Note de recherche
Parasite, 2009, 16, 223-226
EFFICACY OF 1% GERANIOL (FULLTEC®) AS A TICK REPELLENT
KHALLAAYOUNE K.*, BIRON J.M.**, CHAOUI A.*** & DUVALLET G. ****
A field trial on the efficacy of 1 % geraniol (Fulltec®) spray against
ticks has been carried out in two farms near Rabat (Morocco).
Results clearly revealed that 1 % geraniol has a preventive effect
against Hyalomma ticks. Comparison of geraniol sprayed cows
with control herd showed a reduction of mean number of ticks per
animal of 98.4 %, 97.3 % and 91.3 % at respectively day 7, 14
and 21 post-spraying. These data give evidence that the geraniol,
natural product extracted from plants, could be an alternative to
limit use of chemical acaricides, which efficacy is compromised
by development of resistance.
Résumé : EFFICACITÉ DU GÉRANIOL À 1 % (FULLTEC®) CONTRE LES
TIQUES DU GENRE HYALOMMA
Un essai de pulvérisation d’un lot de bovins avec du géraniol
(Fulltec®) à 1 %, en comparaison avec un lot similaire dans deux
fermes de la région de Rabat au Maroc, a montré que le géraniol
à 1 % avait un effet préventif important contre les tiques du genre
Hyalomma. Des réductions du nombre moyen de tiques par
animal de 98,4 %, 97,3 % et 91,3 % par rapport au lot témoin
ont été observées à J7, J14 et J21 respectivement après la
pulvérisation. Ces données indiquent que le géraniol à 1 %,
produit naturel d’origine végétal, pourrait représenter une
alternative pour limiter l’usage des acaricides habituels dont
l’efficacité est parfois compromise du fait du développement de
KEY WORDS : geraniol, tick, control, prevention, resistance.
MOTS CLÉS : géraniol, tique, contrôle, prévention, résistance.
* Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Département de Para-
sitologie, BP 6202 Rabat-Instituts, Maroc.
** Fulltec France, 33, rue Galilée, 75116 Paris, France.
*** Chimitechnic, 102, rue Jaâfar El Barmaki, Casablanca 20 300,
**** UMR 5175 CEFE (Centre d’écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive),
Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III, Route de Mende, 34199 Mont-
pellier Cedex 5, France.
Correspondence : Gérard Duvallet
E-mail : email@example.com
Ticks and tick-borne diseases cause considerable
economic loss to cattle breeding (McLeod, 1995;
Willadsen, 2006). Over the past ten years, global
changes, especially anthropic impacts on the environ-
ment, have contributed to the development of tick
populations in many parts of the world (Eisen, 2008).
In most countries, tick control is based exclusively
upon the regular and frequent use of synthetic acari-
cides. Inappropriate and abusive use of these mole-
cules often leads to the development of chemoresis-
tance. As a result, many Ixodidae have developed
resistance to common acaricides, which has made
control difficult in some breeding areas (George et al.,
2004; Kunz & Kemp, 1994; Li et al., 2004; Fragoso-San-
chez et al., 2008). Furthermore, beside their potential
toxic effects on the animals, these products can gene-
rate residues in animal products and have serious
impact on the consumer’s health and the functioning
of ecosystems (Laffont et al., 2001; Graf et al., 2004).
To alleviate this constraint, an increasing interest is now
oriented toward the development of non-toxic envi-
ronmentally safe repellents. Geraniol is reported to be
a potential repellent against insects, and especially a
key component in commercial mosquito repellents
(Xue et al., 2003). It is a main product of essential oil
extracts of different plants (Pelargonium sp., Eucalyptus
sp., Cymbopogon sp., etc.), which can be used as
mosquito repellents (Matsuda et al., 1996).
Up to now, there has been no previous report on use
of geraniol for preventing tick infestation in cattle. The
purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficiency of
a spray solution of 1 % geraniol as a preventative mea-
sure in cattle naturally infested with ticks.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Over a month, a dozen of cattle farms in the
vicinity of Rabat, Morocco, were visited to
identify animals infested with ticks. Ticks were
searched on parts of the animals’ bodies most sus-
ceptible to ticks, such as utters and the anal-genital
fold. Two relatively similar farms were selected on the
basis of their number of cattle, breed and level of tick
infestation. Both farms are located in Tiflet, at approxi-
mately 50 km Northeast of Rabat, and distant of 5 km
During this survey, a total of 234 ticks were collected
for species identification. All examined ticks were Hya-
lomma; among them 84.2 % were H. marginatum,
11.5 % H. dromedarii and 4.3 % H. detritum, and 4.3 %
of those ticks were female.
