I received an email yesterday asking me about ticks. The email went on to ask “Since you did the DIY on other subjects, do you have anything for ticks?”. The reader went on to say that they live in the Northeast territory of the US where ticks are very prevalent and have been a big problem for many decades.
Not to disappoint, here is a DIY Tick Repellent and one that I might add was just approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week. For my reader, your question has perfect timing as this is not only a DIY Tick Repellent, but a very effective one at that. I might add, not only effective against ticks, but mosquitoes.
Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Many species transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite are Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, West Nile, Dengue, Zika and Tularemia. With Lyme Disease being a particularly nasty disease and sometimes deadly, it has always been a fear among outdoors men/women.
Some ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see. Ticks may get on you and hide in clothing if you walk through areas where they live, such as tall grass, leaf litter or shrubs.
As a precaution when outdoors, and one that many from the Northeast know all so well is to:
- Use a chemical repellent with DEET, Permethrin or Picaridin
- Wear light-colored protective clothing
- Tuck pant legs into socks
- Avoid tick-infested areas
- Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks you find
But what if there was a better alternative? You just happen to be in luck and not that hard to make as this has been on the market for some time, so it should be easy to find and get. The magic of this trick? Nootkatone. I’ll let you settle in on that word for a minute as it is an odd one and one that most people are not familiar with.
Nootkatone, a grapefruit scented perfume ingredient that’s toxic to ticks and mosquitoes is the first new insect repellent to be approved in a decade. The chemical Nootkatone, smells and tastes like grapefruit and is naturally found in the rind of the grapefruit, as well as in Alaskan Yellow Cedar trees.
Nootkatone protects from bug bites at similar rates as insect repellents currently on the market and has a staying power of up to several hours, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found. It’s the first new chemical to be approved for this purpose since 2009.
While Nootkatone is poisonous to insects, the chemical is nontoxic to humans and other mammals, so much so that it’s commonly used in perfumes, foods, and drinks.
The discovery of Nootkatone takes advantage of the naturally occurring compounds that plants use to protect themselves. Terpenes and other natural compounds occurring in plants have a lot of importance from a chemical ecology perspective. They’re in plants as a natural defense mechanism to prevent insects from attacking them.
So how do you get some of this Nootkatone and how do you make this tick repellent? If you are the adventurous type, you could take a grapefruit rind, stuff it in a blender, but that makes a mess and is hard on the blender, so we’ll go the easy way by going to any neighborhood drug store for our supplies.
How to do it:
Take two ounces of non-greasy oil, like jojoba.
30-40 drops of the Nootkatone oil. Adjust to your liking.
Put this into a small spray bottle, shake really well and apply.