Mosquito Factoid: Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They need our human blood in order to lay their eggs.
Female mosquitoes happen to love my family. Wherever we are they find us, especially our legs and ankles. Since we love spending time outdoors, I have been on mission to find a bug repellent that’s safe and actually keeps the bugs away. It’s been no easy task.
DEET is the most widely used insect repellent in the US and is the leading ingredient in most conventional bug repellants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that as long as consumers follow label directions, insect repellents containing DEET aren’t dangerous. The tricky part is following the directions-most of us don’t and we end up applying too much bug repellent and leave it on our skin for far too long. DEET then becomes highly toxic.
Expert’s report that up to 56% of DEET applied to the skin penetrates the skin and about 17% is absorbed into the blood stream. DEET has been known to act as a skin irritant. Long-term exposure to DEET has been linked dangerous health effects even at low doses. There is also evidence that DEET functions in the same way as deadly nerve gases and dangerous pesticides, by attacking the nervous systems of both insects and mammals. Previous studies have shown DEET can cause seizures in children.
4 DEET-free bug repellents
There are many natural alternatives to bug repellents containing DEET -most are a combination of several essential oils that are known to deter bugs.
- EcoSMART We have been using EcoSmart for a few weeks and it seems to be working well. The main ingredients are wintergreen oil, rosemary oil and geraniol. My kids don’t mind the light scent and the bugs don’t like it at all.
BITE METER: Few to no bites. Reapplication needed on a regular basis.
- Purple Prairie The makers of fabulous Purple Prairie SunStuff have created a bug repellent that comes in a spray or a lotion. They both are made from a blend of essential oils and plant extracts. The spray is made from a non oily witch hazel and water base. Purple Prairie claims that both work to sooth bites too!
BITE METER: Jury is out –I haven’t tried this one yet. I will update once this product arrives.
- All Terrain Herbal Armor Made from citronella, soybean, peppermint oil, cedar, lemongrass and geranium oil. Rave reviews all around on this one. NOTE: This repellent sprays on as a lotion and then is rubbed into the skin.
BITE METER: Not many bites at all. If you don’t mind rubbing on the lotion it works well.
- Buzzaway Extreme Contains a blend of wintergreen, citronella, cedarwood, peppermint and lemongrass oils. Has a strong scent, but not as strong as a bug repellent with DEET.
BITE METER: Few to no bites. Reapply often and it works well.
How do you keep the bugs away?
Disclosure: There are a few Amazon Affiliate links in this post. If you happen to order bug repellent through those links it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!
[Top photo used under Creative Commons from Andrew Magill/Flickr]
[Mosquito photo used under Creative Commons from Leszek Leszczynski/Flickr]