Molecule of the Week

N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET)

September 22, 2008

This summer, you may well have used DEET-containing products to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropod pests. The synthesis of DEET was first reported in Romanian and German journals in 1929. The U.S. Army formulated it as a repellent after World War II, and it was commercialized in 1957. Its odor is unpleasant to pests and counteracts body odors that attract them.