Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.See all posts »
Insights on Insect Repellents
photo of Scott Carroll by Jenella Loye
At Tropical Medicine 101, we had a wonderful lecture about insect repellents from Dr. Scott Carroll, a biologist from the University of California, Davis who studies insect behavior and evolution. One of the more interesting points he made is the fact that "lemon eucalyptus," which is marketed as a repellent and felt to be as effective as 7.5% DEET, is actually not from eucalyptus, but is actually a product from the lemon-scented gum tree Corymbia citriodora (pictured here).
The product is water-distilled from the leaves, and the repellent is found in the spent fraction as para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD). Of particular note, true eucalyptus oil does not work as an insect repellent.
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