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Insecticides and Insect Repellants
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Insecticides and Insect Repellants
we have a 16mth old... traveling to a place
known to have evening mosquitoes... Can anyone recommend
a healthy spray to use? Has anyone ever used Repel Lemon
Eucalyptus Pump Insect Repellent - from REI?
In Bali, I used the Burt's Bees stuff that comes in the
metal bottle. I think it has lavender and eucalyptus oil
in it. My three-year-old and I survived two weeks with
perhaps zero bites. I applied the oil day and night.
I'm pregnant and planning a vacation to a tropical climate
so recently looked into safe bugsprays. I found this very
useful article on the NRDC website:
It mentions that use of lemon eucalyptus is not advised on
children under three. I ended up buying a spray with
Picaridin and used it on myself in Yosemite recently and
was quite happy with its effectiveness.
At the health food store we got Citronel Oil. Mixed
w/water in a squirt bottle. When we were camping, the
mosquitoes stayed away. Mosquitoes usually attack my
daughter & myself, and we had only a bite or two
I have used that lemon/eucalyptus spray from REI- recently, in fact. I
eaten alive when we visit my husband's family in greece, unless I use something
with DEET in it- which I know is so bad. We were there last month, and the REI
spray worked pretty well- I was surprised. And my sister-in-law, who is very
allergic to the bites, used it as well.
We will be traveling to a mosquito-y place in a few weeks,
and I am looking for recommendations of safe (non-toxic) but
effective mosquito repellent for my 9 month old and 4 yr
According to the factsheet on the ''OurWaterOurWorld'' website (which deals with less toxic
methods for dealing with
''Use insect repellents. Studies show that DEET-based repellents are the most effective.*
(DEET has been in use for 40
years. After nearly 8 billion human applications, fewer than 50 cases of serious toxic
effects have been documented in
the medical literature.) Don't use a stronger or longer-lasting product than you need. The
American Academy of
Pediatrics says that repellents with a DEET concentration of 30% are safe for both children
and adults, but that a
concentration of 10% can be used on children if there is concern about potential risks and
the threat of mosquito-borne
disease is low. Apply repellent to exposed skin and wash treated skin with soap and water
after coming indoors. Do not
apply to infants under 2 months old, and follow all directions on the product container.
Here's a link tot he full factsheet:
Bite Blocker, made from soybean, coconut, and geranium oils, is the next most effective
repellent. In one study, it
compared very favorably with a 6.65% concentration of DEET for repelling mosquitoes for 31/2
hours. Note: If
mosquito-borne disease is a serious concern, other repellents should not be relied upon for
Wristbands treated with insect repellent have been shown to be ineffective since repellents
protect only a few
centimeters from the site of application. Ultrasonic devices are also ineffective. Products
containing other plant oils,
such as citronella, have been found to provide little if any protection.''
Sorry, this is probably not what you want to hear: Our
experience is that anything less than Deet is just not
working. Yes, I hate having to use it, but it beats being
eaten by mosquitos (rates of ten bites per minute at some
places). In most cases it was sufficient to put a little bit
on the sleeves (at the wrist), the neck of the
sweater/shirt/jacket and the underside of the hat. Just be
careful, some fabrics don't like it. In extreme cases we
needed some on the cheeks, the neck, the forehead and the
back of our hands. Just get one of the dispensers with an
applicator so you don't need to get it on your fingers.
For small kids I would try to use mosquito nets wherever
I just used Bite Blocker for the first time on our
vacation in Mexico and was very happy with the results.
My 5 yr. old is highly allergic to mosquitoes and is a
mosquito magnet. He still got a few bites but nothing
like it would have been without Bite Blocker. My 3 yr old
and their 4 yr old cousin got no bites. I used this
repellent due to the research review on consumersearch.com
as well as user reviews on Amazon and Drugstore.com. From
the reviews it seemed effective for about 90% of people
who tried it. And the biggest selling point for me was
that Bite Blocker was reviewed as the ''Safest insect
repellent for kids'' by Consumer Search
(consumersearch.com - search on repellent). According to
that review, Bite Blocker is:
Considered safe for all ages and for pregnant women. Bite
Blocker uses only food-grade plant-based ingredients,
including soybean oil and geranium oil. It is effective
against black flies as well as mosquitoes and ticks. As
with most natural insect repellents, protection time
varies greatly among individuals, but it averages 90
minutes to two hours, and Bite Blocker is safe to reapply
Hope that helps!
The natural citrus oil based repellants that you can find at health food stores or
whole foods work well. You can also dry the clothes you are going to wear with
eucalyptus ''nuts'' - just throw several in to the dryer as the clothes are near
done - it is a great repellant!
