After son's bout with Lyme disease, mom invents new tick repellent

The formula, called 'Atlantick', has been found to be 97.5 per cent effective.

It's been about five years now since Darian Wallet suddenly became unable to move his legs without severe pain in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. It lasted for months, forced him to use a walker, and worst of all, doctors couldn't determine why. In his words: "It was terrible."

His mother, Lisa Ali, thought it could be juvenile arthritis, but she pushed to get a test for Lyme disease and her suspicions were right: it was the result of a tick bite. Darian's brother had it too.

"When you see your child because he's in that much pain and you don't know what's going on, that really kind of wakes your system up and puts you in 'oh my God, I have to do something about this' mode," she says.

Black legged tick wikipedia commons

Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

An entrepreneur, Lisa took to the internet to begin researching how to protect her kids from ticks without using DEET, for health reasons.

She eventually came up with a new formula in coordination with researchers at Acadia University and called it "Atlantick."

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"I was terrified to let him outside because we didn't know where he got bit, we didn't see a bullseye, we didn't see a tick, we didn't see a bite mark," she tells me.

The spray hides your scent with a scent the ticks don't like.

"We figured out exactly what ticks are repelled from. We even hooked up little electrodes to the ticks' brains to measure the brain activity in accordance to scent, because ticks are all about scent. They don't have eyes. They just put their questing arms out and they have their sensory organs on their arms and they can smell you coming," Lisa says. "And they just stand there and if they like the way you smell when you brush by then they latch. If they don't like the way you smell, they wait for the next person or animal to come."

There have been several versions of the spray and she says the one that is currently being registered is 97.5 per cent effective.

For her son Darian, the spray is a huge relief.

"Now I can walk around in the forest and grass and not get any ticks," he says.