The warm temperatures at present are not only a joy for sun-worshippers but also for mosquitoes, ticks and other blood-sucking insects. The risk of being bitten is increasing, according to Germany’s Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), as it warns of a mosquito plague caused by the mild early summer weather.
Since summer 2015, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (Friedrich-Löffler-Institut, FLI) has registered a spread of the dangerous Asian tiger mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus. The insect has already been recorded in around 70 countries. And for some years, the Robert Koch Institute has been reporting an increase in cases of dangerous tick-borne encephalitis.
Effective protection against these blood-sucking nuisances is therefore more important than ever, with insect repellents the products of choice. The most effective preparations, including Autan – ranked first by German consumer journal “Stiftung Warentest” in its May 2017 assessment – have one thing in common: the active substance Icaridin. This is produced by Saltigo, a subsidiary of specialty chemicals company LANXESS, and marketed under the brand name Saltidin. Demand for Saltidin is so high that Saltigo last year expanded its production capacity by 50 percent. The active substance is manufactured in Leverkusen and Dormagen, Germany, and marketed worldwide.
The way Saltidin works couldn’t be simpler. “Insects locate their blood hosts by detecting exhaled carbon dioxide and the human body’s specific scent patterns,” explains Andreas Klein, head of Marketing and Sales at Saltigo. The insect repellent forms a protective layer on the skin. “This masks a person’s characteristic odor so ticks and mosquitoes are no longer attracted,” Klein continues.