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FAQ: Bug Sprays and Insect Repellents

There’s a lot of buzz out there about the best way to repel insects. With so many new products and solutions on the market it can be hard to know which choice makes the most sense for your family.

What works best for you will depend on a number of things: your age, your activity level, and your location. Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions regarding insect repellents to make your decision a little better informed.

Q: What works better: bug spray or bug lotion?
A: It really depends on the application. In essence, the chemicals in each are about the same, but sprays are notorious for being applied unevenly. Lotions make sense if you can stand the sensation, but sprays often work better in situations where you’ll be sweating. What’s really important is the concentration of active ingredients.

Q: Is DEET bad for me?
A: Scientifically, DEET is the most effective insect repellent on the market. The jury is still out on the long term effects of DEET, but the chemical compound is generally accepted safe for use. The key is buying a DEET product with less than 30% DEET, and under 10% for children. Be wary of mixing DEET products with sunscreen as certain chemical reactions have been known to occur.

Q: Are there any natural ways to repel bugs?
A: There are dozens of homeopathic remedies and solutions containing all-natural ingredients. While some thing these products work wonders, others doubt their overall effectiveness. If you’re interested in all-natural, consider cayenne pepper caplets, citronella sprays, and soybean oil (the latter of which needs to be reapplied around every hour.)

Q: Are there any insect repellents available that aren’t topical treatments?
A: Sure! Citronella candles work well against a variety of bugs, mainly mosquitoes, and there has been a lot of success with electric mosquito repellents that draw power from your home. Keep in mind these products won’t repel all bugs and that you have to stay stationary for them to work.

Q: What kind of bugs do most repellents work against?
A: Most insect repellents are most effective against mosquitoes. While some bug sprays specifically keep other insects (fleas, spiders, bees) at bay, be sure to check the label of the particular product you’re considering to make sure your bug solution can treat the kind of bugs you’re trying to avoid!

If you have a bug problem in or around your home, contact a pest professional in your area. You don’t have to live with bugs – there are dozens of ways to keep them away!

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