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[pct-l] A replacement for DEET?
- Subject: [pct-l] A replacement for DEET?
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Lee (RAT))
- Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 15:28:37 -0700
Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET
CHICAGO, August 27 - Researchers report that nepetalactone, the
oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten
times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET - the compound
in most commercial insect repellents.
I'm no scientist, but I'm somewhat skeptical about this report. As I
recall, DEET (probably) works by confusing the mosquito's sensory
apparatus, making it difficult for them to locate you. It doesn't
necessarily "repel" them in the sense of making them flee, or at least
that's not entirely how it works.
Mosquitoes may indeed think that nepetalactone stinks, and they may try
to actively avoid it more than they do DEET. But the real question is
whether the stuff will still work when the mosquito is motivated by an
odorous, sweaty, panting hiker in the immediate vicinity.
This recent study
Id=A22061-2002Jul3) showed that DEET is far more effective than any
other repellent available today, and they actually employed a useful
test: they had volunteers stick their hands into a box containing hungry
mosquitoes and timed how long it took for them to get bit. I don't
think I'll be rushing out to buy any catnip oil until it passes the same
sort of test.