Beating the blood-suckers

LAST UPDATED: 9 Feb, 2015 @ 12:14
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Beating the blood-suckers

By Imogen Calderwood

 

IT’S an unavoidable fact of summer – with the sun come the mosquitoes.

Nasty insects that sometimes carry diseases such as Chiken gunya, they can ruin a weekend or a holiday.

Luckily, there is a huge range of mosquito-repelling products on the market, from the chemical to the natural and with varying degrees of success.

Here the Olive Press gives you all you need to know about protecting yourself against the winged-nasties this season.

 

Natural

There are natural products which can be as effective as chemical repellents.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is found naturally in eucalyptus leaves and twigs. This provides the same protection as a lower percentage Deet product, and again the oil shouldn’t be used on children under five.

Other natural repellents include citronella, geranium, basil, garlic and peppermint.

Sabinillas-business woman Anna Cockell has come up with a popular and effective homemade repellent.

“I’ve spent the last three years developing and perfecting my recipe, and it really is very effective,” said Anna, who runs Gala Puro natural products.

“Now I sit with the repellent on my skin and wait to see how the mosquitoes react. They land, but one whiff of it and they certainly don’t bite.”

For more information email [email protected], or call Anna on 677 652 043.

 

Chemical

Deet is a very reliable and highly effective insect repellent that has been in use since 1957.

It is sold under many different brand names and in many different forms, including lotion and spray.

Concentrations of Deet range from around 5% all the way up to 100%, with a stronger percentage in general meaning the insects will be repelled for longer.

But any concentration higher than about 50% doesn’t offer significantly more protection, and 10 to 30% will provide sufficient protection for almost every scenario.

It is generally recommended to use less than 10% concentration on children, and never on children under five.

There have been complaints of minor skin and eye irritation, but as long as you use it in moderate concentrations and according to directions, it is considered safe.

Permethrin is another effective repellent but is meant for clothing rather than skin. It can last for at least two weeks – even through washes.

 

Plug-ins

There are variety of repellents available that plug directly into a wall socket. Some varieties emit a vapour that has an effect much like that of the chemical sprays and lotions, offering a hassle-free way to dodge the mozzies.

Another variety is advertised as electronic ultrasound gadgets, which emit a high-frequency buzz designed to repel mosquitos without the need for chemical sprays and lotions.

The buzzing sound – undetectable to the human ear – is at the same frequency as the mosquito’s natural enemy, the dragonfly.

While many online reviews suggest users have had success with these electronic repellents, official studies claim the science behind them is untrue.

In 10 field studies, including one by the BBC, scientists found they had ‘no effect on preventing mosquito bites’ and ‘should not be recommended or used’.

 

Dos and Don’ts for Deet

DO:

  • Use sprays to treat skin and clothing, for an even application
  • Use liquids, creams and sticks for precision applications
  • Wash Deet-covered skin with soap and water
  • Keep insect repellents out of reach of children

DON’T:

  • Apply to eyes, lips or mouths, or over cuts, wounds or irritated skin
  • Over-apply to skin, or saturate clothing
  • Apply to skin beneath clothing, or skin that isn’t exposed
  • Apply more often than recommended on the product level
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4 COMMENTS

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  1. I use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (aka PMDRBO and Citriodiol) and it works great against both mosquitoes and ticks. It is safe to use on children over 6 months of age. It also will not harm plastics like DEET will, so it is safe to use on things like fishing & camping gear as well as synthetic clothes.

  2. Hi Sue. There’s an email and phone number for contacting Anna Cockell if you’re interested in the natural products.

    All others can be bought easily in pharmacies or online.

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