, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 127–142 | Cite as

Prospects for repellent in pest control: current developments and future challenges

  • Emilie Deletre
  • Bertrand Schatz
  • Denis Bourguet
  • Fabrice Chandre
  • Livy Williams
  • Alain Ratnadass
  • Thibaud Martin


The overall interest in environmentally safe pest control methods and the rise of insecticide resistance in pest populations have prompted medical and agricultural entomology research on insect repellents in recent years. However, conducting research on repellent is challenging for several reasons: (1) the different repellent phenomena are not well defined; (2) it is difficult to test for and quantify repellent; (3) the physiological mechanisms are poorly known; (4) the field efficacy appears to be highly variable. Here, we identified five different types of repellent: expellency, irritancy, deterrency, odor masking and visual masking, and described behavioral bioassays to differentiate between them. Although these categories are currently defined by their behavioral response to different stimuli, we suggest new definitions based on their mechanism of action. We put forward three main hypotheses on the physiological mechanism: (1) a dose effect that modifies the behavior, (2) a repellent mechanism with specific receptors, or (3) inhibition of the transduction of neural information.


Deterrent Antifeeding Odorant receptor Olfaction Gustation DEET Pest management Vector control 



The work was supported by CIRAD, IRD and MUTAVIE, Paris, France.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilie Deletre
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bertrand Schatz
    • 3
  • Denis Bourguet
    • 4
  • Fabrice Chandre
    • 5
  • Livy Williams
    • 6
  • Alain Ratnadass
    • 1
  • Thibaud Martin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.UR Hortsys, CIRAD, Campus de BaillarguetMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Department plant health, ICIPENairobiKenya
  3. 3.Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE) UMR 5175CNRS-University of Montpellier, University Paul Valéry-EPHEMontpellierFrance
  4. 4.UMR CBGP, INRA-CIRAD-IRD-Montpellier SupAgro, Campus de BaillarguetMontferrierFrance
  5. 5.UMR MIVEGEC, IRD-CNRS-UMMontpellier Cedex 5France
  6. 6.USDA-ARS, European Biological Control Laboratory, Campus de BaillarguetMontferrierFrance

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