A popular Indian clove-based mosquito repellent is less effective against Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti than DEET.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224810
Insect repellents are widely used as the first line of defense against mosquito bites and transmission of disease-causing agents. However, the cost of daily applications of even the most affordable and the gold standard of insect repellents, DEET, is still high for low-income populations where repellents are needed the most. An Indian clove-based homemade recipe has been presented as a panacea. We analyzed this homemade repellent and confirmed by behavioral measurements and odorant receptor responses that eugenol is the active ingredient in this formulation. Prepared as advertised, this homemade repellent is ineffective, whereas 5x more concentrated extracts from the brand most enriched in eugenol showed moderate repellency activity against Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti. DEET showed higher performance when compared to the 5x concentrated formulation and is available in the same market at a lower price than the cost of the ingredients to prepare the homemade formulation.