While working with a professional pest control company is usually your best bet for protecting yourself from the variety of pests around your home or business, it is also important to keep personal protection in mind. Insect repellant can help keep pests at bay and protect you from their bites. Learn more about the types of insect repellant available below so you can decide which type is best for you and your family.
Store Bought Repellant
While most people are familiar with some of the most popular insect repellant brands, many don’t know what makes them effective. Below are some of the active ingredients you might see in your favorite store bought repellants.
DEET, also called diethyltoluamide, is one of the most common and effective ingredients in repellant. It has been in use since the 1950’s, and protects those wearing it against mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and other biting insects. While available in a range of concentrations, most products made for use on human skin is 10% to 35% DEET. While it is generally considered safe for use on skin, it can cause skin irritation in some small children.
IR3535, which stands for Insect Repellant 3535, is a synthetic insect repellant that has been in use in the US since 1999 but was used in Europe for about 20 years prior to that. This compound protects against mosquitoes, biting flies, and deer ticks. IR3535 is often used by those who have skin reactions to DEET or seek to avoid it for some other reason.
Picaridin, also known as icaridin, Bayrepel, and Saltidin, is the newest widely available repellant in the United States, though like IR3535, it has been used internationally for decades. Picaridin has shown to be as effective as DEET without the potential skin irritation, which has led to it being adopted quickly by several big-name brands.
Permethrin is most commonly known as a lice treatment, but can also be used as an insect repellant. However, permethrin is not safe for prolonged skin exposure, instead meant to be used on clothing, tents, and mosquito nets. It is most often used to repel mosquitos and ticks.
Natural Bug Repellants
If you have skin reactions to store bought insect repellants or are avoiding using chemicals in your home, there are certainly some natural options for you to consider. To create your own natural bug repellant use the steps below.
- Combine equal parts water and witch hazel with a splash of vodka or rubbing alcohol; this mixture will be the base of your repellant.
- Add a small splash of glycerin. This will help keep the ingredients combined.
- Select the essential oils you feel will be most beneficial and add 100-120 drops total of essential oils for each cup of base.
Some of the essential oils you might consider using are: tea tree oil, lemongrass, eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, rosemary, clove, cedar, geranium, and mint. If you prefer to use herbs, you can boil dried peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, lavender, and catnip in a cup of water, strain and cool it, then mix the water with a cup of witch hazel. In either case, mix the spray bottle before use each time as the ingredients may separate over time.