Repellence of essential oils and selected compounds against ticks-A systematic review

Acta Trop. 2018 Mar:179:47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2017.12.025. Epub 2017 Dec 26.


Ticks act as vectors of a wide range of infectious agents, far encompassing any other group of bloodsucking arthropods worldwide. The prevention of tick-borne diseases is strictly linked to the successful management of tick vector populations. The employ of repellents can represent a worth solution to avoid tick bites. It is widely adopted to protect travellers and pets exposed to ticks during limited periods of the year. The use of natural products as active ingredients in eco-friendly repellent formulations is currently a prominent research area, due to the wide diversity and high effectiveness of a number of plant-borne compounds, with special reference to essential oils (EOs) extracted from medicinal and aromatic species. Here, we reviewed current knowledge available on EOs tested as repellents against tick species of veterinary importance. Furthermore, we analysed the effectiveness of pure compounds isolated from EOs as tick repellents and their potential implications for practical use in the öreal world". A quantitative analysis of literature available is this research field was provided, along with its impact (i.e., in terms of citations over time) on the scientific community of researchers in tick control science and natural product chemistry. In the final sections, future outlooks are highlighted. We discussed major challenges to stabilize the most effective EOs and pure molecules, explore the synergistic and antagonistic effects in blends of EOs and/or pure constituents, standardize currently adopted testing methods, and evaluate non-target risks of herbal repellents.

Keywords: Anaplasmosis; Babesiosis; Borreliosis; Botanical repellent; DEET; Ehrlichiosis; IR3535; Integrated vector management; Picaridin.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Vectors / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / veterinary
  • Ticks / drug effects*


  • Insect Repellents
  • Oils, Volatile