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

Deletre E., Schatz B., Bourguet D., Chandre F., Williams L., Ratnadass A., Martin T.. 2016. Chemoecology, 26 (4) : p. 127-142.

DOI: 10.1007/s00049-016-0214-0

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.

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