Best Natural Bug Repellent + Safety Tips
If your family loves camping, hiking, gardening, picnicking, fishing, golfing or simply enjoying the outdoors, we have two great natural insect repellents to help keep bugs from biting, naturally!
I love being outdoors no matter what the season. But when the weather starts to warm up, I can’t wait to start hiking in the woods, working in my vegetable garden, and grilling on the patio. But with warm humid weather, comes pesky bugs.
My skin is super sensitive to synthetic chemicals, which is why I started formulating my own products back in 2001. I’ve never been able to use commercial bug repellents. The irritation and subsequent rash were worse than the itch from the bug bites.
Is DEET The Only Solution?
Everything you will read about avoiding or repelling ticks and other insects will have the word DEET in it. From the CDC to the EPA, they all recommend using DEET to protect yourself and those you love.
In an attempt to live a more natural lifestyle, I try to remove as many synthetic and toxic chemicals from my life as possible, in search of natural alternatives. Even though DEET is recommended across Government Agencies, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for my family. It’s up to each of us to make informed and educated decisions. Here is why I chose not to use DEET:
EPA – Regulating Insect Repellents
Conventional insect repellents that contain pesticides are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA evaluates and approves them for human safety and effectiveness “when applied according to instruction on the label.” They are generally synthetic materials that directly kill or inactivate the insects.
Natural bug repellents do not require EPA registration. They are known as “biochemical pesticide”. Biochemical pesticides are naturally occurring substances derived from plants, animals, and other natural materials that control pests by non-toxic mechanisms. They include ingredients like eucalyptus, lemon, citronella, lavender, etc.
The EPA has evaluated the biochemical active ingredients in natural products, like our natural organic bug repellents, for safety, but products made with these ingredients have not been evaluated for effectiveness.
The Health Hazards of DEET
While there is no argument that DEET is an effective insect repellent, there is a lot of disagreement concerning its safety. While many people use DEET-based products without any problems, others have suffered side-effects ranging from rashes and hives to neurological problems.
DEET is a registered pesticide. DEET is short for N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). It is a member of the toluene chemical family. Toluene is an organic solvent used in rubber and plastic cements and paint removers.
DEET is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and absorption continues as long as the product remains on the skin. DEET is stored in your skin, body, fat and your central nervous system. Children are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of DEET.
The Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd. reports, “Up to 56% of DEET applied topically penetrates intact human skin and 17% is absorbed into the bloodstream.” Blood concentrations of about 3 mg per liter have been reported several hours after DEET repellent was applied to skin in the prescribed fashion. DEET is also absorbed by the gut.
The most serious concerns about DEET are its effects on the central nervous system. Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals’ performance of neuro-behavioral tasks requiring muscle coordination. He found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals. Abou-Donia also found that combined exposure to DEET and permethrin, a mosquito spray ingredient, can lead to motor deficits and learning and memory dysfunction. READ MORE…
The Environmental Hazards of DEET
There are negative environmental impacts as well. DEET is a contaminant that breaks down slowly in soil.
A U.S. Geological Survey report listed DEET as one of the contaminants most frequently found in our nation’s streams. It is toxic to birds, fish, and aquatic life. When DEET is sprayed, it remains as a mist in the air where it persists until it breaks down in the atmosphere.
Are Natural Repellents Effective?
There are natural alternatives to chemical-laden insect repellents. The big concern with natural bug repellents is the effectiveness. Since the beginning of time, plants have been repelling insects and bugs to protect themselves. Since all plants produce their own natural pesticides as a chemical defense, our natural, organic insect repellents work because the active ingredients are those plant essential oils known to contain high levels of natural bug deterrents.
Research has shown that you can minimize bug bites with natural repellents in plant essential oils. Studies have shown that products containing lemon eucalyptus were more effective that products with lower concentrations of DEET. Furthermore, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these oils as an alternative to DEET.
Benefits Of DEET-Free Bug Repellent
I spend a lot of time outdoors whether around the house gardening, doing yard work, or out hiking in the woods. And while the first line of defense is to avoid getting bit by taking proactive measures to protect myself (more on that below), using a bug repellent is your second line of defense and that’s why I formulated the All Natural Bug Mist. If you are looking for a natural bug repellent, here is what our Bug Mist has to offer:
- Proven ALL NATURAL ingredients repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other insects.
- Formulated without DEET and other synthetic pesticides
- Lightweight, safe, gentle spray mist
- 100% pure, unrefined, first-pressed Jojoba Oil, naturally moisturizes, conditioning and softens skin.
- Cooling and refreshing natural fragrance
- Recyclable aluminum container
- A non-sticky spray with no residue
- HYPOALLERGENIC and non-irritating
- Gluten and nut free formula.
- A safe and effective barrier for dogs and puppies
Keep your family safe this bug season with these safety tips:
- Wear clothing that covers skin with elastic on ankles and wrists
- Tuck pants into socks
- Wear boots and hats when hiking
- Always inspect your body for ticks as soon as you come in from outdoors
- Shower within 2 hours from leaving outdoors to help wash away any unattached ticks
- Stay on trails when hiking in woods
- How to remove ticks safely. CDC Recommendations
- Tick Bites, Symptoms and Treatments
High Risk Areas For Bug-Bourne Diseases
We are always on the side of natural verses synthetic. That being said, we are also wellness advocates and understand the need to use commercial bug repellents when necessary. If you are traveling into areas that are heavily infested with mosquitoes and ticks that carry diseases, like the Zika virus or Malaria, DEET is still recommended as the most effective because it lasts longer in severe conditions. Please be sure to follow application directions to minimize risks.
The CDC website has numerous pages of information concerning insect-borne diseases, the most effective insect repellents, and travel precautions.
Goats Milk Soap Eucalyptus Wave$6.50
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SUNCARE Sun Block Body Lotion$19.95
Written By: Mary Ellen Wank, Wellness Advocate and Founder of LATIV, Natural Skin Revival DISCLAIMER
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