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Mosquito repellent Picaridin is often better than DEET – Aug 2016


How long it repels8-10 hour
(>30% concentration)
8 hours (some say 2 hr)
(20% concentration)
Cosmetic aspects Oily, strong smell clean
Repels albo Yes not as well
Encourages mosquito to bite
many others, spreading Zika


AMC Outdoors
(go to original for hyperlinks)
For more than 50 years, DEET has reigned as the undisputed champion of insect repellents. No longer. There’s now a potentially better alternative on the market: picaridin. Both DEET and picaridin are proven to be effective at fending off mosquitoes—and are superior to other repellents when it comes to protection time. But which one is really the best? Who will win this face-off of the buzzer beaters?

DEET: Hard to Beat
Developed by the U.S. Army in 1946, DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is a synthetic chemical that provides one to six-plus hours of complete protection against mosquitoes, depending on its concentration. DEET has been used billions of times by hundreds of millions of people (including an estimated 30 percent of the U.S. population each year). When properly applied, it has virtually no proven adverse health effects, though in rare cases a contact skin rash can result from exposure. The EPA has completed several comprehensive assessments of DEET over the years (most recently in 1998) and concludes that repellents containing DEET do not present a health concern as long as consumers follow label directions.

But DEET has some notable drawbacks.
It imparts a greasy feel to the skin upon application.

  • It emits a distinctive—and to many, unpleasant—odor.
  • It has the ability to dissolve certain plastics and some synthetic materials, including rayon, spandex, and vinyl.
    This is a particular hazard for sunglasses and plastic eyeglass lenses. (It has no effect on nylon, wool, or cotton.)

Picaridin: The New Champion?
Created by Bayer in the 1980s, picaridin (pronounced pih-CARE-a-den) is a synthetic compound developed from a plant extract from the genus Piper, the same plant genus that produces table pepper. Picaridin has been available since 1998 in Europe and Australia—where it is the best-selling insect repellent—but was approved for sale in the United States only in 2005. (You may see it listed as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, or icaridin.) As with DEET, the EPA has concluded that the normal use of picaridin does not present a health concern.

Studies have shown picaridin to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Unlike DEET, however, picaridin is odorless, non-greasy, and does not dissolve plastics or other synthetics. The one possible concern with picaridin is its relative newness. Insufficient time has passed for long-term health risks (should they exist) to manifest themselves. A limited, but growing, number of repellents contain picaridin, including Cutter Advanced, Sawyer Premium, and Repel Smart Spray.

How Concentration Affects Protection Time
The percentage of DEET or picaridin in a repellent determines its protection time, with higher concentrations offering longer protection. DEET is available in concentrations from 4 percent to 100 percent; picaridin levels range from 7 to 20 percent.

A landmark 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared the efficacy of DEET at different concentrations and found that the duration of complete mosquito protection ranged from one to two hours for concentrations between 5 and 10 percent, four to five hours at around 20 percent, and only marginally longer up to 50 percent, with no improvement at higher levels. “Slow-release” formulas can extend protection time to eight hours or more. When it comes to picaridin, recent studies have indicated that a concentration of 7 percent is equivalent to about 10 percent DEET (one to two hours of protection), and a 20 percent concentration offers the same protection (four to five hours) as an equivalent DEET concentration.

Protection Against Other Biting Insects
Few studies have evaluated the relative efficacy of DEET and picaridin in fending off ticks, black flies, sand flies, no-see-ums, midges, and other biting insects. Available evidence indicates that picaridin and DEET are both effective at repelling black flies, while DEET is more effective at preventing tick bites. Conversely, picaridin seems to be better at repelling other biting insects, notably no-see-ums. The insect composition of your travel destination—and perhaps some personal field tests—will determine which repellent works best for your needs.

Find a variety of insect repellents—including DEET, picaridin, and natural/herbal formulas—in the AMC Store.

Recreational Equipment Expert Advise on Mosquito Repellents


  • “DEET and picaridin can last 4 to 10+ hours”
  • “Tip: Applying insect repellent under clothing is ineffective; don’t waste your time”

Is DEET Past its Prime? – 2009

 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

Notes by Costa Rica guides

DEET Alternatives clips

  • Picaridin lasts a much shorter time than a similar concentration of DEET. You need to reapply every 30-90 minutes. Subsequent applications seemed to last a bit longer (maybe an hour or two) so you might wait till the little buggers start hovering again.
  • It seems to take more Picaridin than DEET to get the same area of skin covered. Perhaps this is because it’s not oily like DEET and doesn’t spread as well. In any case I’d recommend applying a little more generously at first and backing off as you get used to using it. As mentioned above the wipes were much easier for applying to kids.
  • Wash your hands before eating. Picaridin doesn’t have much odor. I’ve always relied on the distinctive stench of DEET to remind me not to get my hands near my mouth or eyes.
  • Water resistance whether from wading across streams or heavy sweat seemed reasonable.

Field Evaluation of Picaridin Repellents - 2014

More to be added here

Zika mosquitoes bite in early evening (as well as morning)
 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

Consumer Reports - 2016

 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

DEET use might spread Zika - 2016

The enigmatic reception of DEET – the gold standard of insect - 2014

 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

Mosquitoes leaving test chamber where they touched a repellent - 2014

Behavioral responses of Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Anopheles minimus against various synthetic and natural repellent compounds

Hardly any leave if touch Picaridin(repellant spayed on skin),
but most leave if touch Permethrin (killer spayed on clothes)

 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

DEET, Permethrin and Pregnancy - 2016

 Download the PDF from Vitamin D Life

Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
7062 Insect_Repellants_During_Pregnancy_in_the_Era_of.98642.pdf PDF 2016 admin 11 Sep, 2016 15:36 98.71 Kb 467
6978 AA want to leave.jpg admin 16 Aug, 2016 20:53 40.29 Kb 976
6977 Sathantriphop_et_al-2014-Journal_of_Vector_Ecology.pdf admin 16 Aug, 2016 20:48 1.27 Mb 344
6976 DEET gold standard.pdf PDF admin 16 Aug, 2016 18:06 169.67 Kb 394
6975 CR repel.jpg admin 16 Aug, 2016 18:00 62.15 Kb 1647
6974 CR Insect repellent Ratings April 2016.pdf PDF 2016 admin 16 Aug, 2016 17:01 724.00 Kb 374
6973 Bite rate.jpg admin 16 Aug, 2016 17:00 26.70 Kb 1122
6972 Field Evaluation of Picaridin Repellents.pdf admin 16 Aug, 2016 17:00 320.97 Kb 370
6971 Is DEET Past its Prime.pdf admin 16 Aug, 2016 17:00 888.74 Kb 679
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