Biogents – Science for Your Protection –

Arm-in-Cage test

Arm-in-Cage tests are a common way to investigate the efficacy of repellent formulations. This method is suited for the evaluation of topical repellents (cremes, lotions, and spray formulations) and impregnated textiles (provided as sleeves).


We perform Arm-in-Cage tests according to a guideline published by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2009). Square test cages with a size of 40 x 40 x 40 cm are filled with 200 host-seeking mosquito females. Test products are applied to the forearms of the volunteers, and exposed to the caged population every 30 or 60 minutes. Tests are performed for up to eight hours post-application or until repellency fails.

In 2010, the mosquito specialists from the Biogents biotech enterprise introduced a modified and improved cage test method. Please have a look at BG-Cage tests for further information.


The efficacy of a test formulation is usually compared to a reference formulation according to the following criteria:

  • estimation of complete protection time (CPT): time between repellent application and the first confirmed bite (one bite followed by another, one within the same test, or within the consecutive test after 30 min)
  • the time until two or more bites occur on the treated arm (according to ECHA Transitional Guidance on PT18 + PT19).

Other protocols suggest using the first event (e.g. landing or probing, EPA Product Performance Test Guidelines, OPPTS 810.3700: Insect Repellents to be Applied to Human Skin / WHO Guidelines for Efficacy Testsing of Mosquito Repellents for Human Skin).

For product registration, we recommend the use of five to ten volunteers and test mosquitoes from three different genera (Aedes, Culex, Anopheles). During product development, tests with two to three volunteers and one or two species will suffice.

Test us! We are looking forward to hearing from you: testlab[at]