But There Is Just One Bad Side Effect
Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.
The finding was reported at the 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, by the same Iowa State University research group that two years ago discovered that catnip also repels cockroaches.
Entomologist Chris Peterson, Ph.D., with Joel Coats, Ph.D., chair of the university’s entomology department, led the effort to test catnip’s ability to repel mosquitoes. Peterson, a former post-doctoral research associate at the school, is now with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Wood Products Insects Research Unit, in Starkville, Miss.
While they used so-called yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) — one of several species of mosquitoes found in the United States — Peterson says catnip should work against all types of mosquitoes.