I don’t like biting-bugs and garden pests any more than the next guy. But there’s something I dislike even more than the bugs; the chemicals that kill them.
I prefer an organic repellent, comprised mostly of volatile plant oils, instead of a conventional chemical-based product. Choose the better solution the next time you reach for pest control.
Biopesticides (organic repellents) are kinder, gentler, environmental solutions that don’t actually function as bug “killers”, instead they just make the environment inhospitable to the pests and the bugs just move on to a more suitable host. These repellents may include the following oils: citronella, geranium, chrysanthemum, eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint, and lemongrass.
Chemical insect repellents contain DEET and DMP; synthetic pesticides considered toxic to the human immune, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In fairness to the companies that sell these products, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers them safe as long as they are “used as directed”. This means you should do a quick hand wash once indoors, and you should not let the product come in contact with your eyes and mouth.
DEET-free, mosquito repellent products are commercially available, in many forms. You can buy pump sprays, oil-infused cloth wipes, wrist bands, anklets, and aerosols. Bug Bam! sells a line of mosquito repellent wristbands, anklets, table mats, and collar tags for your pet.
There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a pest infestation from happening at all. Mosquitoes and other biting insects love standing water, so keep your home and garden free of standing or slow moving water. Plant marigolds, sage, and rosemary. Mosquitos are very active at dawn and dusk, so wear a hat or hoodie, long-sleeve clothing, and long pants. Give the pesky little buzzers less of a hunting ground by covering as much of your skin as possible.
Resist the temptation to go for the quick-kill of the everyday, commercial, mosquito repellent. Instead, select an organic mosquito repellent that you can feel good about using on your children, your pets, and yourself.
Editors Note: photo, courtesy Ecosmart