The kissing bug, Triatoma rubida (Uhler) is a common hematophagous bug in Tucson, AZ, and is responsible for causing severe allergic reactions in some bitten individuals. DEET, picaridin, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and citronella oil were tested for repellency to T. rubida and its ability to probe and feed on a small restrained rat. No long range repellency was observed with any of the test materials. The lowest repellent concentrations observed were: 10% DEET, 7% picaridin; 30% tea tree oil, 3.3% peppermint oil, and 0.165% citronella oil. Only citronella oil was able to stop all probing and feeding by T. rubida. Citronella oil appears to be a promising potential repellent to prevent sleeping people from being bitten by kissing bugs.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3