On-host behaviour of Rhipicephalus appendiculatus was studied in the field in Bungoma County in Kenya to evaluate the putative repellent effects of essential oils of Tagetes minuta and Tithonia diversifolia at its predilection feeding site. Oils of both plants caused a disruption of orientation, movement and attachment behaviour of ticks. More ticks dropped off in the treatments with the two essential oils than with the control. Treating the ear pinna with the essential oil of T. minuta caused the highest percentage of ticks to drop off the host body. No tick reached the ear pinna treated with the essential oil of T. minuta and up to 30% of ticks (from the forehead release site) reached the ear base. When the ear pinna was treated with the essential oil of T. diversifolia, one tick reached the ear pinna and up to 40% of ticks (from the dewlap release site) reached the ear base. The results show that T. minuta repels ticks more strongly than T. diversifolia. However, both essential oils offer possibilities for exploitation of potentially effective and environmentally acceptable tools for on-host tick control.