Repel Lemon Eucalpytus is supposed to be as effective as DEET. I bought
mine online (drugstore.com, I think), but I saw it at Target at the beginning of
summer, and REI probably has it.
It is natural,but the smell is initially VERY strong. I spray it directly on my
boys' legs, but for their hands and neck I spray it on my hands and rub it into
them. I only apply it outdoors, and wash my hands immediately afterward.
Here is the CDC page
Here is an alternative medicine page
Lemon Eucalyptus- works & stinks
We go camping every year in an area with lots of mosquitoes.
Two of my kids, plus me, are very attractive to mosquitos.
So I have learned not to mess around with stuff that MIGHT
work but turns out not to. We use products with DEET. But I
didn't know as much about it as I thought I knew. I just
found a really informative FAQ on the CDC website about West
Nile Virus, which repellents are effective, and what is safe:
Here is the CDC's page on insect repellents:
- Four ingredients have been shown to repel mosquitoes:
DEET, Picariden, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD), IR3535
- PMD and IR3535 are ''natural'' (found in plants) but the PMD
has to be synthesized - the ''pure'' essential oil hasn't been
- Picariden is new, not available yet in California
- All four repel mosquitos with about the same effectiveness
- Concentration matters, so check the label. For all of
them, the higher the percentage, the longer it lasts. So if
you are using less than 10% concentration, expect to
re-apply after 1-2 hours. 23% lasts for 5 hours.
- PMD is not recommended for under 3 years; the others are
OK under 3 yrs but don't use on infants under 2mos
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says DEET at 30%
is safe when used according to instructions. They haven't
yet looked at the safety of PMD, Picariden, IR3535
- No serious illness has been linked to the use of DEET in
- Guidelines: don't put it on their hands, don't let them
apply it, for face: spray on your hands and then apply to
- Works on clothing as well as skin
- OK to use with sunscreen but don't use a product with
I hate mosquitos
We are taking our 2.5 yr old camping this summer. I am
anticipating lots of mosquitos due to the late rains. Can
anyone suggest a good chemical-free mosquito repellent
especially for kids and pregnant women?
-hoping for no bites
Cactus juice is great-it even smells good! We have tried many,
and it actually works and is made from cactus juice. They have a
website http://www.cactusjuicetm.com/ I don't know if there are
any local suppliers, but it is worth ordering it.
We've had good luck with the Avon Skin-So-Soft sunscreen/bug
repellent combo (the bottle is in the camping equip. so I don't
have the exact product name). You have to apply it more frequently
than you would a DEET-filled repellent, but that's a trade-off I'm
willing to make.
I went to bug-ridden Florida last summer, and use Burt's Bees
Lemongrass repellent. Totally safe, and used it on me and my baby.
Hardly a bite. I'm going out to get some more tomorrow!
Hi. Unfortunately, I don't have a good recommendation. Several
years ago, when we went to Yosemite and camping with my then-4-
year-old, I brought along several ''natural'' repellants, and
none worked well at all. He was (and is) quite sensitive to
mosquito bites, and ended up with a very puffy face. Now, if
we do an outdoorsy overnight, we bring along a mosquito net
(available at REI, and others). You have to be sure it is
tucked in all around. If we are outside in a very buggy place,
we use a repellent with about 8% DEET which works fine, though
I don't know if I would do that with a child as young as yours
(the Pediatric Association folks used to say maximum 10% DEET
for kids, but according to Consumer Reprts, they now say 30% -
higher than necessary, I think). I hope others have had luck
with some of the newer options.
We are expecting to see West Nile Virus (WNV) in California
this year. Although the attack rate may not be high, the
consequences of the disease can be long-lasting and
debilitating. For fact-based information on effective insect
repellants, and how to reduce your risk of becoming a target
for WNV, I recommend visiting the websites of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
m), the California Department of Health and Human Services WNV
website (http://westnile.ca.gov/), and DPRs website regarding
insect repellant usage
Mom and Dad are taking 2.5 year old to the Midwest for a Great Lakes
northwoods experience which will no doubt include hungry mosquitoes and
other related critters. We'd like to avoid the "Off" variety repellent and would be most
interested in any recommendations for more "natural" based, and effective, alternatives.
We just returned from a week in the North Woods in Wisconsin and we used All
Terrain: Natural herbal armor insect repellent. It's DEET free and you can get
it in a lotion or a creamy spray. It worked for us, two adults and a three year
old. We were lucky, however; the mosquitos weren't nearly as bad as we
expected. Hope you have good luck too. (If you happen to be going through
Madison on your way up north, the Willy Street Co-op on Williamson Street
carries All Terrain.)
Definately try "Skin So Soft" by Avon. Very safe,
smells better than regular bug repellants, and works.
I spent a few months in Costa Rica and learned that
normal repellents make me break out in a horribly
itchy rash, so I was "reduced" to using Skin So Soft
in what I swear was the bug capital of the world.
