Two Maine moms have come up with one recipe to repel ticks using natural ingredients. So far, they've sold 11,000 bottles, and they're filling more orders every day.
"The demand is just really busy," said Heather Peel. She and her sister, Crystal, kept finding ticks on their kids. Wary of the chemicals found in traditional tick repellents, they researched essential oils that could protect from the pests. After some trial and error, they came up with the water-based solution called "Flick The Tick."
Their product contains cedarwood, citronella, geranium, lemongrass and rosemary oils. It is produced and packaged out of Heather Peel's home office in Fayette, and has sold across the country. Peel says it protects against mosquitoes, black flies, and other insects.
"We've heard feedback from all over the field that it's working," she said.
A four-ounce bottle of Flick the Tick costs $12.95, and it can be ordered online or found in retail stores listed on flickthetick.com.
Experts have long recommended chemical sprays like Picaridin, Deet, and Permethrin.
Chuck Lubelczyk, vector ecologist at Maine Medical Center, swears by his Picaridin spray. He says those chemical sprays have been studied, and they are proven to be effective.
While he acknowledges that certain botanical solutions can repel ticks, he is reluctant to endorse them without scientific data.
In a demonstration in his lab, ticks were repelled by Flick the Tick at the same rate as Picaridin.
"There's a very good chance there is some effect from this [natural] compound," he said. "I think there's a lot of potential for these [ingredients] to be used, but I think there's a big void in the data that's out there."
For Peel, the proof is in her customer reviews. She said the feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and she is confident that she has found a solution that works.
"This is a great, all natural choice," she said. "As long as you re-apply it, it is really effective."