We have developed a novel test cage and improved method for the evaluation of mosquito repellents. The method is compatible with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 draft OPPTS 810.3700 Product Performance Test Guidelines for Testing of Insect Repellents. The Biogents cages (BG-cages) require fewer test mosquitoes than conventional cages and are more comfortable for the human volunteers. The novel cage allows a section of treated forearm from a volunteer to be exposed to mosquito probing through a window. This design minimizes residual contamination of cage surfaces with repellent. In addition, an air ventilation system supplies conditioned air to the cages after each single test, to flush out and prevent any accumulation of test substances. During biting activity tests, the untreated skin surface does not receive bites because of a screen placed 150 mm above the skin. Compared with the OPPTS 810.3700 method, the BG-cage is smaller (27 liters, compared with 56 liters) and contains 30 rather than hundreds of blood-hungry female mosquitoes. We compared the performance of a proprietary repellent formulation containing 20% KBR3023 with four volunteers on Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) in BG-and conventional cages. Repellent protection time was shorter in tests conducted with conventional cages. The average 95% protection time was 4.5 ± 0.4 h in conventional cages and 7.5 ± 0.6 h in the novel BG-cages. The protection times measured in BG-cages were more similar to the protection times determined with these repellents in field tests.
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Vol. 47 • No. 6