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Mosquito Repellent / Repellant

Chemical Mosquito Repellents


The most common and most popular mosquito repellants on the market today contain the chemical N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (commonly known as DEET). DEET is the gold standard of insect repellents currently available. As well as being effective in repelling mosquitos, it will also provide protection from a variety of other biting insects, including biting flies, chiggers, fleas, and ticks. There has still not been another chemical found which provides protection from as wide of a variety of insects, as well as lasting for as long a duration. The higher the concentration of DEET that is applied, the longer the protection will usually last.

It is difficult to determine how much DEET you require in a product. For casual or recreational use, where you are outside, but not for long hours 5 days a week, a concentration of ten to thirty five percent is usually recommended. If you are applying the repellent on children the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you choose a product which contains no more than 10% DEET. If you are working in mosquito infested areas where bites are very common concentrations of up to 50 % may be required.

It is important to be careful when applying DEET containing mosquito repellents as the chemical can be quite harmful to a variety of materials, including plastics (such as watch crystals and eyeglasses frames), rayon, spandex, other synthetic fabrics, and leather. It does not damage most natural fibers.

Natural / Plant-Derived Mosquito Repellants


The most common active ingredient found in natural or alternative mosquito repellent products. It is available in lotions, sprays and even in candles. The spray's have been found to be effective in repelling mosquitos, but at much higher concentrations that DEET. Data comparing the two is very limited, but most studies seem to show that while citronella will provide some measure of protection from mosquitos, DEET will provide a higher level, with a lower concentration, for a longer period of time. If you are using a citronella based product it is important to reapply often as the effectiveness does not last for very long periods of time.

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