There is no reason to fear or worry that a swarm of killer mosquitoes is on its way to the U.S. to eat us all alive., but it is true that some mosquitoes and flies are insensitive to DEET. Research done by Dr. James Logan from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found a response in mosquitoes that occurred from short-term changes instead of genetic ones. The study shows that some mosquitoes and flies carry a genetic alteration in their aroma receptors causing them to be insensitive to smell, which includes DEET.
The same group of researchers in a different study found that when they bred the females with the altered aroma receptors with males of unknown sensitivity, the proportion of DEET oblivious mosquitoes rose from 13-50% in one generation. However, Dr. Logan assured that the risk of a race of superbugs is not that great because there is still enough regular mosquitoes to crossbreed with the ones that cannot sense DEET. He continued by adding that one would have to have every single person in the world using DEET all the time for resistant bugs to spread.
DEET is approved by the EPA, but it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes or blistering to the skin. It has been linked to neurological problems, according to the EPA. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats. There are negative impacts on wildlife and water sources in production and during use (1,2).
Essential oils and herbs are showing to be extremely effective as bug repellents.
Using Lavender, lemon-grass, patchouli or basil, put 10-15 drops of one of the oils in 1 oz. (30ml) of water in a small misting spray bottle. Shake well, and mist over exposed skin and clothing.
Four Thieves Vinegar Bug Spray
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Fill a mason jar with apple cider vinegar and all the herbs. Close the jar and let sit in a sunny window for 2-4 weeks. Shake it 2-3 times per day. Strain out the herbs and pour into a spray bottle.
1.Cornell - DEET Mosquito Repellent: New pharmacology study of impacts
- The Downside of DEET Insect Repellents: Health and Environmental Risks Associated with the Use of DEET
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