Listen to Sheldon MacLeod's interview with Lisa Ali:
A South Shore woman's natural tick repellent has passed a major hurdle.
Lisa Ali's AtlanTick spray was recently tested in a lab at Acadia University to see how well it repelled the blood-sucking arachnids.
The Mahone Bay resident worked with Dr. Nicoletta Faraone to research which of her three formulas was most effective at scaring ticks away.
"She basically had a petri dish that had a cylinder in it and she did various tests on it for various periods of time, just putting the ticks in the middle and seeing if they would walk over that line (of formula) or go back in," Ali told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show.
Her product was tested against DEET and an ethanol placebo. DEET kept away 100 per cent of ticks, the placebo had no effect on them, and AtlanTick ended up working about 80 per cent of the time.
"They don't want to cross that lemongrass line," she said.
Ali said there's plenty of studies on essential oils and how they naturally repel ticks, but she now knows how effective her mix of water, witch hazel, jojoba oil and other essential oils is.
She started to develop her formula after a life-changing year when both of her sons contracted Lyme disease. She wanted to use an alternative to DEET to protect them from further harm.
The next step is to apply to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency for approval so she can get to a point where it can be sold.
"That's another two year process, but we're started."
In the meantime, Ali will continue to work with Acadia researchers to break down the compounds of her formula to see if they can increase its repellency.