The Basics

BioUD is a repellent that uses the oily liquid 2-undecanone – a synthetic version of an extract from the wild tomato plant – as its active ingredient. The product is effective against ticks at a high level for about two hours.

BioUD has been dubbed “the natural DEET” after some promising studies about its effectiveness against ticks. One study that pitted the product (with its 7.75% of concentration of 2-undecanone) against a product that had a 98.1% concentration of DEET found that BioUD was two to four timesmore effective than DEET against the blacklegged tick – the primary carrier of Lyme disease and its co-infections – and as or more effective against the American dog tick and lone star tick.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this study was done in a lab, under very controlled conditions, with the BioUD and DEET applied to filter paper. So, while this study is a good indicator of BioUD’s effectiveness against ticks, remember that when using it on skin, outdoors, there are a variety of other factors (e.g. heat, moisture, activity level) that could cut into BioUD’s effectiveness.

Product Types and Usage

Currently, BioUD only comes as a liquid spray, with two choices in spray type and size.

HOMS, the company that manufactures BioUD, tells customers to reapply the product every 4.5 hours (or after swimming, toweling, or vigorous activity). Keep in mind, though, that BioUD is only effective against mosquitoesfor that amount of time.

BioUD is only effective against ticks for up to two hours, according to the manufacturer. So, compared to a product with a 98.1% concentration of DEET that could last up to 10 hours, BioUD will require more vigilance and reapplication.

Do not apply BioUD to your lips and keep it away from your eyes, and do not put it on young children’s hands.

After you return indoors, be sure to wash off areas of skin where you applied BioUD with soap and water.

Finally, while the product names for two of three available BioUD products state that it can also be used on clothing and gear, ILC could not get clarification from HOMS about its usage on fabric (e.g. its effective timeframe and the effects of laundering).

While it is probably not a replacement for permethrin, BioUD appears to be fine for use on clothing and gear, in a pinch. To be on the safe side, follow the manufacturer’s directions for skin application when applying on clothing or gear to ensure that you are as protected as possible.

BioUD Safety

Like picaridin, BioUD’s active ingredient (2-undecanone) is so new as an insect repellent, and not very widely used, there is currently little documentation of any acute or long-term health risks from usage of it.

While the EPA did not find any oral or inhalation toxicity in animal lab studies, the agency did rate 2-undecanone as “slightly toxic” to the skin and eyes – which is likely to be expected with many skin repellents. However, the EPA did not find any evidence of 2-undecanone being harmful to pregnant women or children, or to cause genetic mutations.

However, more studies are needed to determine the potential for acute toxicity and allergic reactions in individuals.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and warnings closely to avoid any possible problems.

Note: None of the brands linked on this page are formally endorsed by Indiana Lyme Connect, but are simply provided as examples of the types of products discussed on the site.