If you’re going camping or just spending time in your backyard, you’ll want to bring an insect spray with you. If you’re worried about mosquitoes, basic mosquito repellents will do the trick, but you’ll also want to use a bug repellent that keeps off all kinds of pesky bugs (and the illnesses they bring).
There are several different types of repellents, such as aerosol sprays, lotions, pump sprays, wipes, and wearable devices like wristbands, that may be used. They may be made from synthetic chemicals or natural materials. How long a mosquito repellent will keep you protected is determined by the concentration of the active component in the repellent.
When it comes to insect sprays, DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the most effective ingredient according to decades of study.
However, it’s worth noting that there are less harmful and more effective alternatives to DEET, like picaridin and permethrin. But these alternatives are still being tested by the scientific community. Some natural insect repellents are safe for those who are allergic to DEET or other chemical sprays, though.
Bug spray for infants under six months old is not recommended by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). Permethrin-treated clothing is recommended. Picaridin is the safest insect spray for children after the age of six months.
It is important to use the proper repellant. In this post, we’ll go over the most important reasons why purchasing retail insect repellent might be good or harmful to your health, the proper technique to apply one, as well as some considerations to keep in mind if you do decide to purchase one.
Information about the ingredients
When purchasing an insect repellent, you may not think about reading the label. That’s a mistake since learning about its active component and concentration levels are important for both efficacy and safety considerations.
Many individuals believe that the higher the concentration of DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) in a product, the better. However, studies have shown that greater concentrations of DEET are not required; solutions containing 15% to 30% DEET may offer long-lasting protection against mosquitoes and ticks.
Furthermore, some studies show the potential hazards connected to DEET, such as rashes and even convulsions, which may manifest themselves when an excessive amount of the substance is used.
As a result, everyone should avoid repellents containing more than 30% DEET in their formulation. When the concentration of DEET is less than 30%, it is safe to use for pregnant women and children who are at least two months old. However, it is vital not to go too low; in many testings, products containing just 10% or 7% DEET failed to perform well.
The black pepper plant naturally contains an insect repellent, which is where this synthetic repellent is derived from.
Picaridin is deemed safe for use on newborns who are at least 2 months old and on pregnant women, but it has the potential to cause skin and eye irritation. Act with care when administering it to babies.
Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
In this case, the naturally occurring substance is derived from the gum eucalyptus tree and it has been purified for use.
Although it may cause transient eye harm, OLE seems to be quite safe when administered as directed by a trained professional. It is safe to use during pregnancy, however, the Therapeutic Goods Administration advises against using it on children less than three years old.
IR3535 and 2-Undecanone
IR3535 is a synthetic molecule that is structurally identical to an amino acid that occurs naturally in the environment.
Furthermore, 2-undecanoate is a synthetic form of a chemical that can be found in rue, wild tomatoes, and many other plants. Even while both products seem to be safe, they should be used with care, particularly on youngsters, as should be the case with any repellent.
Things to Consider
Keep a watch out for repellents that claim to be “natural.”
Several “natural” insect repellent manufacturers claim that their products may assist to keep mosquitoes away, including those that transmit the Zika virus. Essential plant oils like cedar, citronella, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, and rosemary are often used in the manufacture of these goods.
Don’t make a purchase just based on an ingredient or concentration.
Picaridin is included in several top-rated goods as well as in some lower-rated insecticides. Concentration and form are most likely responsible for part of the difference.
Insect repellent products that receive high marks in relevant tests include those with a good concentration of a certain ingredient. Whereas those that don’t do well contained less of insect-repelling chemicals or were in the form of lotions or wipes.
Don’t use products that include both sunscreen and insect repellent.
Because sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours and repellents should be reapplied every 2 hours, the user may be exposed to excessive amounts of chemicals.
Citronella, geranium, peppermint, and soybean oil are just a few of the “natural” insect-repellent compounds that may be found on the marketplace. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided that they are safe but has not assessed their effectiveness yet.
The majority of them repel insects for just a brief period. Furthermore, certain natural repellents might cause skin discomfort when used topically.
Other items that have not been demonstrated to be effective against mosquitoes include bracelets drenched in chemical repellents and ultrasonic gadgets that emit sound waves that are intended to keep insects away from the user’s body.
If you are not concerned about contracting a major insect-borne disease, natural and other alternative repellents may be a fine option for you. It is recommended to use DEET or picaridin or other authorised effective products if there is a public health risk, such as the possibility of Lyme disease in an area where ticks are known to be present.
The Proper Way of Applying Insect Repellents
It is important to apply and use sunscreen correctly to get the optimal “natural” insect repellent protection that manufacturers claim while also avoiding potential adverse effects such as skin or eye discomfort. That means:
- Only apply repellant to skin or clothing that has been exposed (as directed on the product label). It should never be worn below garments.
- Use just as much as is necessary to cover the area and only for as long as is necessary; higher dosages are not more effective and may raise hazards.
- Avoid applying repellents to cuts, wounds, or irritated areas of the skin. When applying to your face, spray first on your palms and then massage in, avoiding your eyes and lips.
- Please do not allow people under the age of 18 to apply insect repellents alone. Instead, rub it into your skin with your own hands after massaging it into your skin. Children’s hands should be kept to a minimum since they are prone to putting their hands in their eyes and mouths while they are playing.
- Avoid using near food, and wash your hands thoroughly after applying and before eating or drinking anything.
- When the day is through, wash the skin that has been treated with soap and water. Wash treated clothes in a separate washing machine before wearing them again.
- If you’re thinking about using repellents on your garments, keep in mind that the majority of repellents are harmful to leather and vinyl; and several of them stain synthetic materials.
Keep in consideration how long you’ll need to protect yourself when selecting an insect repellent while making your selection.
The use of insect repellent is necessary during the hotter months of the year in Australia, when bugs and mosquitoes show up as you lounge just outside the door, near the barbeque; and arrive unannounced on the beach or by the swimming pool.
Not to mention the tens of thousands of mosquitoes we are subjected to during camping excursions when we are outside virtually 24 hours each day.
While you may be weighing your options when using mainstream insect repellents, remember that there is a safer and more effective alternative—guaranteed to keep creepy-crawlies at bay for as long as possible.
For long-term solutions to your bug problems, contact our expert pest control crew here at Pest Police. With our expertise, we can assess and plan a course of action to keep your space free from unwanted bugs all year long.