Say Goodbye to Bites

Summer is the season for mosquitoes. Mosquito repellents are one way of keeping the pests away from your skin, and cyclodextrins from WACKER make these products effective for much longer.

With single-minded determination, the mosquito buzzes its way to its next meal of blood. Drawn magically to human perspiration and breath. “Insect antennae are extremely sensitive to lactic acid and carbon dioxide molecules, which is how they find the surface of our skin to bite us and suck our blood,” explains Dr. Ingo Jeschke, a chemist who heads up application technology for the pharmaceutical/agricultural business line at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS. Whereas in temperate zones, mosquito bites are either just a nuisance or they cause an unpleasant itch, in regions near the equator, the pests represent a real threat, often transmitting life-threatening pathogens such as the Zika, dengue fever or yellow fever viruses, or the parasites that cause malaria. In order to keep the insects from coming near the skin in the first place, people who live in endemic regions rely on repellents. “The term encompasses any fragrant substances that are extremely unpleasant to mosquitoes,” says Jeschke. “If the creatures detect it through their sense of smell, it puts them off and will hopefully keep them from biting anymore.”

“There are 3,500 different species of mosquitoes around the globe.”

Sprays, Emulsions and Gels

The yellow-fever mosquito, originally native to Africa, has now spread to every tropical and subtropical region of the world and transmits a number of dangerous viral diseases.

Available as sprays, emulsions and gels, anti-mosquito preparations range from natural repellents such as essential oils and plant extracts – camphor and geraniol are two examples of these – to a variety of synthetic products such as highly effective diethyltoluamide (DEET). All of these active substances have one thing in common: in order to drive off insects, they have to be volatile and they have to evaporate off the skin. The odor molecules then accumulate in the surrounding air to form an invisible envelope that protects the wearer from mosquitoes.