Skip to main content

DEET: It’s Not as Effective As you Think!

2 min read

By Emily Lockhart

If you tend to attract mosquitoes, DEET, one of the most widely used ingredients in insect repellent, might be your answer. But before you spray those chemicals all over your body, consider a recent study that shows DEET loses its effectiveness against mosquitoes once they get used to the smell.

DEET, a chemical called N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, was created by the U.S. military in 1946 as an oil that emits an unpleasant smell for insects and repels them during their initial encounter with the substance. However, scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that mosquitoes were able to become resistant to the smell after being exposed to it numerous times.

During the lab study, researchers lured mosquitoes with an arm covered in DEET.  At first the mosquitoes were repelled by the substance, but after a few hours, when exposed again, the bugs were not repelled.

After placing electrodes on the insect’s antennae, scientists discovered that after numerous exposures, the mosquitoes more desensitized to the chemical.

“There is something about being exposed to the chemical the first time that changes their olfactory system…it changes their sense of smell…and their ability to smell DEET, making it less effective,” says Dr. James Logan, researcher from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “The more we can understand about how repellents work and how mosquitoes detect them; the better we can [find out] when they do become resistant to repellents.”

Source: Fox News

Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

Health Studies in the News


The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014
By Emily Lockhart Health Studies in the News

The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014

Three-dimensional body parts and bionic eyes might sound like something out of a futuristic comic book. However, the following nine health breakthroughs are among the most incredible medical advances to watch out for in 2014! 1. Cancer Immunotherapy Cancer is getting a serious kick in the britches this year starting with a treatment called cancer […]

Read More about The Top Medical Breakthroughs To Watch Out For In 2014

3 min read

The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013
By Emily Lockhart Diet and Nutrition News & Advice

The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013

Looking back on 2013, I can’t honestly say if we are any healthier this year than we were in past years. But I do believe (for the most part) the web and social media are putting more and better quality health, fitness, and nutrition information at the fingertips of readers than every before, and […]

Read More about The 10 Leading Health Stories of 2013

5 min read