Before you start looking for a natural bug repellent, it’s important to know what you’re up against. Insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide individuals exhale and produce lactic acid from their sweat. Because of this, wearing perfume can often attract more bugs than not wearing anything at all. When choosing natural bug repellents, there are some basic things that you should look for:
Know What Bugs You Are Trying to Repel
Different types of bug repellents work against different bugs. For example, DEET is effective against mosquitoes and no-see-ums (biting midges), but it does not protect against ticks or chiggers. And even within one type of bug, each different chemical has its effectiveness rating. This rating is called the dose-response curve because it tells how well the chemical works at various concentrations.
Know The Dosage You’re Getting
Not all repellents are created equal in terms of concentration levels. Some work better than others, but this information may not always be readily available when shopping around. One way to find out which products have the strongest concentration level is to look into independent studies conducted on the various brands.
Know How Long It Lasts
Many repellents do not last as long as the more powerful synthetic ones. For instance, a good DEET-based product can work for up to ten hours, while a truly effective natural repellent may only work for two hours. If you are going to be outside all day during mosquito season, you will want something that lasts longer than a natural product. On the other hand, if you’re doing some weekend yard work and won’t be out in nature that long, then a natural product might be perfect for your needs.
Know What the Insecticide Ingredients Are
To avoid putting toxic chemicals on their skin, many people turn to sprays containing natural ingredients, but because an insecticide is made from a natural source doesn’t mean it’s safe. For example, pennyroyal oil, used in some popular natural bug repellent, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin.
Several bug repellents work wonderfully. However, you should always test a small patch of skin first to ensure it’s safe for your body. These can be just as effective as any other product when used properly without the added chemicals and toxins found in many conventional bug sprays.