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RE: Mosquitoes and standing water

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Mosquitoes and standing water
  • From: Keith Addison <keith@journeytoforever.org>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 09:25:35 +0900

Sally-Anne's right, it's the mint itself, not just the "any-oil" 
effect. The following is from New Scientist. I think Mr Curtis (see 
end) might be missing the point. If it needs tons of leaves then help 
create a nice little local ag-industry growing tons of leaves. And/or 
help set up a local distillery to extract the essential oils. There's 
been success with such essential oil projects in Ghana and elsewhere, 
with multiple spin-off benefits.


Keith Addison
Journey to Forever
Handmade Projects

Mean and minty

PEPPERMINT OIL could be a new, cheap weapon in the fight against 
mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, filariasis, dengue fever and 
West Nile virus. Researchers in India have found that the oil not 
only repels adult mosquitoes but also kills the larvae.

A team led by Musharrah Ansari of the Malaria Research Centre and 
Padma Vasudevan of the Centre for Rural Development and Technology in 
Delhi extracted the oil from locally grown peppermint (Mentha 
piperita). The researchers tested the oil on the larvae of three 
mosquito species--Aedes aegypti (which carries dengue fever), 
Anopheles stephensi (malaria) and Culex quinquefasciatus (filariasis 
and West Nile virus).

They spread films of peppermint oil on the water in the trays housing 
the larvae. When the concentration of oil was 3 millilitres per 
square metre of water, all the C. quinquefasciatus larvae died within 
a day, along with 90 per cent of A. aegypti and 85 per cent of A. 
stephensi. Higher concentrations should kill all the larvae.

Volunteers doused in peppermint oil spent several nights outside as 
bait for mosquitoes. The protection offered varied slightly between 
the different mosquito species, but averaged around 85 per cent. It 
was particularly effective against Anopheles culicifacies, which is 
responsible for around three- quarters of malaria transmissions in 
the northern plains of India. This follows the discovery that 
compounds isolated from another member of the mint family, catnip, 
repel cockroaches (New Scientist, 28 August, p 22).

Christopher Curtis, a medical entomologist at the London School of 
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, welcomes the news. However, he 
cautions that the Indian team is using far more oil than would be 
needed to do the same job with a commercial insecticide: "You would 
need tonnes of leaves to treat all the breeding sites around a 
village," he says.

Source: Bioresource Technology (vol 71, p 267)

Michelle Knott

 From New Scientist, 20 November 1999

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Sadler, Sally-Anne [mailto:Sally-Anne.Sadler@METROKC.GOV]
>Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 3:43 PM
>To: 'community_garden@mallorn.com'
>Subject: [cg] Mosquitoes and standing water
>Hi all,
>last year i heard on PRI's The World a report about using mint oil 
>to prevent larvae from either being produced or hatching on standing 
>water.  The research came from a University in Brazil.  Has anyone 
>heard more about that?  I am doing a rain barrel, water harvesting 
>talk and power point presentation and was wondering if anyone knew 
>anything along those lines.

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