In the two selected farms, all cattle were of “Frisonne
pie-noire” breed, aged from two to nine years and had
an average weight of 250 to 300 kg. The animals were
in good health conditions and had not received any
acaricide treatment for more than three months.
At Day-7, each animal was identified by ear-tag, clini-
cally examined and the number of ticks present in each
part of the body recorded. The animals remained in
their own farms until the end of the study. In both
farms, feed was composed primarily of grazing with a
supplement of forage and hay. Each farm was consi-
dered as a group:
- Group A (11 cows): sprayed with 1 % geraniol.
- Group B (13 cows): placebo.
The sprayed solution of geraniol contains geraniol at
1 % (w/v), polyhexamethylene biguanide hydrochlo-
ride at 0,025 % (w/v) and sufficient quantity of puri-
fied water for 100 % (w/v).
The placebo sprayed contains polyhexamethylene
biguanide hydrochloride at 0,025 % (w/v) and suffi-
cient quantity of purified water for 100 % (w/v).
The polyhexamethylene biguanide hydrochloride (Van-
tocil IB, Avecia Biologics Ltd) is a preservative com-
pound, used to prevent fungal and bacterial growth in
the solution. This compound does not have any insec-
ticide or acaricide propriety.
The geraniol was produced by Fulltec®company (Cha-
merStrasse 14, CH-6301 ZUG, Suisse) and marketed in
Morocco by Chimitechnic. This geraniol was prepared
by distillation from Palmarosa oil produced by Düll-
berg Konzentra (GmbH & Co, Obenhauptstrasse 3, D-
22335 Hamburg, Germany). The Palmarosa oil is pro-
duced by steam extraction from dried flowering parts
of Cymbopogon martinii var. motia. The crude Palma-
rosa oil containing 60-85 % geraniol is distilled under
vacuum. The fractions of the oil from the distillation
are continuously checked by gas liquid chromato-
graphy, which enables to get pure geraniol. This gera-
niol is processed by Fulltec AG and proposed as “Full-
tec insect killer concentrate 30 % geraniol” with the
following composition: dist. water 11.50 w-%; geraniol
30.00 w-%; polyglyceryl-6 oleate 35.00 w-%; polygly-
ceryl-2 oleate 23.00 w-%; citric acid 0.50 w-% (Fulltec,
APPLICATION OF PRODUCT AND EVALUATION
OF GENERAL STATE OF THE ANIMALS
The geraniol solution was applied by a 5 litre market
sprayer, directly on the entire body of the animal. Each
animal received approximately 250 to 300 ml of the
solution, corresponding at 2.5 to 3 g of geraniol. The
product was applied on all body parts, including utter,
inside thighs, anal area, etc. The sprayed animals were
kept inside the barn for 24 hours, and let to graze in
the afternoon of the following day. After applying the
product, the animals were observed for in the next two
hours to note any particular clinical sign which might
occur. Clinical examinations and tick counts of both
groups (geraniol and control) were made at D7, D14
PARAMETERS OF MONITORING
Tick infestation was monitored in each test group at
D-7, D0, D7, D14 and D21. Animals were handled in
the barn and each part of the body was scrupulously
examined for tick. To avoid any bias, search and
counting of ticks were done by the same individuals
during the trial.
Ticks found after application of geraniol were removed
with tweezers, examined with a magnifying glass to
check their state and then put in vials for laboratory
identification. When female ticks were found alive
after application of geraniol, they were incubated at
27 °C with a relative humidity (RH) of 85 % for at least
seven days. This procedure made it possible to verify,
if need be, their capacity to continue their evolution.
The effect of the product sprayed on cattle was evalua-
ted by calculating the reduction in the average number
of ticks compared with the control group on D7, D14,
Statistical analysis was made with SPSS software. The
averages of tick density were compared by ANOVA.
The global threshold of signification was set at 5 %.
