The repellent and irritant effects of three essential oils—clove, hairy basil, and sweet basil—were compared using an excito-repellency test system against an insecticide-resistant strain of Aedes aegypti (L.) females from Pu Teuy, Kanchanaburi Province. DEET was used as the comparison standard compound. Tests were conducted under field and controlled laboratory conditions. The most marked repellent effect (spatial noncontact assay) among the three test essential oils was exhibited by sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum L. (53.8% escaped mosquitoes in 30-min exposure period) under laboratory conditions while hairy basil, Ocimum americanum L. and clove, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merill et. L.M. Perry from laboratory tests and sweet basil from field tests were the least effective as repellents (0–14%). In contrast, the contact assays measuring combined irritancy (excitation) and repellency effects found the best contact irritant response to hairy basil and DEET in field tests, whereas all others in laboratory and field were relatively ineffective in stimulating mosquitoes to move out the test chambers (0–5.5%). All three essential oils demonstrated significant differences in behavioral responses between field and laboratory conditions, whereas there was no significant difference in contact and noncontact assays for DEET between the two test conditions (P>0.05).
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