New Mosquito Repellant Could Be Frightening... For The Mosquitoes!

Vanderbilt University researchers say they're working to unleash an insect repellent on mosquitoes that’s more powerful than DEET. The discovery could one day be effective in reducing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria. It's based on a mosquito's sense of smell. With early support from the National Science Foundation, Vanderbilt University biologist Laurence Zwiebel researched which mosquito genes are linked to odor reception. Since then, he’s discovered a separate odor sensor on a mosquito's antennae. According to Zwiebel, mosquitoes use odor sensors to sniff out humans and other tasty animals to bite. The new insect repellent compound takes advantage of his discovery by overwhelming the mosquito’s odor sensors to the point that they can't smell anything else and get scared away. Researchers say the new compound appears to work with many species of insects, so it not only could help reduce the spread of malaria in developing countries, it could also help repel agricultural pests, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 2:34

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