Summer is a wonderful time of the year. BBQ, swimming, baseball and many activities that are spent outside in summer. Unfortunately, the down side is that it is the time for bug bites. Summer brings all kinds of bug bites from mosquitoes to ticks. And with the bug bites come the diseases including Lyme’s or West Nile virus. With this threat a person wants to bath their kids and themselves with bug repellant however many bug sprays have toxins and chemicals. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using repellents with no more than a 30 percent concentration of DEET for kids over 2 months. Don’t apply insect repellent to kids younger than 2 months. If you’re not going to be outdoors as long, you may want to choose a repellent with a lower concentration of DEET. A 10 percent concentration of DEET protects for about two hours. If possible it is recommended to put DEET on your clothing instead of your skin. Never apply DEET to your children’s hands or skin directly. Even though the EPA has deemed DEET as safe many people prefer not to use repellants with this DEET. Are there any natural repellants available? The good news is yes there are natural bug repellants for your kids, pets, and garden and for you.
A 2002 study of mosquito repellants found that soy based repellant with most effective natural alternative to DEET. It repelled bugs for more than 90 minutes. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is natural oil, which comes from the lemon eucalyptus tree, is recommended by the CDC as an alternative to DEET. Several studies have found this natural bug repellent as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. It may also work well against ticks. Oil of lemon eucalyptus may be poisonous if ingested in high quantities. CDC recommends it should not be used on kids under 3. Other notable mentions include citronella, peppermint oil, catnip, lemongrass, cedar wood, tea tree oil, pennyroyal, eucalyptus oil and geranium. Another worthy mention is isolongifolenone; a natural compound found in the Tauroniro tree of South America, has been found to be an effective repellant of both mosquitoes and ticks (Science Daily Feb 9, 2009).
Other measures to repel the unwanted bugs are as follows:
- Wear long sleeves and pants. A good form of natural insect control is to cover your arms and legs. While a mosquito might be able to get through very thin clothing, moderately thick fabric will stop them.
- Mosquitoes have trouble maneuvering in wind. So when you’re sitting out on our porch, think about using a window fan or overhead fan. The mosquitoes will have trouble getting near you.
- Eliminate standing water in your yard, which will prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Empty bird baths, wading pools, pet’s water dish and fill puddles with dirt.
- Citronella candles. However it is debatable whether or not these are effective.
- Bug zappers and ultrasonic devices have proven ineffective.
- Ultrasonic traps are still new to the scene. One must decide which is better the bug or the device which may run on gas-powered engine.
- Permethrin-treated products, which is a chemical repellent that’s added to some clothing, shoes, and camping gear. However, like DEET, permethrin is a neurotoxin that can affect the nervous system.
- Planting marigolds in the yard works as a bug repellent because bugs do not like the fragrance of marigolds