Tick turn-off

Cedarwood oil repels pests

Posted 4/13/22

EVERYWHERE — Cedarwood oil smells great to a lot of people. It can be found in many consumer products—perfumes, soaps and deodorants, for example.

But cedarwood oil also is prized for …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Tick turn-off

Cedarwood oil repels pests

Posted

EVERYWHERE — Cedarwood oil smells great to a lot of people. It can be found in many consumer products—perfumes, soaps and deodorants, for example.

But cedarwood oil also is prized for its insect-repelling and anti-fungal properties, according to a news release from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Ticks may not be insects, but it turns out that they too are repelled by cedarwood oil, according to recently published findings by ARS scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois.

In laboratory studies, the scientists exposed the nymph stages of five hard-bodied tick species to various doses of cedarwood oil and compared the results to DEET, a commonly used synthetic insecticide.

Ticks hunger for a blood meal, so they’ll latch on while you walk in tall grass or through brush. There, says an ARS writer of press releases ominously, “these flat-bodied arachnids lie in wait for a passing host.”

Far more concerning, the release adds, is their ability to transmit disease-causing pathogens as they feed.

One notable culprit is the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, whose bite infects nearly half a million people annually with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. To make matters worse, some ticks, such as the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) can induce alpha-gal syndrome, a condition in which the person bitten by the tick develops a severe allergy to meat from livestock and other mammals.

Yes, that is a real thing. You can read a Mayo Clinic explanation at https://mayocl.in/3jkERzM.

The researchers found different species of ticks exhibit different degrees of susceptibility to cedarwood oil. For instance, the black-legged tick was the most susceptible of the four tick species exposed to cedarwood oil in the experiments. The others, in order of decreasing susceptibility,  were the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and lone star tick (A. americanum).

However, the oil’s repellency faded with time. More of the nymphs (94 percent) were repelled 30 minutes after the oil had been applied to the paper than after 60 minutes (80 percent). Results such as these are important considerations in formulating the oil as a repellent product that can be applied to bare skin or clothing, for example.

In the experiments, DEET was more repellent than the cedarwood oil for all tick species except the black-legged tick nymphs. Against them, the oil worked just as well.

Full details of the work were published in the journal “Experimental and Applied Acarology” by ARS scientists Lina Flor-Weiler, Robert Behle, Fred Eller, Ephantus Muturi and Alejandro Rooney. Additional tests are necessary to determine the optimal doses to use and delivery method, they noted.

For more information, visit www.ars.usda.gov.

Source: The Agricultural Research Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here