The researchers applied DEET to skin before exposure to Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that spreads yellow fever and dengue. DEET repelled the mosquitoes, as expected. However, the next time the researchers applied DEET and offered their skin to the mosquitoes, some of the mosquitoes came in for their meal. By attaching electrodes to mosquito antennae, Dr. James Logan and his team discovered the chemoreceptors had become less sensitive to DEET, so the mosquitoes did not 'smell' it as much. The results may not extend to all species of mosquitoes and DEET is still recommended for use in areas with a high density of disease-bearing mosquitoes, but it appears the insects are evolving to work around the leading repellent. The results of the study are published in the journal Plos One.
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