August 11, 2011

Going DEET free!

I am a bug magnet, if it bites or stings, it finds me.  Not only am I a magnet, but I'm highly sensitive to bug bites, I get Huge welts.  This pretty much means I have to wear bug spray when I'm outdoors.  I've never been a big fan of DEET
 or other chemical bug sprays.  I don't want to spray them on me or my children.  Thankfully my sister introduced me to a natural bug spray that's safe for me, my kids, and even pets.

How to make Natural bug spray. ~ 10 drops each per ounce of water:  Citronella, java oil, eucalyptus oil.  Cedar wood, rosemary, lavender, and/or marigold (especially marigold) can be added as well.
So here's the scoop on DEET
  • DEET (chemical name, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the active ingredient in many bug sprays. 
  • DEET is a pesticide
  • How DEET works:  Bugs find you by your skin odors and carbon dioxide from your breath. When a bug gets close to you, DEET jams the bug's sensors and confuse the bug, so it is can't land on and bite you.
  • DEET was said to originally be developed by the U.S. Army following the experiences with insects in the jungle during World War II.  source
  •  The testing shows that heavy exposure to DEET especially among children can affect the developing nervous system.  source
  • "When used as intended, topically, on a prolonged basis, brain cell death was found in rats in a study performed at Duke University.  The number of studies that have been undertaken, however, are relatively small and the DEET industry strongly contests the results." - quoted from blog Mosquito Insect Repellent
  • For at-a-glance information, the activist group Beyond Pesticides keeps its own list of documented DEET health and environmental effects.
This list is just a few reasons why DEET is bad and why I'll never use it on my family again.  We've switch to using natural bug spray, it works and smells great.  Depending on the person and the situation, you may have to reapply more often.  I reapply 20-30 minute, but that's cause it's really bad off if I get bitten.  You can also find other bug sprays out there that don't contain DEET.  They do however contain other chemicals that could be harmful to yourself and family.

Now head outside and enjoy some bug free (and chemical free) time in the great outdoors.

~Earthy Mom

I just wanted to add a note here at the end.  After talking with my sister and looking on several sites, Citronella oil also repel ticks.


  1. The only caution I give is natural bug strays do not repel ticks, they do work great on mosquitoes. So if you happen to be in a wooded area you'll either need to use a traditional bug spray with DEET or make sure to where long sleeves and pants.

  2. You might want to try putting Food Grade Diatomatious Earth around your house and yard. Its harmless to people, and pets. You could eat it and it actually is said to have health benefits. But using it in your yard will cut down on the bug population. If you have pets its great for fleas. Its not a pesticide. All natural. Look it up. Just make sure you buy the food grade DE.