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24 March 2011

Natural repellent - where did they do?

Have been looking for your favourite natural mosquito repellent but can't find it on the shelf anymore?

All manufacturers of products making claims about their "mosquito repellent" properties have been targeted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medecines Authority (APVMA).

As a result some natural repellants have been re-labelled without reference to their repellent properties or they have been withdrawn from sale until they go through registration.

Before an agricultural or veterinary chemical product can be legally supplied, sold, or used in Australia it must be registered by the APVMA.
This is the same role the Therapeutic Goods Administration has for pharmaceutical and health products.

According to the APVMA, an "Agricultural chemical product" includes any substance or organism used to: destroy, stupefy, repel, inhibit the feeding of, or prevent pests on plants or other things.  And "other things" includes humans!

So products that make claims such as "A botanical blend of powerful herbal oils to deter insects naturally" are not allowed to say that unless they have been registered - which I imagine involves proving the claim and the safety of all ingredients. 

What happened to your favourite?
Bugger Off personal insect repellant -- withdrawn from sale while it is re-labelled or registered
Lemon Myrtle natural insect protection -- now called an 'antiseptic topical spray'
Mozzie F.O. natural insect repellent -- is still for sale, so must be registered
Scatter Bugs insect repellant -- re-labelled and is now called 'Skin Guard'

What are the ingredients in a natural mozzie repellent
All natural repellants that we know of are simply a combination of essential oils that mozzies don't like in a solution such as water and palm kernel alcohol.  Some add Glycerine and Aloe Vera for added thickness and feel.

The types of essential oils that deter mosquitos include Citronella, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender, Lemon Myrtle, Sage and Rosemary.

Natural repellent for babies and sensitive skins are the same ingredients but the oils are much more diluted so as to be less likely to irritate.

Take care
As with all essential oils, even though they are natural, people can be very sensitive to specific oils.  Always test a tiny bit first.  Pregnant women should always consult a medical practitioner before applying essential oils to the skin.

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


water bottle said...

Thank you for sharing this great information. We are camping at Easter and we will need our natural mosquito repellant.

Anonymous said...

Is there one that works well on sandflies? We are in the tropics and the sandflies are in their millions!! Hate spending 24 hours a day covered in chemicals but they are the only ones that seem to stop the litle critters.

Anonymous said...

There is a product called Smack that Mozzie available at We are in Cairns and I buy it regularly. Contact them to ask.

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