Insect Repellents

Insect repellent can be nasty stuff. Many contain DEET, a pesticide that is toxic to the nervous system. According to the EPA, DEET is not harmful to people… but just in case they want you to:

  • Not apply on broken skin
  • Wash hands immediately after applying, and wash off after coming indoors
  • Not “over-apply” it
  • Wash clothing that has touched the product before wearing again
  • Not apply on children at all

Based on the EPA’s recommendations, I’m going to go ahead and assume that DEET is not really all that great for people and animals.

Luckily there are lots of alternatives for keeping mosquitoes and ticks away. Here are two that I’ve tried.


Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent smells like lemons and works great. Because it’s basically just essential oils, the consistency is oily. A little bit goes a long way, and you really need to rub it into your skin. This stuff lasts a nice long time too, about 5.5 hours!


All Terrain Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent is my favorite repellent. I took it camping once and people who had other repellents kept asking to borrow mine. It’s a spray lotion, which means it doesn’t blow all around is you spray it outside. You spray it on and rub it in, and it absorbs nicely. It smells really good, and it works fabulously. I do have to reapply it every 2 hours or so, but it’s worth it.


Mosquitoes and Insecticides

First off, I know I’m really late to post on this topic considering summer is almost over. But I spent my summer moving instead of blogging, so you guys will just have to keep this stuff in mind for next summer. 🙂

Insecticides, which you apply to your lawn to kill pests like ants and mosquitoes, can also be toxic to people, pets, birds, and non-pest insects (like those handy spiders and grasshoppers that eat pests, or those bees that incidentally pollinate our crops and support worldwide food production). Some scientists are linking colony collapse disorder to the widespread use of insecticides by commercial farms (read about it here if you don’t feel like having hope for the future for a while). So if you value your life, the lives of your children and pets, or, you know, eating, you should be steering clear of synthetic insecticides. That includes services like Mosquito Joe, which spray residential areas (although Mosquito Joe does offer an all natural option, which is great).

But then how do you deal with mosquitoes and the diseases that they potentially transmit? And what about ants that invade your home? I’ve found two good products for indoor pests and mosquitoes.


For mosquitoes, I used Dr. T’s Mosquito Repelling Granules (I found it on Amazon). This stuff is totally safe for people and pets and works like a charm. I noticed a difference pretty much immediately after I applied it to my lawn. A 5 pound jug covers 4,000 square feet. It was awesome while it lasted; I didn’t get a single mosquito bite. It only lasted about 3 weeks, which is a shame, but it’s worth it to me to reapply because it really works. Side note: it kinda stinks, but the smell goes away after a day or two.


For ants and roaches in the house, I used EcoSmart Ant and Roach Killer (I found it at Home Depot). I had ants in my kitchen, I sprayed this stuff around the perimeter, and the ants were gone after a couple days. It worked great, but it was very strong smelling. Not bad, just be sure to open a window.