Journal of forensic sciences

DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) induced delay of blowfly landing and oviposition rates on treated pig carrion (Sus scrofa L.).

PMID 22515377


The question of whether the insect repellent N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) affected fly attraction, oviposition, and larval development was investigated; in part, to determine whether the common habit of wearing DEET as a repellent could affect the rate of human decomposition. Experiments using pig surrogates of human decedents were carried out in a rural environment. Dead piglets were sprayed with DEET, and fly behavior, colonization levels, and maggot development were compared with those in nonsprayed controls. Piglets treated with DEET experienced significant delays in fly visitation and oviposition and delayed appearance of each larval instar, as well as reduced total larval numbers (p < 0.01 for all variables), with subsequently reduced decomposition (p < 0.05). Such changes in fly behavior and larval population development would significantly impact the estimation of the period following the death from entomological evidence in decedents wearing DEET at the time of their death.