Looks like there could be a new repellent compound to choose from on your shelves soon!
The compound, isolongifolenone, is made from a tree with the charming name of Bastard Bulletwood. From the abstract:
We show that (Ð)-isolongifolenone deters the biting of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles stephensi Liston more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent…(DEET), in laboratory bioassays. The compound also repelled blacklegged ticks… and lone star ticks, as effectively as DEET.
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.
Their tests were done in the lab, so I want to see some actual biting data with humans to verify these results.
It would be nice to have a choice other than DEET, since while DEET’s relatively safe, it is known to melt your pantyhose and stain fabrics. (Yeah. I know. Bug Girl is not known for pantyhose wearing. But sometimes I have to, and it’s a drag when your legs are covered in both blood from smacked mozzies and stifling nylon.)
Also, not every mosquito species tested reacted the same way–some were more repelled than others. This is also true of DEET, so isn’t surprising. The doses of active ingredient are similar to DEET, so unlike Picaridin, you shouldn’t have to apply extra doses of lotion.
Very (cautiously) exciting news!
The full citation:
AIJUN ZHANG, JEROME A. KLUN, SHIFA WANG, JOHN F. CARROLL, MUSTAPHA DEBBOUN (2009). Isolongifolenone: A Novel Sesquiterpene Repellent of Ticks and Mosquitoes Journal of Medical Entomology, 46 (1), 100-106 DOI: 10.1603/033.046.0113