The composition of this repellent has been developed at Five Barn Farm in upstate New York. The formula is based on the essential oil of a plant that grows widely as a weed, Nepeta Cateria (catnip) dispersed in olive oil. For now we are purchasing the oil, which has been analyzed by gas chromatography in our barn-laboratory on the farm, but we plan to obtain the oil from plants grown on Five Barn Farm. The details of this plant's capacity to repel ticks has been determined .in collaboration with vector ecologists Dr Thomas Daniels and Dr. Richard Falco of the Calder Center of Fordham University and Professor James Ciaccio of the Fordham University Chemistry Department. The engineer at the farm is Richard Klebes. Please see the video above, which features a starved tick desperate to get onto a blood source (Professor Green's arm which has catnip oil on it).. He is Emeritus Professor of New York University Tandon School of Engineering)
"Cats may be attracted, but ticks and insects will certainly be repelled!"
There has been no testing for use on very small children or pregnant women.
A small amount will be effective and reduces the possibility of skin sensitization, common to many essential oils.
The effect of catnip essential oil on insects is beyond question. Our experience here on the farm, and other peoples' elsewhere, demonstrates repellent activity against every pest encountered, including the flies that plague the eyes of cows and horses.
The effect of catnip essential oil on insects was documented as early as 1964, in a Science paper by Thomas Eisner of Cornell University, who wrote: “Surely a mint plant derives no benefit from an ability to stimulate cats.” It makes sense that plants, over hundreds of millions of years, should have evolved to produced chemicals, called secondary metabolites, to repel nectar feeding arthropods. And it makes sense for us, who came along much later, to use these chemicals, these essential oils, to repel arthropods feeding on our "nectar," that is, blood.
On Five Barn Farm, we are also growing and extracting the essential oil of Tagetes minuta L (Mexican marigold), which we had earlier shown to yield an essential oil that kills the larvae of the mosquito that carries various maladies including the Zika virus. For more information see: The Larvicidal Activity of Tagetes Minuta L. Toward Aedes Aegypti (L); M.M. Green, J.M. Singer, D.J. Sutherland and C.R. Hibben, Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 7 (2), 282 (1991) and .http://blogs.poly.edu/markgreen/2016/06/24/science-from-away-block-zika-with-a-plant-and-a-pot-of-water/
You can reach us at fivebarnfarm (at) gmail.com.