Mode Of Action Of Deet Repellents

Insects like mosquitoes and other blood-feeding flies get attracted to hosts by their skin odors and carbon dioxide from their breath. How Deet repellent works and keeps these insects away is the main focus of this page. There is more recent confirmation to show that DEET serves as a true repellent to block the insect's sensors. Read on to know the mode of action of Deet repellent.

DEET is believed to work by jamming the insect olfactory receptors. There is a volatile substance, the 1-octen-3-ol, a volatile contained in human sweat and breath, which attract the insects. How Deet repellent acts is that it effectively "blinds" the insect's senses so that it is not prompted by humans or other animals which generate these chemicals. However, the action of Deet repellent does not appear to include any affect on the insect's ability to smell carbon dioxide.

Let us look into the working of Deet repellent closely. When any insect gets close to a host, DEET repellents block the insect's sensors, thus confusing the insect. There is a type of olfactory receptor neuron in special antennal sensilla of insect that gets activated by DEET. Therefore, it is unable to locate and bite the host successfully. As the Deet repellents are effectual only at small distances from the treated surface, so the user may still see insects and mosquitoes hovering nearby. So, as long as a person is not getting bitten, there is no reason to apply more DEET.

Moreover, in a behavioral testing of the mode of action of Deet repellent, it has been found to have a strong repellent activity in the absence of body odor attractants such as 1-octen-3-ol, lactic acid, or carbon dioxide. When a DEET repellent is applied to the skin, it evaporates and the vapors of the chemical slow down the binding of the lactic acid to the insects chemical receptors. This basically "hides" the treated person from the insects. We are sure you found the above article on how Deet repellent works informational and useful.