10 Stories

This Herb May Rival DEET in Repelling Mosquitoes

Native Americans used to turn to this sweet-smelling herb

(Newser) - Native North Americans have long used the fragrant herb sweetgrass to ward off biting insects like mosquitoes, and new research shows how the traditional repellent works chemically. About to share their findings with the American Chemical Society, researchers at the US Department of Agriculture, the University of Guelph, and the... More »

Best Bug Sprays Don't Have DEET: Consumer Reports

Instead, look for picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil on label

(Newser) - Consumer Reports is sharing some happy news just in time for black fly season: For the first time since testing began, safer insect repellants are also the most effective. In a series of tests, the magazine found new products containing chemically synthesized compounds similar to or derived from natural... More »

Why Do Mosquitoes Really Like Some People?

Certain chemicals help them target us

(Newser) - At your next barbecue, your friend may be slapping mosquitoes left and right, while they just aren't that into you. Don't be insulted: It may have to do with the chemicals in your skin, Jill Richardson explains at Salon . There are 346 chemicals involved in the scent of... More »

DEET Doesn't Bug Mosquitoes on Second Taste

New study shows mosquitoes get used to repellent over time

(Newser) - The ubiquitous mosquito repellent DEET is indeed extremely effective—at first. A new study finds that the pesky insects are actually able to ignore the chemical over time, reports the BBC . Alarmed by concerns that mosquitoes were developing a resistance to it, British scientists presented some A. aegypti mosquitoes (the... More »

West Nile Death Toll Hits 66

People in hard-hit states urged to avoid mosquitoes

(Newser) - At least 66 people have now died in one of the worst West Nile virus outbreaks the US has ever seen. Infections shot up 40% this week, with a total of 1,590 now having fallen ill, USA Today reports. Health officials are warning Americans to do their best to... More »

Breakthrough Promises Vastly Better Bug Repellents

New compound 'thousands time more effective than DEET'

(Newser) - Life may soon get a lot tougher for mosquitos and other bugs that like to dine on human blood. Researchers have discovered a compound that completely jams an insect's sense of smell, making it much harder for mosquitos to find their prey, Discover reports. Early tests suggest that the... More »

Future Bug Repellent: Grapefruit?

All-natural chemical sends mosquitos, ticks fleeing

(Newser) - Repelled by bug repellent? The answer to your bug-blocking needs may be found in a grapefruit. A chemical called nootkatone found in citrus fruit and certain Alaskan trees works wonders against mosquitos, ticks, and probably bedbugs—and it’s likely safe enough to drink, NPR reports. “If you've... More »

Stress Keeps Mosquitoes Away

Scientists near bug spray derived from body chemicals

(Newser) - Mosquito magnets, take note: British scientists have identified which bodily chemical odors make some people less attractive to mosquitoes, and they may be ones related to stress, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s thought that the insects avoid anxious people in favor of healthier prey, a finding that could... More »

How to Keep Bugs, DEET Away

Keep the bugs from biting without the toxins

(Newser) - Looking to keep the mosquitos away but not crazy about slathering yourself in a chemical such as DEET? Grist slapped on five DEET-free alternatives, with varying results:
  1. All Terrain Herbal Armor: This spray might be eco-friendly, but a medicine smell and filmy skin coating make that $4.99 better spent
... More »

Scientists Building Better Bug Spray

Pepper compounds keep mosquitoes away 3 times longer than top dog DEET

(Newser) - Researchers have found bug repellents that keep mosquitoes from biting for up to 73 days, WebMD reports. Compounds found in pepper kept bugs away nearly three times as long as industry leader DEET, which manages just 17.5 days under the same conditions—though a normal human would sweat or... More »

10 Stories