DuPont is working on an insect repellent based on nepeta cataria–better known as catnip–and it’s the first new biopesticide to be registered by the company in eight years. It won’t get you high, but DuPont’s repellent works just as well as DEET without the risk of skin reactions.
While DuPont’s product will be safe for direct skin contact, the company warns intrepid catnip lovers from rubbing catmint leaves directly on their bodies, as the major component in the plant acts as a skin sensitizer. DuPont will convert the catnip plant’s oil into a safer substance–Refined Oil of Nepeta Cataria– before putting its product on sale.
The catmint plant repellent is still in the testing stages, but when it goes on sale DuPont plans on using it in sun block lotions, sprays, wipes, and insect repellent candles. The market for pest-repelling products is around $800 million, according the company.
If you want to work on your own catnip-based product, DuPont is offering a limited supply of its oil to developers. And in case you’re worried about cats flinging themselves at you, DuPont assures us that the repellent won’t attract any feline friends.