Several insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, lice, and mites are known to serve as vectors for a vast number of pathogens. Many such vectors are hematophagous, and therefore introduce pathogens directly into the host’s bloodstream. Importantly, the capacity of these vectors to spread disease can lead to serious global health crises. Furthermore, crop damage can be exacerbated by pathogen infection and increased insect foraging due to recent global warming.
Our study categorized insect-associated damage into three groups: animal infection, plant infection, and direct crop damage due to insect foraging. To manage these problems, insect repellents and pesticides have been developed, among which DEET is the most broadly used and studied pest control agent. This review discusses the mode of action and possible mechanisms of DEET action, including olfactory and gustatory mechanisms and central nervous system impairment.
To protect humans from malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, zika, and filariasis, as well as to reduce economic losses associated with crop damage, considerably more efforts are needed to characterize the interactions between insects and insect repellents/pesticides to develop more potent pest control agents.