This study shows that 1 % geraniol was very well
tolerated by all sprayed cattle. No notable signs
of unusual reaction were noticed in groups A
or B, and three weeks after application of the product
the animals remained healthy and did not show any
abnormal clinical signs. Table I summarises the results
of tick counts in both groups made at D-7, D0, D7,
D14 and D21. It also shows the percentages of reduc-
tion in the average number of ticks. Figure 1 shows the
KHALLAAYOUNE K., BIRON J.M., CHAOUI A. & DUVALLET G.
224 Note de recherche Parasite, 2009, 16, 223-226
evolution of tick infestations in sprayed group in com-
parison with the control group.
Clinical examination on the seventh day (D7) showed
that only one cattle was infested with four ticks (Table I).
Examination of these ticks after removing them revea-
led that they were male and very active. It was sup-
posed that these ticks come from a recent infestation,
which probably occurred on the same day or one day
prior to the visit.
On the fourteenth day (D14), three of the eleven cows
from group A were infested, and hosted respectively
one, two and four ticks. These ticks were alive, and
found in the utter area. At this time, the ticks were not
removed from the animals in order to monitor the kine-
tics of tick infestations.
At three weeks (D21) post-spraying, six of the eleven
cows from group A were infested, and each one had
between two and six ticks. All ticks were alive and atta-
ched to the skin of the utter area.
Avariety of organophosphates and synthetic pyre-
throids have been used as acaricides world-
wide. These chemicals may be highly toxic to
non-target organisms and chemoresistance has also
been developed in some tick populations. Botanically
active compounds against ticks and other pest arthro-
pods have been tested by several authors and are
considered to be an alternative to synthetic pesticides
EFFICACY OF GERANIOL AS A TICK REPELLENT
Note de recherche
Parasite, 2009, 16, 223-226
(Panella et al., 2005). Recently, Cetin et al. (2009)
reported the acaricidal effects of the essential oil of Ori-
ganum minutiflorum (Lamiaceae) against Rhipicepha-
We have tested in this study the effect of geraniol
extracted from Palmarosa essential oil by Fulltec®
laboratory against Hyalomma sp. ticks in Morocco. The
product was used as a 1 % spray on cattle.
In conclusion, it can be noticed that at 1 % dilution,
geraniol was well tolerated by cattle, which did not
show any adverse events. As repellent, geraniol redu-
ced tick infestation in grazing cattle in comparison to
control animals. Following application of the product,
a significant reduction in tick number of 98.4 %, 97.3 %
and 91.3 % was observed respectively on D7, D14, and
D21 compared to the placebo group (p < 0.0001).
In grazing cattle, application of 1 % geraniol maintained
tick infestation at a significantly low level in compa-
rison to the control group (1.9 vs 21.9) for a period of
three weeks. It is suggested that 1 % geraniol could
be effective product for preventing tick infestation in
cattle, and represent an alternative of choice to avoid
development of chemoresistance of ticks.
The authors would like to express their sincere
thanks to Dr Derouich (Breeding Department),
M. El Hasnaoui, M. Daddi and M. Ferrando for
their precious technical assistance. This study was
made as a part of the GDRI-CNRS-CNRST project.
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Group A: Group B: % Statistical
Days geraniol placebo reduction significance
D-7021.5 ± 12.5 22.4 ± 10.0 – –
D0021.3 ± 12.5 22.2 ± 9.8 – –
D700.4 ± 1.2 22.8 ± 10.2 98.4 P < 0.0001
D14 0.6 ± 1.3 23,2 ± 10,1 97.3 P < 0.0001
D21 1.9 ± 2.2 21.9 ± 9.9 91.3 P < 0.0001
Table I. – Activity of 1 % geraniol in cattle, determined by the reduc-
tion in average number of ticks (average number of ticks per ani-
mal: n ± standard deviation).
Group A: geraniol
Group B: placebo
Fig. 1. – Evolution of tick infestations in sprayed and control groups,
shown by number of ticks per animal. Only live ticks found on ani-
mals are reported on the figure.
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Reçu le 17 mars 2009
Accepté le 19 mai 2009
KHALLAAYOUNE K., BIRON J.M., CHAOUI A. & DUVALLET G.
226 Note de recherche Parasite, 2009, 16, 223-226