Scientists have found a new way to repel and kill ticks and mosquitoes using a natural ingredient found in grapefruit and cedar trees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nootkatone, the ingredient responsible for the smell and taste of grapefruit, and found in some perfumes, is able to repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes and other bite pests, according to a CDC news release.
“Studies show that when nootkatone is formulated in insect repellents, they can protect against bites at similar rates as products with other active ingredients already available and can provide up to several hours of protection,”; the CDC said in a statement. Nootkatone, has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in insecticides and insect repellents after it was discovered and developed by the CDC, according to the release.
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“The CDC is proud to have led the study and development of nootkatone,” said Jay C. Butler, MD, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases. “Providing new alternatives to existing bite prevention methods paves the way for solving one of the biggest challenges in the prevention of vector-borne diseases – bite prevention.”
The federal agency stated that Nootkatone will be used to develop new insecticides and repellents to help protect humans and pets from bug-infested insects. Pest control companies are in discussions with Evolva, the CDC licensed partner, regarding the development of commercial partnerships. Commercial products may become available as early as 2022.
“This new active ingredient has the potential to be used in future insect and pesticide repellents that will protect people from disease. In many areas of the United States, mosquitoes have become resistant to the pesticides currently available. re active in our toolbox will help vector control programs. “Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said in the announcement.
The CDC stated that the number of reported cases of diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks has doubled from 2004 to 2018, and tick-related disease represents almost 8 in 10 of all reported cases of vector disease in the US