Diethyl methyl benzamide or deet, a commercial plant-based repellent (Repel Care®), and essential oils from 3 species of plants (finger root rhizomes, guava leaves, and turmeric rhizomes), steam distillated and formulated as insect repellents, were evaluated in the field on human volunteers against hematophagous mosquitoes, black flies, and land leeches in Thailand. Field trials were conducted against wild mosquitoes in Bang Bua Thong District, Nonthaburi Province, and in the Thap Lan National Park Headquarters, Nadee District, Prachinburi Province; anthropophilic black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) at the Forestry Fire Control Station in Doi Inthanon National Park, Chomthong District, Chiang Mai Province; and land leeches (Arhynchobdellida: Haemadipsidae) in the Khao Yai National Park, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province. The 3 experimental plant-based essential oil formulations as well as Repel Care and deet provided complete protection from mosquito landing and biting for up to 9 h (duration of the experiment). Similar results were obtained with the 5 products against black flies, providing 100% protection for 9 h but 96–82% protection after 10 and 11 h posttreatment. The 5 repellent products also provided 100% protection against land leeches for at least 8 h. This is the 1st report of repellency of plant-based repellents against black flies and land leeches in Thailand. The identification and availability of inexpensive sources of plant-based oils, i.e., finger root rhizomes, guava leaves, and turmeric rhizomes providing long-lasting repellency against blood-sucking organisms are promising leads into commercial production of relatively safe and effective repellents.
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Vol. 22 • No. 2