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Citrus Flavouring: The New Weapon Against Toronto’s Summer Bugs?

 In Blog, Organic Pest Control, Pest Control, Pest Removal, Summer

Citrus Flavouring: The New Weapon Against Toronto's Summer Bugs?

Summer bugs are an unfortunate reality in Toronto — all of that greenery is due to ample humidity, which also serves as a perfect breeding ground for pesky insects.

Mosquitos in particular are not only annoying but also pose a major threat to public health, as they can carry mosquito-borne illnesses. In Canada, the most common of these is West Nile, but equine encephalitis viruses can also crop up.

Traditional insect repellents and insecticides are two other prominent health and environmental risk factors due to their toxicity. Furthermore, many insects have grown resistant to common pesticides such as pyrethrins.

This has led many Canadians to return to more natural approaches for managing mosquitos and other biting insects.

Those who have will be excited to learn that research has recently identified nootkatone, which is derived from citrus fruit and cedar, as a new frontrunner in natural repellents. Let’s take a look at this new approach, and how best to implement it in controlling summer bugs.

Nootkatone: The New Public Health Weapon Against Summer Bugs

Nootkatone is an oil found in both cedar trees and grapefruits and is so safe for humans that it has long been used by the food and perfume industries.

It is also environmentally friendly, as it is considered non-toxic to humans and other mammals, birds, and fish. One step further, the substance is non-toxic even to pollinating insect species such as bees, which are harmed by conventional pesticides.

Nootkatone has a pleasant grapefruit-like scent, is non-oily, and its application lasts for many hours. Because of its safety, there are no concerns over ingesting it or absorbing it transdermally, unlike conventional bug sprays, which contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.

Moreover, many insects have grown resistant to common repellents such as DDTs, DEET, and pyrethroids. In these cases, nootkatone could prove even more effective than conventional chemicals.

Insecticides vs. Repellents: Know the Difference

When evaluating any pest control solution, it’s important to know the key differences between an insect repellent and an insecticide:

  • An insect repellent repels insects but is only toxic to insects in very high concentrations.
  • An insecticide is toxic to insects, and may both repel and kill them.

Nootkatone is considered to be most effective as an insect repellent, although it can kill certain pests at high concentrations, particularly ticks.

Experts are currently evaluating the use of nootkatone in insecticidal soap, particularly for use in tick-infested areas, repelling, and possibly killing ticks that try to attach to the user.

Comprehensive Insect Control is Your Best Defense

Although repellents are a great start to keeping pesky insects at bay, they aren’t a permanent solution and are also not usually 100% effective.

The best way to fight mosquitoes here in Toronto is to keep them off of your property in the first place. A professional mosquito control expert can do a survey to find out what species of mosquitoes you’re dealing with, what the overall size of the population is, and develop a comprehensive plan to stop mosquito problems at their root.

This can include:

  • Removing unnecessary sources of standing water such as water leaks, buckets, tires and flowerpots
  • Protecting standing water in birdbaths, pools, ponds and water deposits against mosquito larvae
  • Installing screens on windows and doors and checking for air leaks
  • Environmental treatments to discourage mosquito breeding
  • Landscape management

Toronto Pest Control


Fortunately, it’s possible to control mosquitoes using techniques that are non-toxic to your family and to the environment. Natural pest control can be just as effective as conventional approaches, without the health risks and environmental impacts.

About the Author:

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert and a regular guest on HGTV. He is renowned in the industry as an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions. Mackie and business partner Sandy Costa were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.

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