Mosquito Repellents: How They Work and Keep You Safe

Mosquitoes cause many diseases like malaria and dengue virus. They are basically carriers of these diseases. After biting an infected person, the mosquito becomes a carrier and when it bites another healthy person, he gets infected.

One way to protect yourself from these diseases is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. For that, liquid or solid repellents and, body sprays and oils are in great use today.

To keep mosquitoes away you just need to burn a coil or switch on an electric liquid repellent.  

Applying a coat of different commercial oils and sprays to your body can also help avoid mosquito bites.

How Mosquito repellents work

Simple explanation for working of mosquito repellents

By interfering with the insects' ability to locate hosts or by rendering them confused, unconscious, paralyzed, or even causing death, these repellents effectively protect humans from mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.

Read: From the Sun to Earth: The Incredible Journey of Helium's Discovery

History of mosquito repellents

Mosquito repellents have not only been in use since the last century, but they have been used as far back as 484 BC-ca 425 BC which was found in the notes of Herodotus. He noted the use of plant oils by Egyptian fishermen to repel mosquitoes.

In addition, oils form neem, citronella, lemon-grass, cedar, peppermint and eucalyptus were also used to apply on the body to keep mosquitoes away. These oils are also known as essential oils.

These oils are composed of a range of chemicals which include α-pinene, eugenol, limonene, citronellol, thymol and camphor etc.

How these oils work?

Mosquitos have antenna which contains hairs. These hairs are used by mosquito to find a host by detecting persons carbon dioxide and movement of air. These are moisture and temperature sensitive.

These oils actually block these tiny hairs which in turn interfere with the senses of mosquito and in-turn mosquito become confused to find the host.

N, N-diethyl-3- methylbenzamide (DEET) which is found in many body sprays, lotion, liquids and roll on actullay work in the similar manner by blocking their senses to find a host or simply blocking their smells.

How mosquito repellents coils and liquids work

How mosquitos’ liquid repellents and coils work?

Coils and liquid repellent are composed of chemicals i.e. pyrethroids such as transallethrin and transfluthrin.

These chemical targets the nervous system of the mosquitos. More precisely they affect sodium and chloride channels in the nervous system which play crucial roles in transmitting signals between nerve cells. This disruption leads to hyperexcitation of nerve cells, causing paralysis and eventual death of the mosquitoes.

Read: Beyond the Sting: Animal Venom's Journey to Therapeutics



I hold a doctorate in chemistry and have expertise in the intersection of organic and medicinal chemistry. My work primarily revolves around developing bioactive molecules with medicinal potential.

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form