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Determining the effectiveness of cinnamon oil as a natural insect repellentFeatured science projectScience project video


Materials required for this science fair project:

-    4 empty fish tanks with covers
-    1 bottle of cinnamon oil
-    3 empty plastic bottles
-    1 larger container
-    4 over-ripe bananas
-    1 knife
-    20 ants
-    20 cockroaches
-    20 mosquitoes
-    20 flies
-    1 stopwatch


1.    The independent variable in this science fair project is the type of insect used – ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and flies. The dependent variable is the number of insects present on the bananas, which is determined though observing the behavior of the insects towards the bananas placed in the fish tank for one hour. The constants (control variables) are the number of insects used, the time taken for each set of observations, and the size of the fish tank.

2.    The effectiveness of cinnamon oil will be investigated on four types of insects - ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and flies. Prior to the start of the experiment, label the three plastic bottles as A, M and F to represent ants, mosquitoes and flies. Label the larger plastic container as C to represent cockroaches. In addition, mark each fish tank with the labels A,C,M and F.

3.    Prior to the experiment, you need to search for 20 insects of each type, and keep each type of insect in their respective plastic bottles or containers.

4.    Peel the four bananas and cut them into halves. Coat a layer of cinnamon oil on the surface of one half of each banana. Leave the other half untreated. Place both halves of each banana into a fish tank, and keep them as far away as possible from each other. Each of the four fish tanks must contain a treated half of a banana, and an untreated half.

5.    Release each type of insect into each fish tank according to the labels made earlier. Observe the behavior of the insects towards the split bananas in the fish tank for one hour. When the hour is up, count the number of insects that went for the untreated banana, and insects that went for the the cinnamon coated banana.  Record the observations in the table given below.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
Preparations will take approximately one day, four hours are required for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements