As summer approaches, we venture outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Along with the lazy, sun drenched afternoons spent lounging on deserted beaches (hey, we can pretend, right?), comes a swarm of insects and other pests ready to turn your summer dreams into a bug-bitten nightmare. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbeque or settling in around a smoldering campfire, selecting a bug repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other pests remains an important part of enjoying outdoor activities.
However, as we coat ourselves in glossy layers of foul-smelling repellants formulated to protect us from unwanted pests, we must consider the equally harmful ingredients found in many insect repellent products. Dripping with DEET and other chemicals, mainstream bug sprays may actually be as damaging to our bodies and the environment as they are to insects.
We don’t want to make this post any longer than it has to be, but Let’s take a look at DEET, one of the more nefarious ingredients found in many insect repellants:
Registered pesticide (US EPA 2007).
Often used in rubber and plastic cements as well as paint removers (EHANS 2003).
Caused the impairment of Central Nervous system function in rats given normal human dosage as documented by a Duke University Study (EHANS 2003).
Memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors, and shortness of breath in humans after heavy exposure or prolonged use (Quantum Health).
Increases in toxicity when used in conjunction with other chemicals often found in bug repellents (EHANS 2003).
Native Sun Verdict: Regardless of the arguments for or against DEET, I would prefer to enjoy my outdoor endeavors without the possibility of losing basic motor functions controlled by my central nervous system after coating myself in bug spray (Canoeing is hard enough without battling pesticide induced memory loss or shortness of breath. Who knew paddling was so hard? And why can’t I remember where our campsite was?). When there are plenty of natural bug repellents available, not using DEET seems like a no-brainer.
So you’ve decided to go natural. Now what?
At Native Sun we have several ready-made bug repellants free of DEET, Parabins, GMOs, synthetic chemicals and fragrance oils:
All Terrain Herbal Armor Spray $9.49 (4oz)
Badger Anti-Bug Spray $11.39 (4oz)
Botanical Solutions Biteguard Jr. $11.89 (4oz)
Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent $6.89 (4oz)
Jade & Pearl Beat It Spray $11.39 (4oz) / $14.99 (8oz)
Jason Quit Buggin Me Lotion $3.79 (3oz)
Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme $8.39 (4oz)
Still not satisfied? We have a great selection of essential oils that can turn the tide in the fight against biting insects! The following oils are recognized for their natural bug repelling abilities:
Note: Some essential oils can irritate the skin. Make sure to follow label precautions and dilute oils accordingly.
Citronella $3.89 (.5oz)
Eucalyptus $5.39 (.5oz)
Lavender $9.97 (.5oz)
Lemon $5.39 (.5oz)
Peppermint $7.79 (.5oz)
Rosemary $5.49 (.5oz)
Directions: Add 1 ounce of essential oil to 10 ounces of witch hazel, vodka, or a carrier oil (Example: olive oil). Shake. Repel Bugs!