Gnats, NoSeeUms and Mosquitoes, Oh My!

Warm and wet weather, typically in the summer months, bring out tiny insects that wreak havoc on outdoor events. Find out how to naturally prevent these critters from bothering you!   

Warm weather.  People love to get up and get out. BBQs. Pic nics. Outdoor sports. These can all be ruined by something that is thousands of times smaller than YOU!

Sure there’s various bug spray, but these things contain harmful ingredients and chemicals.mosquito,midge, fly

Popular bug sprays include DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide)  a chemical insect repellent against mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums (also known as midges).

DEET was developed by the Army in 1946, was made available to the public in 1957 and is included in more than 200 products, the EPA said. About a third of the U.S. population uses DEET each year. 

The U.S. Environmental Production Agency reported that exposure to DEET should be brief. About 48% of the chemical is absorbed by the skin within 6 hours.

However, some mosquitos can carry deadly illnesses including encephalitis and the West Nilus Virus.

Out of about 34 bug spray repellents on the market, about  13 use DEET ranging from 7% –  100%.

According to the Central Ohio Poison Center, DEET does have side effects, but they are very rare, and can include headaches, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and joint pain, neurological damage, and seizures (depending on prolonged use).

For children especially, non-DEET product or lower concentration is recommended.

So what’s an outdoor lover to do?

There are several alternatives to chemical bug repellants. Some natural insect repellants include:

  • Cinnamon leaf oil
  • Vanilla oil mixed with olive oil
  • Citronella soap (java citronella)
  • Catnip oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Neem oil
  • Organic soy oil
  • Lotus (as in the lotus plant)
  • Black pepper
  • Pure essential oil of citronella

Here’s a natural recipe to keep the bugs from bugging you:

Mix approximately about 30 drops of the essential oils of catnip, citronella, lavender, neem, and black pepper (about 6 drops of each essential oil) into about 30 mL total of an unscented and natural oil, organic soy oil, or moisturizer. Mix up. Keep stored in jar in a cool, dry place. Be sure to do a small skin test 24 hours before using in a more expanded area, to make sure you don’t have a reaction from any of the ingredients.

And if somehow you manage to get a bit before using any of the above oils, you can relieve the itch and swell naturally using aloe vera gel (store in the fridge for extra coolness and relief), cucumbers, chamomile, raw organic honey, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and peppermint.

So go enjoy the outdoors and be DEET-free using simple resources provided by Mother Nature herself.