The essential oil from Amyris balsamifera (Rutaceae) and elemol, a principal constituent of the essential oil of Osage orange, Maclura pomifera (Moraceae) were evaluated in in vitro and in vivo laboratory bioassays for repellent activity against host-seeking nymphs of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, and the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. Both bioassays took advantage of the tendency of these host-seeking ticks to climb slender vertical surfaces. In one bioassay, the central portion of a vertical strip of filter paper was treated with test solution and ticks placed or allowed to crawl onto the untreated lower portion. In the other bioassay, a strip of organdy cloth treated with test solution was doubly wrapped (treatment on outer layer) around the middle phalanx of a forefinger and ticks released on the fingertip. Both amyris oil and elemol were repellent to both species of ticks. Elemol did not differ significantly in effectiveness against A. americanum from the widely used repellent deet. At 2 and 4 h after application to filter paper, 827 microg amyris oil/cm(2) paper repelled 80 and 55%, respectively, of A. americanum nymphs. Ixodes scapularis was repelled by lower concentrations of amyris oil and elemol than A. americanum.