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Catnip oil repels bloodsucking flies


December 21, 2010
By Manure Manager

flyDecember 10, 2010 —
Catnip, the plant that attracts domestic cats like an irresistible force, has
proven 99 per cent effective in repelling the blood-sucking flies that attack
horses and cows, causing $2 billion in annual loses to the cattle industry.

December 10, 2010 —
Catnip, the plant that attracts domestic cats like an irresistible force, has
proven 99 per cent effective in repelling the blood-sucking flies that attack
horses and cows, causing $2 billion in annual loses to the cattle industry.

That’s the word from a
report published in American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

fly  
   

Junwei Zhu and colleagues
note that stable flies not only inflict painful bites, but also transmit
multiple diseases. Cattle harried by these bloodsuckers may produce less meat
and milk, have trouble reproducing, and develop diseases that can be fatal. All
traditional methods for controlling stable flies – even heavy applications of
powerful insecticides – have proven less than effective. The scientists thus
turned to catnip oil, already known to repel more than a dozen families of
insects, including house flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches.

They made pellets of
catnip oil, soy, and paraffin wax, and spread them in a cattle feedlot. Within
minutes, the pellets shooed the flies away, with the repellent action lasting
for about three hours. Pellets without catnip oil, in contrast, had no effect.
The scientists now are working on making the repellent action last longer,
which they say is the key to putting catnip to use in protecting livestock both
in feedlots and pastures.


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