Catnip’s good for more than making your pet happy. Two Iowa State University researchers have found a chemical in catnip that works to keep bugs away.Folklore and a little research material hinted at a use for catnip, so they isolated an oil and tested it on bugs, finding it works against mosquitoes, roaches and houseflies. I-S-U entomologist Joel Coats says the compound nepetalactone extracted from household catnip has several promising compounds in it.The researchers also found some benefit from Osage Orange, (also known as hedge apples) an ugly green fruit often sold at farmers’ markets as a natural bug repellent. The find could have commercial uses, the scientists confirm, an idea that hasn’t been overlooked.The ISU Research Foundation’s already applied for a patent, and will look for some company interested in licensing rights to the discovery. Coats explains catnip works in smaller doses than the standby repellent, known as DEET.Health concerns about DEET have doctors recommending consumers use less of it, so catnip might be part of a greener alternative.Meanwhile, Coats says there’s no reason you can’t go ahead and try using catnip yourself as a do-it-yourself bug repellent. Coats and his colleague presented their research to peers at this week’s American Chemical Society meeting.