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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Cinnamon Beats DEET Against Mosquitoes

By July 17, 2004

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A study published in the July 14th issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that the compounds in cinnamon oil are more potent in killing mosquitoes than DEET (usually used as a repellent, but also poisonous). The researchers tested eleven compounds found in cinnamon leaf oil for their capacity to kill the larvae of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries yellow fever. Four of the compounds had LC50 values (concentration required to kill 50% of the larvae within 24 hours) of less than 50 parts per million (ppm). Is is expected that the cinnamon oil will prove similarly lethal against larvae of other types of mosquitoes, providing a safe, natural, pleasant-smelling alternative to other pesticides. Read the American Chemical Society press release to learn more.
DEET Chemistry | Natural Mosquito Repellents


July 31, 2008 at 12:14 pm
(1) Susan says:

This summary is inaccurate and confused. The study did not suggest that DEET is used as a poison against larvae (the writer might be confusing DEET with DDT, a completely different substance that has been used for poisoning mosquito larvae). The authors examined how extracts from cinnamon killed mosquito larvae. They did not compare the cinnamon chemicals with DEET in their assays. The insecticides tested will not provide a “pleasant smelling” alternative to DEET because they are used in a totally different context!

August 4, 2008 at 3:38 am
(2) Jill Rickerson says:

Thank you Susan!! Though I have not done any research on this subject, I was wondering what “killing mosquito larvae” had to do with mosquito “repellent”.

August 27, 2008 at 12:16 am
(3) Kay says:

While this may claim to help keep the mosquitos away…my son would be in hospital. He’s allergic to cinnamon. “Natural” isn’t always better.

August 31, 2008 at 5:08 pm
(4) tony says:

This article says absolutely nothing about mosquito repelling, it just tells how to kill mosquito larvae. Why try to mislead the public??

November 5, 2008 at 2:25 pm
(5) jay says:

you suck

March 17, 2009 at 10:13 am
(6) Rei says:

Actually Susan is wrong…and although the article might be misleading, it’s probably correct. The article CLAIMS that DEET was used to try to kill larvae, when it’s usually used as a repellent. In this context, cinnamon oil was more effective…but then again it was compared against a product NOT intended to control larvae. Therefore the article is NOT wrong…although the basis for the research is skewed. Kind of like comparing green tea and kool-aid in making the best kind of tea.

IF they actually wanted this ‘study’ to be valid they would have compared cinnamon oil against the usual chemicals used in controlling mosquito larvae population.

June 1, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(7) abe says:

u rock no matter what they say. u have made me become interested in learning again thanks

June 29, 2009 at 10:22 pm
(8) KM says:

The article has since been corrected to indicate that DEET is more typically a repellant, not a larvicide. See link:

November 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(9) Catherine S says:

I am very much interested in knowing whether cinnamon leaf oil is effective in repelling mosquitos. I am looking in particular for an effective repellent that will not antidote homeopathic remedys.

July 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm
(10) JJ says:

1…always double check your information when you find it on the net,
2 be grateful when you get information that is good
this is a great artical..man you guys are negative.

January 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm
(11) christamus chile says:

They are developing a Natural repellant in Ecuador RIGHT NOW ………..


April 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm
(12) cc says:

great smelling repellant

1/3 ounce distilled water
2/3 ounce vodka/alcohol
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 drop peppermint essential oil
1 drop tea tree essential oil
2 drops lemongrass essential oil

mix the oils
add all together
shake and spray on skin
works, smells really nice

June 22, 2012 at 1:42 am
(13) Janet says:

Who cares about the technicalities of what the article said and how it’s wrong to compare DEET to cinnamon as a larvaecide! Why does everyone say dumb sh&* just to debunk hope for the masses when it comes to mosquitoes?! Yay Susan and cinnamon!! Isn’t anything worth a shot?

February 25, 2013 at 5:10 am
(14) Jimmy Beans says:

Well it’s like this, in terms of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, we are not affected by mosquitoes.

It’s the non christians that get bitten.

June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm
(15) brian says:

what does transgender gay lesbian bisexual or spirituality got to do with mosquitos? they cant read the bible and rumors say they may be able to change their gender, no such thing as a lesbian mosquito i have heard of. and are you suggesting that all christians are gay, lesbian, bi or trans?

June 14, 2013 at 10:37 am
(16) Jack says:

OMG!! REALLY! I would just like to know it cinnamon DOES repell the lil critters!? I like cinnamon and would rather smell that then citrus! can someone help me out with a straight up answer? Thanks!

July 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm
(17) Robert says:

Jack: …yes, it does. [see article on this site about Natural Mosquito Repellent formulas].

July 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm
(18) Raśl says:

Many thanks for the information. I would like to add that I began to take cinnamon caps for blood sugar distribution in my body and this year the mosquito visitors and blood suckers are less of a problem. The curious thing, the few hat bit did not leave a terrible, inching bite.

July 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm
(19) tuffy says:

Cinnamon works as a repellant.
That’s also a good recipe posted up there
Just add catnip and mellisaa oil and the squiters will run like help. That’s a fact.
Know by me beer.

July 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm
(20) lindaanne says:

So neat citronella is probably more harmful than being bitten?
Will try the receipe & make my own – guess neat Alcohol kills most things?

August 3, 2013 at 4:50 am
(21) Earline says:

I am desperate. I need a home remedy for killing fleas on my little dog weighing 10 pounds. He is scratching all the time. I have tried washing him in flea and tick shampoo and Dawn dishwashing liquid. Nothing seems to help. I am a senior citizen on social security so I need a home remedy. Thanks for you help anyone.

September 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm
(22) babs says:

I’ve heard orange oil works on fleas….you can use oranges rub all over your dog.

September 20, 2013 at 2:56 am
(23) Robert says:


Wash with vinegar and then rinse off after a few minutes. Works a treat.

September 22, 2013 at 7:14 pm
(24) Chris says:

FOR EARLINE—dawn dish detergent will work to kill the critters almost on contact, so you can get then off the dog. The REAL problem is keeping them away, and that’s only possible if you treat the environment, i e bedding, carpet, lawn, wherever you little one goes. If you have carpet, sprinkle it with borax, leave a few hours or over night and then vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. DE (diatomaceous earth will also work) I have also had good success with white distilled vinegar and cedar oil. Mix the vinegar half and half with water and put in a spray bottle. Use daily, more often initially. If you have or can get cedar oil (cinnamon, neem, lavender, citrus, anything minty will also work), add a few drops. for outside I used neem oil and cedar oil in a hose end sprayer. I now also have a fogger which I can use inside and outside. Bottom line: If you only treat your dog you will never get rid of them, because there’s always tons more to jump on the poor creature. Oh, and wash the bedding in HOT water. The eggs the fleas lay will fall off the dog and when they’re ready to hatch, well, then there;s the dog and us to jump on and feed. Flea eggs can survive a year or longer if there’s no ‘food’ for them, As soon as they sense some, they will hatch even after that long and bingo. There starts the cycle. only diligence will prevail. Trust me, I know. Been there…

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