Everything about warm weather is awesome, except for bug bites. The most annoying of them all are mosquito bites. They sneak attack, you can’t even feel them land but they leave their evidence, an annoying itchy bump. Too many mosquito bites can lead to an allergic reaction. Traveling to the Caribbean and center regions of Africa and risk contracting Zika virus and other parasites from mosquito bites. While mosquitoes are an important part of our ecosystem, they are a nuisance.
Bug repellant is a huge industry, from pesticides in agriculture to healthcare issues associated with diseases contracted by bug bites. The most common way to prevent bug bites is to spray bug repellent on clothes and in wooded areas. Deet is the chemical most commonly used in these sprays. Studies have shown that mosquitoes do not like the smell of deet and avoid it. The chemical structure of it blocks the mosquitoes senses that detect “food”. Deet was first developed in 1944 as a pesticide but the military found it useful for soldiers and it eventually used by civilians in 1957.
Deet is proven effective but at what cost? Applying deet directly to skin can cause irritation, difficulty breathing, burning eyes, headaches and, in extreme cases, seizures. There is no need to risk any of these side effects when there are so many alternatives that repel bugs. Applying chemicals to wooded areas lead to contamination of the water supply and other environmental issues.
What are the alternatives? Mosquito nets can protect you. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts also help prevent mosquito bites. But mother nature has provided the antidote to every problem. There are a variety of essential oils that have proven to repel mosquitoes. Lemon eucalyptus, lavender, cinnamon, thyme, greek catnip, soybean oil, citronella, tea tree, geraniol, and neem are all oils that help repel mosquitoes. They are all effective by spraying on the skin and clothing, burning oil infused candles that emit the odor, or growing the plant that the oil originates from. Using essential oils is safe for your body, safe for the environment and smell better than bug repellents that contain deet.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance which is why bug repellant is such a huge industry. While bug repellent with deet is effective, there are many side effects associated with using it. Essential oils are a natural way to repel bug that will not cause harm to the body or the environment.