We know the extreme lengths you've gone to in your outdoor adventures to prevent the little buggers from biting--wearing long sleeves in the heat of summer, hovering around the flickering flame of a citronella candle or creating a second skin of 100% DEET. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology adds a new insect repellent to the list: a natural compound from the South American Tauroniro tree called isolongifolenone.
The authors of the study found that the compound--long used in cosmetics, perfumes and deodorants--keeps mosquitoes and ticks at bay as effectively as DEET. This discovery is good news considering the long list of DEET no-no's such as not applying over cuts or near eyes and not going to sleep without rinsing the chemical off. Considering your skin absorbs about 5-8% of the insect repellent you apply, wouldn't you rather by slathered with a tree-derived repellent than a synthetic chemical one?
The study authors also noted, quite eloquently, that since "isolongifolenone is easily synthesized from inexpensive turpentine oil feedstock, we are therefore confident that the compound has significant potential as an inexpensive and safe repellent for protection of large human populations against blood-feeding arthropods.”
Or in other words, it'll be cheap and keep mosquitoes and ticks from taking a bite out of your skin for lunch.
I have an aunt who swallows a few cloves of garlic whole to keep the 'skeeters away and have also heard of people covering themselves in catnip. Do you have any tried-and-true remedies for staying bite free? Share in the comments section below.
Image credit: James Jordan