“Five of the six plant-based repellents we tested—All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor, Burt’s Bees Herbal, California Baby Natural Bug Blend, Cutter Natural, and EcoSmart Organic—lasted one hour or less against Aedes mosquitoes, the kind that can spread Zika. (Note that despite its name, EcoSmart Organic does not contain certified organic ingredients or bear the Department of Agriculture’s organic seal.)
Daniel Fabricant, the executive director and CEO of the National Products Association, a trade group, says there is variation in the effectiveness of natural insect repellents, just as there are for other kinds of repellents.
In fact, Consumer Reports did identify one mosquito repellent that uses a natural plant oil as its active ingredient that worked well: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, 30 percent (shown above). This insect repellent warded off Aedes mosquitoes, Culex mosquitoes (which can spread West Nile), and ticks (which can spread Lyme) for at least 7 hours.
Other Safe and Effective Repellents
Several other repellents also did well in our tests: Those with 20 percent picaridin (a synthetic compound resembling a chemical in the black pepper plant), including Sawyer Picardin and Natrapel 8 Hour; and those with 15 to 30 percent deet, including Ben’s 30% Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula, Repel Scented Family (15 percent deet), and Off! Deepwoods VIII (25 percent deet).
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection says that all of those ingredients—including deet—are safe, even if you’re pregnant, provided you use them properly.
How to Use Repellents Safely
All repellents can cause side effects, especially if you apply too much of it or too often. For example, they can all cause rashes and skin irritation. In addition, deet might cause disorientation, particularly in high concentrations, which is why we don’t recommend repellents that are more than 30 percent deet.
So use all repellents with care. Here’s how:
Consumer Reports also warned that the wristband insect repellents aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They tested the Coleman Naturals Insect Repellent Snap Band and the Super Band Wristband and found that neither one prevented mosquitoes from biting.
It’s important to find the repellent that works best for you, but you shouldn’t forget about our other mosquito control tips that you can implement at home to keep mosquitoes away.
Contact San Antonio Mosquito Squad today for a free quote on a treatment that will have a lasting effect in your backyard, keeping the bugs at bay while reducing or negating the need to use spray-on repellents. Why spray yourself? Treat your yard instead!