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How to bug bugs

Insights on insect repellents may help reduce spread of disease

2:21pm, August 25, 2010

Bug dope is loathsome to insects in all sorts of ways, new research finds.

Insects are known to intensely dislike the smell of the common repellent DEET, but they also hate the taste of it, a study appearing online August 25 in Neuron shows. And the lemony-fresh molecule citronellal stinks in two very different ways, a study appearing the same day in Current Biology finds.

A thorough understanding of exactly what makes these repellents nasty could lead to a new generation of bug dopes in the future, which would more effectively reduce the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

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