An insect repellent (also commonly called "bug spray") is a substance applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces which discourages insects (and arthropods in general) from landing or climbing on that surface. Insect repellents help prevent and control the outbreak of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever, bubonic plague, and West Nile fever. Pest animals commonly serving as vectors for disease include insects such as flea, fly, and mosquito; and the arachnid tick.
Common insect repellents
Oil Jar in cow horn for mosquito-repelling pitch oil, a by-product of the distillation of wood tar. Carried in a leather strap on a belt. Ranea, Norrbotton, since 1921 in Nordiska museet, Stockholm.
Birch tree bark is traditionally made into tar. Combined with another oil (e.g., fish oil) at 1/2 dilution, it is then applied to the skin for repelling mosquitos
Essential oil of the lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) and its active compound p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD)
Icaridin, also known as picaridin, Bayrepel, and KBR 3023
Nepetalactone, also known as "catnip oil"
Bog Myrtle (Myrica Gale)
Tricyclodecenyl allyl ether, a compound often found in synthetic perfumes.
IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)
Ethylhexanediol, also known as Rutgers 612 or "6-12 repellent," discontinued in the US in 1991 due to evidence of causing developmental defects in animals
Dimethyl phthalate, not as common as it once was but still occasionally an active ingredient in commercial insect repellents
Indalone. Widely used in a "6-2-2" mixture (60% Dimethyl phthalate, 20% Indalone, 20% Ethylhexanediol) during the 1940s and 1950s before the commercial introduction of DEET.
Permethrin is different in that it is actually a contact insecticide.
A more recent repellent being currently researched is SS220, which has been shown to provide significantly better protection than DEET.
Another new and promising group of repellents are the anthranilate-based insect repellents.
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