Experimental use of two standard tick collection methods to evaluate the relative effectiveness of several plant-derived and synthetic repellents against Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2011 Dec;104(6):2062-7. doi: 10.1603/ec10421.


We used two standard tick collection methods to test the relative effectiveness of two natural product compounds (nootkatone and carvacrol, classified as an eremophilene sesquiterpene and a monoterpene, respectively, that are derived from botanical sources) with commercially-available plant-derived (EcoSMART Organic Insect Repellent, comprised of plant essential oils) and permethrin-based (Repel Permanone) repellents against Ixodes scapularis Say and Amblyomma americanum (L.). Cloth drags were equally effective in sampling both species of host-seeking nymphs, whereas CO, traps attracted primarily A. americanum. All four repellents performed well on drags, with nootkatone and Permanone Repel (100% repelled through 14 d) slightly more effective than carvacrol and EcoSMART (90.7% and 97.7% repelled at 14 d, respectively) at repelling I. scapularis nymphs. Although the same trend in percent repellency was noted in the CO2 trap trial against both A. americanum nymphs and adults, EcoSMART outperformed Permanone in repelling A. Americanum nymphs after 14 d in the drag trial. Generally, the effectiveness of all repellents tested declined over time. The use of tick drags and CO2 traps was rapid, inexpensive, and easy to use in determining the relative effectiveness of repellents in the field.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology
  • Cymenes
  • Insect Control / methods*
  • Insect Repellents / pharmacology*
  • Ixodes / drug effects
  • Ixodidae / drug effects*
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • New Jersey
  • Nymph / drug effects
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Permethrin / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology
  • Species Specificity
  • Specimen Handling / economics*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Time Factors


  • Cymenes
  • Insect Repellents
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Permethrin
  • carvacrol
  • nootkatone