CDC: Lemon Eucalyptus as Effective as DEET
Russ Chastain 07.25.19
When it comes to insect repellents, DEET has been “it” for decades, but what you may not know is that according to Centers For Disease Control (CDC), there’s a non-toxic plant-based alternative: Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus. I guess I’ve been hiding under a rock for a few years because I hadn’t heard of this, although it’s not “new news,” but it is well worth talking about.
CDC has reportedly said that “when oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes found in the USA, it provided protection similar to repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl meta-toluamide).”
The article adds that, “Until now, DEET was the only repellent recommended by the CDC and approved for individual use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”
This is good news for outdoorsy folks who hesitate to apply manmade chemicals in order to repel mosquitoes, but wish to minimize the risk of contracting Zika, West Nile Virus, or other potentially-deadly diseases from skeeters.
WebMD says Lemon Eucalyptus oil works to repel ticks as well. I love this, because I am a tick magnet but I hate using chemicals to repel them.
There’s more good news: Pump sprays containing this ingredient, like the one linked below, will not melt your plastic flashlight lenses or dissolve the finish from your gun stock while you’re camping or hunting. As they say, it “won’t harm your gear like watch crystals, tackle boxes, backpacks, fishing line, tents, or bedding.”
Unfortunately it does smell, which may be a problem for some hunters. But maybe the deer in your area will be attracted to the “cool, refreshing lemon eucalyptus scent.” Just kidding!
So what should you look for? The active ingredient is “p-Menthane-3,8-diol” so look for that on the label. To make it super easy, you can click here to buy some from Coleman Botanicals.