The story begins in all-too-familiar fashion: A mom discovers that her two young sons were bitten by ticks and developed Lyme disease as a result. Then comes the not-so-typical twist: The same mom develops an all-natural tick spray that is showing promise in tests at a Canadian university. As the Chronicle Herald reports, Lisa Ali of Nova Scotia came up with a product she calls AtlanTick that combines lemon grass, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and water. All of those ingredients are sold legally in Canada, but because Ali combined them into a spray that is labeled as a tick repellent, she needs the permission of Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency to actually sell it.
Solution? She obtained research funding and is now working with researchers at Acadia University. And so far, so good. "The results are pretty interesting because the AtlanTick body spray repelled about 75, 80% of the tested ticks," researcher Nicoletta Faraone tells the CBC. "These results were compared to DEET, which recorded 100%." Ali says she wanted to find an alternative to putting chemicals on her sons' skin, and Faraone calls the first results "encouraging," especially for a natural product. Still, more testing awaits, and the spray is at least two years away from being sold commercially. (In the US, the number of tick-borne diseases is surging.)