3 non-toxic ways to re­pel mos­qui­toes, ticks, and other pests

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Vera Tweed

Bug Off! Three non-toxic ways to re­pel mos­qui­toes, ticks, and other pests.


the great out­doors, but hate the idea of get­ting stung—or worse, pick­ing up a bug-borne disease? is sum­mer, put down the toxic re­pel­lents con­tain­ing chem­i­cal DEET, which has been linked to ner­vous sys­tem dam­age— and can melt plas­tic! In­stead, check out these safe, e ec­tive ways to ward o pests and treat in­sect bites.


Re­search shows that nat­u­ral in­sect re­pel­lents made with es­sen­tial oils do work, but for shorter pe­ri­ods of time than chem­i­cal sub­stances. And not all of them are equally e ec­tive against all types of in­sects. Plant oils that have re­pel­lent qual­i­ties in­clude cit­ronella, cedar, ver­bena, pen­ny­royal, gera­nium, laven­der, pine, ca­jeput, cin­na­mon, rose­mary, basil, thyme, all­spice, gar­lic, and pep­per­mint.

Neem, al­though not legally con­sid­ered an in­sect re­pel­lent in the United States, has a long his­tory of ward­ing o bugs, both as a tree in its nat­u­ral sur- round­ings and as an oil ap­plied to the skin. And a patented soy­bean oil com­bined with other plant oils (found in Buzz Away Ex­treme) has been shown in stud­ies to be as e ec­tive against sev­eral types of mos­qui­toes as a chem­i­cal for­mula with ap­prox­i­mately 7 per­cent DEET.


Cit­ronella can­dles, widely pro­moted to keep bugs at bay, have had mixed re­sults in stud­ies. How­ever, one study found that be­ing near a burn­ing cit­ronella can­dle re­duced bites by 42 per­cent. Per­haps sur­pris­ingly, be­ing near a reg­u­lar burn­ing can­dle also re­duced bites (by 23 per­cent).


If you’re into hik­ing or camp­ing, or just live in an area that’s rife with mos­qui­toes and ticks, the right cloth­ing can pro­tect you in more ways than one. Loose cloth­ing, with long sleeves and pants tucked into socks, cre­ates a phys­i­cal bar­rier against in­sects, but color also makes a di er­ence. If you wear light-col­ored cloth­ing, mos­qui­toes that bite dur­ing the day won't see you as well from a dis­tance. Once they’re closer, they rely on smell, es­pe­cially sweat and bac­te­ria on skin. In fact, peo­ple who sweat very lit­tle are less likely to get bit­ten.

Light-col­ored cloth­ing has another ad­van­tage: It makes ticks eas­ier to nd, so that you can re­move them be­fore they trans­mit in­fec­tious bac­te­ria. Af­ter a tick at­taches to skin, it takes 36-48 hours for it to trans­mit Lyme disease bac­terium, so it’s es­sen­tial to nd and de­tach them as quickly as pos­si­ble (see side­bar, left).

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