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Pest Manag Sci. 2014 Feb;70(2):264-70. doi: 10.1002/ps.3554. Epub 2013 Jun 25.

An improved bioassay facilitates the screening of repellents against cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae).

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Department of Entomology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan.



Repellents are a common method for preventing flea bites, making an effective system for flea repellent screening advantageous. We describe an improved technique to facilitate repellent activity screening of numerous plant-based Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) repellents.


Two long strips of filter paper were impregnated with test compounds (dissolved in ethanol) and ethanol only, respectively. After drying, the two filter papers were glued together along the long side and inserted into a glass tube containing non-fed cat fleas. The distribution of cat fleas in each half of the filter paper was recorded after 30 min to calculate repellency. Results showed that the essential oil of Cinnamomum osmophloeum (from leaf), Taiwania cryptomerioides (from heartwood) and Plectranthus amboinicus (from leaf) exhibits repellent activity against cat fleas in a dose dependent manner. Moreover, the repellent activities against cat fleas of 2% trans-cinnamaldehyde (the main constituent of Ci. osmophloeum essential oil) and 0.5% thymol (the main constituent of P. amboinicus essential oil) are 97.6% and 90.6%, and can persist for up to 4 and 8 h, respectively. These results are comparable to those of 15% DEET.


The proposed screening technique can facilitate the pre-screening of numerous flea repellents for further evaluation on animal or human subjects.


Cinnamomum osmophloeum; Ctenocephalides felis; essential oil; repellent; thymol; trans-cinnamaldehyde

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