Summer is here and so are the bugs! (Mosquitos, ticks, and fleas)
What is the best product for you to use to protect yourself and your family?
There are a lot of bug sprays on the market today. Are they effective? Are they safe for you and the environment?
Deet has been shown to be one of the most effective ingredients in bug spray. It is often argued that when used as directed it is completely safe for people.
There are theories as to why Deet works, but no one has been able to say exactly why it repels bugs. The smell could be a deterrent to bugs (and people) or it makes it harder for the bugs to identify the wearer as a target.
Deet should not be sprayed onto the skin, inhaled, or ingested. This makes it a risky choice for babies and pets.
Because Deet isn't sprayed into the air as a way to repel bugs from a large area it's environmental impact is relatively low (several conflicting studies and theories no definite answer on total impact). Although Deet has been shown to be toxic to birds and fish. If you spray Deet onto yourself and then go swimming in a lake it is possible it will wash off and affect fish. Deet does break down quickly (~5 hours).
Deet can be a safe and effective way to repel bugs but it also comes with risks.
It has been shown that lemon and eucalyptus alone are just as effective as Deet.
Unlike Deet we know exactly why essential oils work to repel bugs. Plants want to be pollinated by certain bugs and repel other bugs that can be harmful to them, by smelling a certain way and having these oils in its leaves is how the plant repels the wrong bugs.
Lavender and Cedar Wood are helpful in repelling ticks.
Essential oils are safe on skin and are ok to be inhaled. Not all essential oils are food grade, and can be dangerous if enough is ingested.
Because babies are so sensitive it isn't recommended that essential oils be used on the skin of babies. They can breathe it in without problems but keep it to a minimum.
Essential oils are pet safe, unless they consume a majority of the bottle they should be fine.
At Wind Song Acres we choose to use our essential oil bug spray. We use it on ourselves and our pets. We have taken it to the rain forests of South America (Cole volunteered in a small village in the middle of the rain forest for several weeks) and it worked at repelling most of the bugs there.
While lemon and eucalyptus essential oils are as effective as Deet we added a few more. Each shown to repel a different bug and makes for a much better smelling bug spray.