Natural Grapefruit Chemical ‘Nootkatone’ Can Kill Mosquitoes, Ticks in Seconds

September 10th, 2020

Photo: Canva, Evolva License

Written by: Peter Schelden, MedicineNet Health News

Sept 10, 2020 – Your next trip to the woods could smell like grapefruit.

The US EPA has approved a citrusy new chemical to fight mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects that is natural and nontoxic to people and furry pets.

The name of the chemical is “nootkatone” (NOOT-ka-tone). In nature, you can find it in grapefruit peels and certain Alaskan pine trees. And it is already used in perfumes, colognes, and grapefruit-flavored drinks.

It’s more than a repellent. In high enough concentrations, this skin-safe compound can kill mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting pests.

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Peter Schelden is a writer and editor with a decade of newsgathering experience that he accumulated while working for daily newspapers and news websites in the Western United States.

Since 2016, he has written for MedicineNet on a wide variety of health and wellness topics. Health trends, emerging disease risks and novel therapies count among them.

Schelden’s career in journalism has been spent in Nevada and California. He has won various press awards covering a range of news topics, from capital punishment and immigration to big game hunting and music journalism. His newswriting has made him a sought-after guest on Los Angeles radio, as well as expert panels.

After earning a Master’s degree in English literature in 2007, Schelden now teaches college writing and critical thinking in Orange County, California.