Find out more about the Most Effective Mosquito Repellents
This spring at the cabin it has been so wet and our summer hasn’t started out much better. We really do need the moisture though after the forest fires from the last two years but the mosquito population is now at an all time high.
On a good note the wet weather has grown the largest wild strawberries I’ve seen, but to get out picking without being attacked by the mosquitos is the biggest challenge this year.
I make my own deet free mosquito repellent spray which works really well, but this year we have to reapply more often and have also looked at other alternatives so we can spend some time outdoors without the constant attack of mosquitos.
I have found that using our spray when out and about works the best, and found another great product for around the deck.
We had a birthday party a few weeks ago and I was amazed at how well this product worked in keeping the bugs away. I believe it’s a relatively new product Thermacell.
Other things we have use are the mosquito zappers and at the house in town the electric mosquito zappers.
As for those sprays, most people reach for the most popular insect repellents, which usually contain the pesticide DEET.
While these insect repellents are effective for most people, they can also cause harmful side effects, especially when used on young children.
The Deet Free Insect Repellent that I made, I had been selling at the local Farmer’s Market along with my soap, but had to quit due the requirements from Health Canada which were far too expensive for a small home based business. There were a handful of people in our area that were told to stop producing and making natural repellent by Health Canada. I was one of those.
I still make my spray for family, and myself but cannot sell it to anyone.
Harmful Side Effects of Mosquito Spray Containing DEET
Mohamed Abou-Donia, a pharmacologist at the Duke University Medical Center has studied the effects of DEET containing mosquito spray for the past 30 years. According to the Duke University Medical Center News Office, he has found that the chemical repellent can cause changes in the brain, especially when exposure is prolonged.
These changes include muscle weakness, problems with coordination, walking, memory and cognition. Younger children are more susceptible to the effects of the chemical, needing less exposure time to suffer the deleterious neurological effects. DEET containing products should never be used on an infant.
Abou-Donia also found that exposure to DEET alone causes less damage than exposure to DEET and other chemicals simultaneously. People who take prescription medications while using bug repellent that contain DEET could be at greater risk for neurological changes.
Benefits of Natural Insect Repellent
Natural repellents are a great alternative to repellents containing DEET, some of them can be just as effective without the harmful side effects and they don’t contain artificial ingredients such as fragrances or preservatives. For people who have skin sensitivities this is a real benefit.
Most DEET free insect repellents don’t smell like bug spray. In fact, natural repellents that contain essential oils such as lemongrass, and eucalyptus have a pleasant scent that can have a relaxing effect on you and those around you.
Bug repellent that is DEET free is also typically less expensive than their DEET containing counterparts. Because they are nontoxic, they can be used on you, your pets, in your home and even in your garden. This can help alleviate the cost of various expensive insecticides.
DEET free insect repellent also protects against other pests such as ticks and fleas. They are much safer to use on pets than typical commercial flea treatments and are just as effective. For pets with skin sensitivities or allergies that cannot use commercial flea treatments, natural insect repellent can be a lifesaver.
Ingredients Used in Natural Insect Repellent
Common ingredients found in DEET free insect repellents could be a combination of essential oils to produce the desired effect such as Lemongrass, citronella and eucalyptus which are potent insect repellents that mosquitoes, ticks and fleas despise.
Lemongrass repels fleas, ticks, lice and mosquitoes. Citronella is well known for its ability to repel mosquitoes and is typically added to candles for this purpose. Eucalyptus repels mosquitoes as well as no-see-ums, fleas, sandflies and other biting pests. When put together, these three essential oils provide complete protection that will last for several hours.
Mosquito Repellents for your Patio or Outdoor Living Space
The Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller is the one we use on our deck. It doesn’t require electricity and really does effectively repels mosquitoes, and as the Thermacell claims to create a 15-foot zone of protection I find this to be true.
This product is compact and easy-to-use, and I can say it really did keep the mosquitos away from biting us and our guests. It is also a very reasonably priced product.
The Electric Bug Zapper
This device can be used indoors or out, I have two of these hanging outside my house, one on each end. They are great for flies as well as other flying insects as well. With the high frequency purple light it lures flying insects by day or night and zaps them as they come in contact with the electonically charged metal grid.
Mosquito Netting and Hats
Another way to help from getting bit when working outside is to wear a mosquito net hat. I usually wear one of these when mowing the tall grass, those pesty mosquitos just love to lay wait in that tall grass.
We have some neighbors that live remote close to a lake and have found the mosquitos get into their cabin via the stove pipe. We have not had this problem but to solve the night bites they cover their bed with a mosquito netting. Here is what they recommend for the best bed canopy mosquito net.
Other products you may want to check out when living with a mosquito population larger than you would like are:
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