Back in January, I wrote about bug repellents, and reviewed an all-natural herbal bed bug repellent (by scent alone; mercifully, I have not had the opportunity to personally test its efficacy). “Many of us,” I wrote, “are looking for a magic chemical, one that keeps bed bugs away, but one that doesn’t kill us and our pets in the process.” That chemical may have been found: it’s called nootkatone, and it’s found in citrus fruits like grapefruit and trees like the Alaska yellow cedar. It smells like grapefruit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, which is currently testing it, nootkatone not only repells mosquitos at a distance, it will also kill them (by causing them to “vibrate themselves to death”!) up close. It’s so safe for humans that it can be ingested. And, according to this report from National Public Radio, it may work on bed bugs, ticks, and lice as well.
The bad news? It won’t make it into the market for at least a year. Despite all the assurance that it’s safe, the NPR report said the government will be testing it for a very long time.