Shedding Light in the Darkness

Repelling Mosquitoes with Essential Oils


Researchers tested 23 essential oils for their mosquito-repelling properties, specifically against Aedes Aegypti. Three essential oils outperformed the rest: litsea, geranium and rosewood oils. The results are published in the September 2016 issue of Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases.

Litsea oil ranked highest demonstrating outstanding repellency at all three concentrations tested (1, 10 and 100 ppm), comparing favorably to DEET and DEPA (N,N-diethyl phenylacetamide). Litsea oil comes from the fruit of the Litsea cubeba tree, an evergreen native to Japan, southern China and southeast Asia.

Ranking second, rosewood oil is extracted from Aniba rosaeodora, an evergreen tree indigenous to Peru and Brazil. Also called “bois-de-rose,” it belongs to the Laurel plant family along with camphor, bay, cinnamon and cassia. Rosewood’s scent is very pleasant with health benefits reported for pain relief, wound healing, stress reduction and asthma.

Based on the repellency of essential oils against Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, the order of effective percentage repellency can be arranged as follows, litsea > rosewood > geranium > lemongrass > lemon scented > camphor > citronella.

Citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon and lemongrass essential oils are also some of the most frequently patented oils for repelling mosquitoes, according to a 2011 Brazilian review.

Uniyal A et al. “Behavioral Response of Aedes aegypti Mosquito towards Essential Oils Using Olfactometer” J Athropod Borne Dis. 2016;10(3):370-380

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