Insect Pest Repellent – Types, Ingredients, Effectiveness and Safety Consideration
Are you interested in the best chemical and homemade insect repellent sprays, plants, oils, cream and lotions? Find out! Insects can cause a great deal of discomfort. There are those that cause damage to crops, insects that cause structural damage (termites), as well as those which feed on blood like mosquitoes and bedbugs. Our focus is not on the type of insects but on insect repellents.
All types of insects with negative impact on humans are considered as pests. Some of these transmit diseases (the anopheles mosquito notorious for transmitting Malaria) Their coming too close for comfort makes the need to repel them necessary. We will discuss quite extensively on insect repellents.
Here are some commonly asked questions when it comes to the use of natural and synthetic insect repellent sprays for bed bugs and other insects.
- What is the most effective insect repellent?
- Does insect repellent kill bugs?
- What age is DEET safe?
- Does DEET kill bugs?
- What bugs does off repel?
- What is the most effective ingredient in bug repellent?
- How long does off mosquito repellent last?
Other questions of this type have been answered in this insect repellent guide.
Natural Insect Repellents Plants and Oils
There are synthetic insect repellents as well as natural ones. Natural repellents have proven to be as effective as synthetic repellents. This has an added advantage. There are no health risks whatsoever attached to the use of natural insect repellents.
So what are these natural pest repellent plant products? They include the following;
- Neem Oil
Neem oil is known to be an effective natural insect repellent with up to 70% protection from insect lasting up to 3 hours. There has been some discovery about this oil causing skin irritation for some users. Although this is true, it is still classified as an insect repellent.
- Thyme Oil
Another natural insect repellent is thyme oil. This oil can be rubbed onto the skin to keep insects away. Thyme leaves are equally effective repellents as well. These are most useful for outdoor use (although not limited to outdoor usage). The smoke given off from burning thyme leaves repels insects from an hour to an hour and a half.
You can either apply the oil using a spray by mixing it with a small part of water or you can mix 4 drops of it with base oil and apply to skin.
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus oil has become an increasingly important repellent especially for mosquitoes. Recommended by the Centre for Disease Control CDC, this is being used as an ingredient in making other mosquito repellents. Lemon Eucalyptus oil is not to be used on children younger than 3 years. Studies have revealed that this natural repellent has a high percentage efficacy. When applied onto the skin.
- Cinnamon Oil
With Cinnamon oil, repelling insects is much more easier. For mosquitoes, not only does it kill off the eggs, but also repels and kills off the adult ones. When applying this insect repellent, it should not be applied directly onto your skin without being diluted. It is recommended that 24 drops of Cinnamon oil be applied to 4 ounces of water. It can be applied onto skin and clothing.
- Soybean Oil
This has also been found to effectively repel insects. It can be used in combination with lemongrass. Its results are far reaching bringing about great relief from insect attacks.
- Tea Tree
Apart from its many health benefits, tea tree has been found to be a great insect repellent. Although this information is limited due to its recent discovery, you can use it successfully to ward off annoying insect pests without fear of of toxicity.
Geraniol is an ingredient used in making other insect repellent. Although highly effective, it can lead to skin irritation. It should not come in contact with your eyes too. With Geraniol, you need not fear because it has no toxic content.
Chances are that you have heard this name before. However do you know its benefits? Citronella offers a natural alternative to to several other synthetic repellent.s how effective this repellent is depends on the mixture of your formula. If you get this right, its protection against insects lasts longer.
The reverse is the case when it’s not mixed in the right ratio.
Synthetic Insect Repellents
These types of insect repellents have been among the most popular with DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). and Picaridin among some of the most popular.
DEET gives the desired results in keeping insects at bay. However, you need to be careful when when using on children. It is unsafe for use on children below 6 months of age. For children between 6 months to 3 years, this insect repellent should be used on them only once daily. DEET should not be applied onto broken skin.
Because it is mostly used outdoors, you should wash off your thoroughly skin once indoors. This guards against skin irritation.
Picaridin is an alternative insect repellent to DEET however, unlike DEET which has an odour Picaridin is odourless. And less greasy. This synthetic insect repellent is used for most type of insects.
This is one of the very few synthetic insect repellent that has proven to be free of toxins. However, whether it is safe for use on children or infants is another subject for discussion altogether.
This is an effective insect repellent which has proven reliable for use in the army and also used in the treatment of all kinds of insect pests on pets with the exception of cats. It is toxic to cats. When applying Permethrin, it should not be applied directly onto the skin.
Which is the Best Insect Repellent Option to Use?
Between natural and synthetic insect repellents, a lot of questions have been raised as to which of the two is better. However there is no straight answer to this question. Each performs a specific role. People who are very cautious about the health implications of using synthetic insect repellent products will naturally gravitate towards natural insect repellents.
Synthetic repellents on the other hand last longer. However they are likely to be more irritable to the skin than not. Whichever insect repellent you prefer is totally up to you.
It has been found that DEET and Picaridin provide the best results in repelling insects than those with natural properties. They are also way more effective in the early stages than natural repellents.
Safe Use of Insect Repellents
There are safe ways to use insect repellents. This includes both natural and synthetic repellents. They include;
- KeepAway from Hand
Never allow these repellents come in contact with the hands of children. They are likely to rub their eyes with these hands or swallow this same by putting their hands in their mouth. In addition to this, repellents should be kept far away from the reach of children.
- Pregnant Women Should Avoid getting too Comfortable Around Repellents
As a pregnant woman, you should try not to get too comfortable around insect repellents. This is because it can adversely affect the foetus. Packing this away in a safe location enhances your safety and that of your unborn baby.
When applying this on children, only limited amounts should be applied. This should be done once a day to limit any irritation that may result due to frequent application.
- Never Allow Children Apply Themselves
To protect your child/children, it is best if you apply it on them yourself. Never allow them do this themselves. This is because they might end up ingesting it or mistakenly getting it into their eyes
Insect Repellent Market
There has been a steady climb in the use of insect repellents. 16 brands of insect repellent exist in the market. Out of this pack, S.C. Johnson leads the way. All insect repellent brands contain DEET. The level of DEET concentration varies based on the use. Therefore whenever you want to buy some over-the-counter repellents, only select those with right concentration for your specific needs.
The Environmental Protection Agency EPA maintains that with proper use, DEET is among the most reliable and safest insect repellents to use.
- How Innovation has Evolved how Repellents are Manufactured
Insect repellent manufacturers have adopted a variety of measures to make their products more competitive. Leading this innovative drive is S.C. Johnson. They have developed a product known as Skintastic. This contains seven and half DEET and also serves as a lotion that moisturizes the skin.
While newer and improved insect repellent products are being developed, There has been an outcry by researchers who say most of the newer products are not tested. This can pose serious health challenges for users.
- Insect Preventive Measures
While there are several types of insect repellents you can use, there are also preventive measures you can adopt. These are simple and easy to follow. They include; start using unscented deodorants shampoos and soap. Why? Because these attract insects to you. Before sitting on the floor, place a towel or handkerchief.
You should avoid spraying cologne or perfume. Insects are attracted by it. It is necessary that you carry out a body check on a daily basis. What for? To search for hidden insects which may be tucked between folds in your skin. When choosing clothing to wear, you should select those that cover all or most parts of your body. This keeps or repels insects.
We have seen that there are various types of insect repellents. These are also categorised into two main types- the natural insect repellents and synthetic repellents. We also saw that synthetic repellents are naturally stronger and last longer than natural ones.
If you were confused about which option best fits your needs, the information provided here will assist you make up your mind.
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