As pest control professionals we often get asked all questions related to bugs! Especially in the warmer months when people are spending more and more times outdoors. Because of that we’ve put together this helpful guide to insect repellents.
How does bug spray work– what is the purpose, what should it do?
The sprays that we apply to our body are known as insect repellents. These work because they are able to mask the scent of carbon dioxide discouraging bugs to land on a person.
The sprays that we use to kill bugs from entering our homes is what is known as insecticides. These generally work like a nerve gas and will paralyze the insects nervous system effectively killing it.
What’s in bug spray?
As you look at bug sprays you should be sure to check active ingredients. The most common active ingredients are DEET, permethrin, and picaridin. These will all provide protection against mosquitoes. Each of these however, also have certain things you should keep in mind.
DEET: Products that contain DEET should not be used on infants under 2 months of age and children older than 2 months should only use products that contain less than 30% concentration of DEET.
Permethrin: Permethrin is designed to be used on camping equipment, clothing, etc. It’s not designed to be applied to the skin.
Picaridin: Repellents that contain picaridin can be used on either skin or on clothing. They are also safe for children.
Is Deet bad?
Deet is not bad but you should not apply concentrations higher than 30% to children. DEET is the generally considered the best repellent and one that is harmless when applied appropriately. Some people may be sensitive and have a skin reaction, but it is not harmful otherwise.
If you want a non-Deet repellent, which one should you choose?
The best options for a non-DEET repellent would be products containing Picaridin
What are your best deet free “Best bug” repellent picks you’d recommend?
For DEET free repellents I’d recommend the following: Sawyer Fisherman’s Formula Picaridin, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, Natrapel 8 Hour
How often should you apply it?
Bug sprays generally will last for several hours and should only be reapplied when necessary.