Marmite vs mosquitoes




It’s always pleasing to hear from you learned listeners; thanks, Josie, for getting in touch to share Knowledge:

Listening to last week’s episode, I heard you discuss the medicinal properties of Marmite, where Helen said it could repel mosquitoes.

As a mosquito biologist myself I have heard this a few times but, though I love Marmite, all evidence produced so far says that neither vitamin B nor garlic (another commonly toted ‘repellent food’) have any effect on mosquito activity.

This myth is surprisingly persistent though and even my Mum refuses to believe me on this point (apparently a PhD is mosquito biology counts for nothing here!). Just thought I’d write in to make sure that your listeners, unlike my mother, do not plan trips to malaria endemic countries with the intent of using Marmite as a protection against bites!

Other odd, evidence-less repellent ideas I’ve come across during my work include hanging bags of water in your house, as mosquitoes are “terrified my their own magnified reflections in the water surface and run away”, and writing the number “82” on a big sign above your coffee machine.

Because…mosquitoes are terrified by the atomic number of lead? Sounds scientific to me!

Marmite is famously purported to be a divisive substance, and it seems Luke in Kurdistan felt the same about our conversation regarding it:

Answer me this – how did an innocent question about the health benefits of Marmite (or lack thereof), finish with an answer to “Would it be good for the soul to wake up in bed with Peter Stringfellow, if covered in a B vitamin rich, salty spread?”?

Sorry Luke; at AMT, these things just happen.


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