Worked as well for me as anyone else's repellent
My husband and I tried using all the natural stuff available to us at the
time when we were in the back country in Montana four years ago. The
mosquitos traveled in large herds and could penetrate one layer of a medium
thickness of clothing! We ended up high tailing it out of the back country and
chanced upon a mercantile in the middle of nowhere. There we bought
something with DEET in it so that we could continue our camping trip. We have
a two year old now and I abhor the idea of putting DEET on him. But the idea of
him getting eaten alive by mosquitos is not good either. Thus far we have
intentionally avoided places where the mosquitos are bad. My only suggestion if
I were in you shoes and had no choice, is to make sure the DEET came in
contact as little as possible with your child's skin. The way to do this is to dress
the child in two layers of clothing. The top layer can be sprayed with a strong
repellent containing DEET. Use the natural stuff on his/her exposed skin and
hope for the best. The key with the natural stuff is to reapply-reapply. Reuse the
cover clothing each day if you can, using fresh clothing underneath. Perhaps a
bandana sprayed with a natural repellent and wrapped around their neck would
be useful. Good luck to you.
Citronella repellants are the best bet. You can find them at natural food
stores, at least in areas where there are insects to repel.
We've had good luck using Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus, an insect
repellent and sunblock (SPF 30) combo. The SSS formula is supposed to repel
mosquitoes, deer ticks, black flies, gnats, no-seeums and biting midges, but I can
only confirm the mosquito part.
I have used insect repellents that are DEET-free (I think Cutter brand has this
feature) on my children. I have also used the Avon "Skin so Soft" brand - they
have a combination sunscreen/insect repellent that works wonderfully - I think
you can get the Avon product at shopping mall if they have a kiosk or order it
on the Web.
Avon Skin-so-soft bath oil works great! I use it too, just put it in a spray bottle.
I don't know where to get it these days- check the web, or call 411 and ask for
REI carries an insect repellant WITHOUT Deet (sp?) which is the active
ingredient in a lot of repellants. It has worked quite well for my family. Also, I
know a lot of people swear by Avon's Skin So Soft cream as an effective
We're planning a trip with my folks to South Carolina where there are often
lots of mosquitoes. Can anyone recommend an insect repellant that's safe to
use on small children (my daughter and her cousin are one year old)? And
where would we get it? Thanks!
The latest Consumer Reports has a very thorough article on insect
repellents, effectiveness and safety.
This comes from the land of 10,000 lakes, where the mosquito is known as the
state bird. (We are moving to the East Bay shortly, partly to escape the
Parents out here swear by Avon's Skin-so-Soft as a mosquito repellant for
small children, which you get by locating your local Avon Lady. There is no
scientific data supporting its efficacy, but at least it is harmless. We
used it and it appeared to help. Mosquito repellants advertised for
children typically have a smaller percentage of the active ingredient, DEET,
which can cause convulsions in infants and very small children if they are
exposed to very, very large amounts of it. We also used this, with no ill
effects. If you look hard (or have your in-laws do it out there, where you
would be more likely to find it) you can even get a version that combines
with sunscreen--also a very good idea during the summer in the South.
I can't recommend any but would like to share my daughter's experience
When she was 17 months old someone lent me a bit of insect repellant
which contained citronella. This person said she used it all the time
on her kids, and I'm sure many kids can use it. However, my daughter
developed a reaction to it that landed her in intensive care and was
an extremely frightening experience for all of us. We were on vacation
at the time in Mexico, far from any hospitals-it was a nightmare,
basically her system started to shut down. I mention this so that
you don't try new insect repellant products on your children when
you are on a trip, possibly far from doctors etc. and just to be aware
that any repellant type product, even "natural" ones can be potentially
harmful if your child reacts to it. The pediatricians said that children
absorb chemicals through their skin very easily and since their systems
are smaller, even a small amount can be toxic to them, again if they react.
While I'm sure my daughter is in the minority, I just wanted to share this
with other parents.
I don't know of any insect repellent that is safe for anyone but I've heard
that when you eat Brewer's Yeast your skin has a smell that mosquitos don't
like. I also had heard the same for dogs and fleas. I used to feed it to my
dog daily and she never had a bad flea problem. I eat Brewer's yeast every
morning and I don't seem to get bitten when other people do....who knows!!!!
I grew up in Alabama, and I can tell you this: don't mess around when
you are talking about mosquitos. Get an over-the-counter repellant for
your kids and use it. Mosquitos in the South have been known to carry all sorts of
nasty diseases, including encephalitis. You don't want to take any
chances getting bit. Not to mention that those bites
itch the living daylights out of your poor little child.
this page was last updated: Jul 17, 2012
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