Summer is the season that the bugs come out and if you live in the northern hemisphere, you will be starting to look for ways to keep these unpleasant insects from bothering you. Some people swear by natural bug repellents, others prefer to go with the fiercest chemicals they can find. In this article, we discuss the best mosquito and tick repellents for keeping you bite-free this summer.
Mosquito and tick repellent guide
Going the chemical repellent route:
When it comes to chemical repellents, most repellents against both mosquitoes and ticks contain DEET. DEET is a member of the toluene chemical family and is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Many people are increasingly concerned that DEET can cause health and environmental problems, although if you are visiting places with a high-risk for mosquito-borne diseases like Zika or Malaria, DEET is recommended.
If however, you are just going hiking or sitting in your garden, or have young children, you might like to choose a more natural repellent like one of these:
Going the natural repellent route:
Natural repellents for both mosquitoes and ticks involve using herbs and oils to keep these bugs away from both you and your garden. If you’d like to keep your garden tick free, you can consider planting any of the following herbs that do a job of keeping ticks away. Most of these herbs also fend off mosquitos and when used in essential oils, can be applied to your body to be used as a mosquito repellent:
- Sweetgrass: New research has found that sweetgrass, which is a grass found in meadows in northern climates, works just as well as the chemical DEET for fending off blood-sucking insects.
- Lavender: Crushed lavender flowers produce both a fragrance and oil that repels mosquitoes, and the plant naturally grown in the garden keeps ticks away. Lavender is also famous for its soothing and antiseptic qualities and the oil can be rubbed on bites to help ease the itch.
- Citronella: Citronella is famous for being a strong mosquito repellent and if you light a citronella candle outdoors you will have even extra protection.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil with lemon is one of the well-known natural insect repellents and a study has found that if your mixture contains 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil, you have 95 percent protection against mosquitoes for three hours.
- Tea tree oil: This oil is from Australia and studies have shown that it may be an effective repellent against mosquitoes, bush flies and biting midges. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Thyme oil: Thyme is a versatile herb to grow in your garden, it’s wonderful for cooking and thyme oil is regarded as one of the best oils for providing protection against mosquitoes. If you are camping outside, you can even add to your protection by throwing some thyme leaves onto the campfire for protection for 60 – 90 minutes.
If you do get mosquito bites, you can try a natural remedy like rubbing apple cider vinegar at the site of the bite or placing a slice of raw onion or garlic over it. Calamine lotion is also a good over-the-counter option. Tick bites are often harmless, however they can cause allergic reactions and can occasionally pass on dangerous diseases to people and pets. If you are concerned about any bite, you should immediately consult your doctor.
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