Here is a collection of insect repellent ratings to help you choose the right ammunition in the fight against nasty, biting bugs!
‘Tis the season of barbecues, hiking, camping … and biting bugs. A good repellent can help you enjoy the outdoors without the company of mosquitoes and ticks.
At an outside lab, brave testers bared their arms in mosquito-filled cages and let ticks crawl on them. We recorded how long it took for mosquitoes to start biting and for ticks to crawl over treated areas. Our bugs were free of disease, but wild mosquitoes in the U.S. can carry West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis. Travelers outside the U.S. might encounter mosquitoes carrying malaria, yellow fever, or dengue fever. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, human babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Six repellents protected against deer ticks and two common types of mosquitoes for 7 hours or more. Four of those contain deet in varying levels. The Environmental Protection Agency judges deet safe when used as directed, but it has caused rare toxic reactions when misused. It shouldn’t be applied to infants less than 2 months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using repellents with deet concentrations higher than 30 percent on any children. We think that no one needs a repellent with more than 30 percent deet.
The active ingredient in Repel is oil of lemon eucalyptus. (It’s not recommended for children under 3.) Almost as effective was Natrapel, which protects with picaridin, a chemical newer than deet.