Summer is the perfect season for lots of outdoor activities. The weather is warm, and the days are long. Whether it’s a backpacking trip, a bike tour, camping, a fishing trip, or just an outdoor barbeque with friends, we all have our favorite ways to enjoy the natural world during the summertime. The summer conditions can be enjoyable, but you may encounter some of the highest levels of irritating insects such as mosquitos, ticks, horseflies, deer flies, wasps, and gnats. Applying insect repellent can transform these activities that would be otherwise unbearable into an absolute delight. Unfortunately, many bug sprays contain harsh and harmful chemicals that you probably aren’t keen on absorbing into your skin. That is why we have put together this list of the best natural and non-toxic bug sprays that will keep pests at bay without relying on any toxic chemicals.
Bug Spray Ingredients You Should Avoid
- Deet (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide)- This very common pesticide is extremely effective at repelling insects, including ticks. Unfortunately, it is also highly toxic and also can pollute groundwater and the environment since it breaks down very slowly.
- Cyfluthrin- This is a common insecticide used in the agriculture industry. It kills insects effectively, but it is slightly to highly toxic to humans depending on the amount of exposure.
- Permethrin- This is a synthetic pesticide that is highly neurotoxic. This means that over-exposure to this compound can alter and harm your nervous system.
Natural and Plant-based Bug Sprays
- US Organic Anti Bug Spray- While there are many natural bug sprays on the market, there are far fewer USDA certified organic options. This bug spray is USDA organic which makes it stand out from the competition. It is made from all natural herbal ingredients and oils making it a safe option for most people. It is lab-tested to be at least 98% effective against yellow fever mosquitoes. However, it contains soybean oil, which might make it not a good choice for people with soy-allergies.
- Babyganics Insect Spray- This plant and essential-oil-based bug spray is intended for infants, meaning that it is safe for all. This product is also not tested on animals. Like the US Organic bug spray, it also contains soybean oil, in fact 95% of the spray is soybean oil. So those with a soy-allergy should not use it.
- Nantucket Spider Natural Bug Repellant- Contrary to what its name might imply, this bug spray does not repel spiders. It is however highly effective at repelling mosquitos, horse flies, and ticks, among other insects. It is made from essential oils and unlike the previous two bug sprays, is soy-free. Its water-based vegan formula means that it is non-greasy.
- Sky Organics Organic Bug Spray- This herbal insect repellant is USDA certified organic. It uses natural ingredients, such as citronella and lemongrass essential oil and is scent-free. It is not tested on animals and is cruelty-free. The spray is packaged in a recyclable aluminum bottle which demonstrates the brand’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. It does contain soybean oil.
Don’t Let the Bugs Bite this Summer
The next time you are packing for your summer camping trip or going for a hike through mosquito-infested areas, don’t forget to pack insect repellant. Spraying on bug spray not only can make your time outside more enjoyable, but it also protects you from mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Zika virus, among others. In addition to using insect repellant, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants, avoid overgrown areas as much as possible, and check yourself for ticks when you return inside. For your comfort and health, it’s important that your insect repellant is effective and that you reapply it often enough to maintain protection. Traditional bug sprays containing chemicals such as DEET are highly effective at repelling and even killing insects but using them comes at the cost of exposing yourself to toxic chemicals. For most casual outdoor settings, an organic bug spray will be more than effective enough to get the job done. Give one of the above insect repellants a try, and let us know how it works for you by leaving a comment below or contacting us here!