We know with the warm weather comes those pesky bugs. Whether you want to ward off ticks or keep the mosquitos at bay, there’s a few natural products you can use.
But first, WHY use natural bug repellents. Just like anything you put on your skin (like deodorant and sunscreen), conventional bug sprays contain artificial fragrances and nasty chemicals that your body needs to detoxify. DEET in particular has been shown to cause neurological damage when used in high doses and can irritate the eyes and skin when used in excess. Another chemical used in conventional sunscreens and bug sprays is IR3535. “Like DEET, IR3535 may dissolve or damage plastics”. Say what? If it can dissolve plastic, how does one think that means it’s safe for skin?
And that is why we like to stick to the natural stuff. Here are 4 of the bug sprays we carry (plus a recipe to make your own outdoor spray!)
As you may guess by the name, AtlanTick spray is used to ward off ticks. It came together when the company partnered with Acadia University to develop a safe and natural bug repellent for both dogs and humans. Through their testing at the university, AtlanTick has “created a formula that is proven to be effective and able to stand up to competing DEET-based repellents.”
This is another bug spray used to deter a wide range of bugs – from mosquitos and ticks to fleas, lice and bedbugs. It uses a combination of various essential oils like peppermint, lemon, clove, and basil, among other scents as well.
Druide is an EcoCert company which guarantees their products meet strict standards of certified organic ingredients and preservation of the environment and its consumers. Their citronella products are free of synthetic ingredients. The citronella oil is the star ingredient and is said to protect against mosquiotes, biting flies and ticks. Citronella is the oil extracted from lemongrass leaves and has been seen to have a 100% repellency effect on mosquitoes for up to 11 hours when undiluted. In a mixed oil solution, citronella can repel up to 8 hours!
A little different from the spray repellents, Mozi-Q is a little tablet you consume orally. It’s a formula that uses 5 homeopathic remedies that when combined has a 90% effective rate! From personal experience of 1 hour long ultimate frisbee games in a mosquito infected park, I can attest to Mozi-Q working! I will say that it probably only last 30 minutes though so if you’re around mosquitoes for a long period of time, you may want to have a few on hand or natural bug spray for backup. It’s also safe for pets and protects them from mosquitos, ticks and black flies.
DIY Outdoor Spray
According to studies, there are many essential oils that can repel bugs. The highest repellency effect (we’re talking up to 11 hours of protection) was identified from citronella, pine, rosewood and peppermint oils. Other oils such as lavender, camphor, catnip, geranium, jasmine, eucalyptus, lemongrass, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon oil, juniper, rosemary, niaouli, olive, violet, and sandalwood also showed repellency up to 8 hours from mosquitoes. So there are many scents to choose from when creating your own outdoor spray. Witch hazel is a nice toner for the skin which is why it’s been added to this spray.
This spray below is great to avoid those mosquitoes though we can’t confirm whether or not ticks are a fan of it or not.
To a 4oz spray bottle add:
2oz witch hazel
2oz distilled water
¾ tsp 100 proof vodka (optional)
10 drops of lemongrass essential oil
5 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of peppermint essential oil
5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
A few more tips
Here are a few other tips to avoid bug bites:
- when hiking, wear high socks and pull them above your pants (this is so ticks don’t crawl up your pant leg)
- mosquitos can’t see colour very well so wearing black makes you an easy target
- the worst is getting a mosquito bite on the toes so try to wear closed toe shoes when in fields, near water (like the river path) or in the mountains. If you must wear sandals, make sure to spray repellent on your feet
- if you’re okay with looking like a bit of a dork, wear a bug net! At least you’ll be a dork that doesn’t have any bug bites