Catnip as Tick Repellent?

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (González, J., et al.) has published “Repellency of novel catnip (Nepeta cataria) cultivar extracts against Ixodes scapularis and Haemaphysalis longicornis (Acari: Ixodida: Ixodidae)” in November 2022. In an effort to develop natural alternatives for commercial tick repellents, as effective or more effective than DEET, authors investigated the properties of two extracts derived from novel catnip cultivars, CR3 and CR9. Both extracts were tested for effectiveness to repel against both blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) and Asian longhorned ticks (Haemaphysalis longicornis).

Results of in-vitro assays showed that CR3 and CR9 extracts have similar repellency properties to DEET and, at a 20% concentration, both CR3 and CR9 extracts were 100% effective. Results also demonstrated that catnip extracts maintained repellent effectiveness for at least 8 hours. Interestingly, blacklegged ticks proved more sensitive to CR3 than DEET, and CR3 displayed an acaricidal effect on these ticks.   

Authors summarize that CR3 and CR9 catnip extracts show great promise as a natural and effective tick repellent that should be further developed and tested for their use on humans.

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