Savvy folks have been planting geraniums in their window boxes for centuries, using the natural properties of the flowers to repel bugs. Today, the hard data exists that proves that the use of geraniums is more than a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Geraniol, a powerful ingredient extracted from geranium oil through a unique refining process, does indeed provide a natural – and extremely effective – insect repellent.
According to laboratory and field studies by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Geraniol, the active ingredient in BugBand insect repellent, has been proven effective in repelling a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, house flies, stable flies, horn flies, cockroaches, fire ants, fleas, gnats, dog ticks, lone star ticks, and no-see-ums.
The University of Florida developed and tested alternatives to synthetic pesticides over a 17-year period. As part of the testing process, which was headed by Dr. Jerry Butler in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, university researchers created and patented a device called an olefactometer, which duplicates human skin and gaseous conditions that attract biting and annoying insects.
Previous to the University’s work, there was no hard data or scientific studies to document what effect, if any, geranium oil had on any specific type of insect. The team tested and retested more than 4,000 compounds, and Geraniol emerged as an effective means of repelling insects.
The everyday geranium plants we grow in our gardens and flowerpots contain geranium oil, although only at low levels. Geranium plants earmarked for commercial oil production have been bred and refined over the years, and are currently grown in Nepal and other Southeast Asian countries.