Primary Menu

Beasley Best Community of Caring

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 21: An adult female mosquito is seen uder a microscope at the Sun Yat-Sen University-Michigan University Joint Center of Vector Control for Tropical Disease on June 21, 2016 in Guangzhou, China. Considered the world's largest mosquito factory, the laboratory raises millions of male mosquitos for research that could prove key to the race to prevent the spread of Zika virus. The lab's mosquitos are infected with a strain of Wolbachia pipientis, a common bacterium shown to inhibit Zika and related viruses including dengue fever. Researchers release the infected mosquitos at nearby Shazai island to mate with wild females who then inherit the Wolbachia bacterium which prevents the proper fertilization of her eggs. The results so far are hopeful: After a year of research and field trials on the island, the lab claims there is 99% suppression of the population of Aedes albopictus or Asia tiger mosquito, the type known to carry Zika virus. Researchers believe if their method proves successful, it could be applied on a wider scale to eradicate virus-carrying mosquitos in Zika-affected areas around the world. The project is an international non-profit collaboration lead by Professor Xi Zhiyong, director of the Sun Yat-Sen University-Michigan University Joint Center of Vector Control for Tropical Disease with support from various levels of China's government and other organizations. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Spring is here and as the weather warms up in the coming weeks, people will be spending more time outdoors — and so will mosquitos. There’s no shortage of mosquito repellent brands, but an increasing number of Americans want to avoid those that contain DEET. DEET is an active ingredient in many bug sprays, which (according to the Environmental Protection Agency) works by hindering insects’ ability to smell humans. The EPA says that DEET is safe when used correctly, but notes that, among other things, it shouldn’t be applied to or near open cuts, wounds or open skin, shouldn’t be applied to eyes, hands or near the mouth and that when you return indoors, you should wash all the areas that you applied the pr0duct to. From an environmental standpoint, it’s slightly toxic to birds and fish, and it can get to them when you wash it off of your hands or your clothes (water that drains from your sinks, baths and washing machines can make its way into local streams and other waterways).

So, if you’re looking to avoid DEET, but you also want to avoid mosquito bites while enjoying being outside, here are a few other options.

Squito Ban Yaya Organics Mosquito Repellent – It’s made with citronella, clove, and rosemary oil. According to Best Products, these ingredients give this effective, all-natural bug repellent a light, herbal fragrance that is pleasant without being pungent.

Hello Bello Organic Bug Spray – Best Products notes that this brand is particularly good for children. It’s 100% USDA-certified organic and is designed to repel 56 different insect species.

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent – This is recommended for anyone older than three years old. This plant-based spray comes from oil from the leaves of a lemon eucalyptus plant and protects for up to six hours. Note that Good Housekeeping reports that oil of lemon eucalyptus isn’t recommended for usage with children under the age of three.

Read more about these products and other DEET-free bug repellents here.