrass, contains naturally occurring essential oils that have been used for centuries to repel mosquitoes. But citronella doesn't last long and blows away easily. Our new, next-generation spatial repellents are variations of natural products that are longer-lasting and have greater repellency," Coats explained.

Coats is a professor of entomology and toxicology at Iowa State University.

Of more than 300 compounds created by his team, a few appear to be most effective in repelling mosquitoes.

"We believe these 'next-gen' spatial repellents are new tools that could provide additional protection against mosquitoes in treated yards, parks, campgrounds, horse stables and livestock facilities. Our next step is to understand more precisely how the repellents biologically affect the mosquitoes," Coats said.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.