Insect repellent is an important tool in preventing dangerous diseases carried by various insects, like mosquitoes. It’s also good to have to help make your outdoor time much more enjoyable and bite-free.
It can be a daunting task to choose the appropriate kind of insect repellent. There are so many choices available now, so it is important to understand how the active ingredients work, how effective they are, and how long they will last. We can help you sort through the choices so you and your family can enjoy the outdoors protected from biting insects.
Repellents don’t technically “repel” insects or cause them to move away, but instead block the receptors insects use to detect their hosts. All repellents are not created equally and different factors influence the way a repellent works: an individual’s genes and diet, and what activity they might be doing (like hiking or sitting at the beach) affects how well and for how long a repellent will continue to work.
There are common active ingredients used in insect repellents, and each has a different degree of effectiveness.
DEET DEET is the shortened name of the chemical N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, which has been used since the late 1940s as a highly effective mosquito repellent, and is the standard to which the effectiveness of all other repellents are judged. It works on mosquitoes and ticks very well. It shouldn’t be used on infants younger than two months, and never around eyes, nose, or mouth. Different percentages of DEET affect how long they will remain effective. At a glance, 30 percent DEET will lend about 6 hours of protection, and 10 percent will lend about 3 hours of protection.
This product, derived from pepper, is almost as effective as DEET, but without the toxicity and allergy issues associated with DEET and works on both mosquitoes and ticks, as well as other biting insects.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
This essential oil has been seen to have a similar efficacy to a low concentration of DEET, but for a shorter period of time. It should not be used on children under three years, and may have to be reapplied more often.
Other Essential Oils
Many natural insect repellents contain a wide variety of essential oils as the active ingredient. Cedar oil, lemongrass oil, and peppermint oil are popular choices. Their efficacy varies, but they do not work well against ticks. Natural products do work for many, and are great for times you are simply in your yard or outdoors for short periods of time or in an area ticks are not known to be.
Either in a natural form or in synthetic form, Permethrin is the active ingredient that is often used on clothing and fabrics, as well as a yard spray, to combat mosquitoes and ticks. It is not used on the skin, but can create a powerful barrier against these insects.
Tips For Applying Insect Repellents
We want you to have a safe, fun time outdoors. We carry many types of insecticides but they all carry their own directions and cautions. Follow these tips to ensure you’re using insect repellent correctly.
Always apply insect repellents according to the label directions
Only apply what you need; avoid over-application
Do not apply under clothing, broken or irritated skin, or the face
Do not apply repellents on or near children’s hands or faces
Do not apply around food or drink
Apply product in a well ventilated area
Once inside, wash treated skin with soap and water and launder treated clothes before wearing again. This is very important to avoid potential toxicity and allergic reactions to active ingredients in insecticides.
Avoid combination sunscreen insect repellent products, as you may accidentally apply too much insect repellent while regularly applying the sunscreen.