I am a mosquito magnet. I’m not exaggerating. They always gravitate towards me, choosing to bite me and not whoever I’m standing next to. So bug spray is serious business for me if I’m going to spend any time outdoors in the summer (even just trying to grab a few leaves of kale from the garden is enough to warrant a few bites). The problem of course is that most bug sprays out there are full of nasty toxins.
Environmental Defence has a great information sheet about insect repellent you can download. It has some great tips (many of which I didn’t know until I read it) like:
- don’t go outside 30 minutes before/after dawn/dusk (mosquitoes are most active then)
- mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours
- bug zappers, treated wristbands, & candles are not effective (I definitely didn’t know that!)
Healthy Child Healthy World also has a great article about how to beat bug bites.
Just be careful about the bug spray you decide to buy. For example, Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard was suggested to me as a good natural alternative – and then I looked up the ingredients. I could only find them for the old formulation, and they didn’t look good. Avon Skin So Soft products have EWG (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep ratings between 5 to 8 (ratings are on a scale of 0-10, with 0-2 considered low hazard, 3-6 moderate hazard, and 7-10 high hazard), though the new Bug Guard formulation is not in the database yet. The current formula contains Picaridin, which doesn’t have neurotoxicity concerns the way DEET does, but it hasn’t been tested over the long term so we can’t be sure about its effects. I can’t find an actual ingredients list of the product anywhere, which to me, raises warning bells.
I have recently gotten to try the Young Living Outdoor Blend, which is a light lotion that rubs easily into the skin. It smells amazing and doesn’t feel sticky or gross.
If you’re into DIY with essential oils, you can easily make your own bug spray! I have been making my DIY Outdoor Spray for a couple of years now and I notice a HUGE difference when I’ve sprayed myself and when I haven’t. Overthrow Martha also has a recipe for bug spray with SPF in either a body butter or a spray.