Biologists reveal why mosquito repellent DEET is doomed to fail

Everyone's favorite mosquito repellent, DEET, works by making a smell that mosquitoes can't stand, or by blocking their ability to smell humans, depending on who you ask. But even the greatest repellents won't stop all mosquitoes. New evidence suggests why.

It turns out that the Anopheles gambiae have a second family of olfactory sensors, previously unknown, which sniff out and activate due to completely different smells than the ones we already knew about. This could help explain why it's so hard to develop efficient repellents, and maybe help stop the spread of diseases from the insects.


Research published in the Public Library of Science, Biology

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