My regular everyday full time job, in addition to being a sarcastic mommy-blogger, is a senior portrait photographer. My primary place to photograph clients is at a well-known outdoor garden which was recently voted the most beautiful place in the state but due to the large ponds and acreage of plants, it also harbors a large number of mosquitoes, therefore bug bites are a regular part of my on-the-job life.
I’m not a fan of spraying myself down with pesticides and chemicals known to cause cancer, so I have explored just about every other option out there.
You all know that I have a love affair with essential oils, so my first attempt to stave off the flying and biting bugs was to try Purification Blend from Young Living; while I have had pretty good results from this one in the past, but the bugs in this garden seemed resistant to it’s “charms.” Purification Blend is made up of Citronella oil, Lavandin oil, Lemongrass oil, Rosemary oil, Myrtle oil, and Tea Tree oil. I tried it as a roller top and a spray to cover more area. Verdict: Works against normal bugs but not the insanely blood hungry beasts flying around the outdoor garden I work in.
Next, I tried Melaleuca’s Natural Insect Repellent, which boasts 99% effectiveness against mosquitoes and other biting insects (ants, ticks, fleas and mosquitoes mentioned on label). While using this bottle (over a period of 3 weeks at work plus a camping trip with the family), I saw no reduction in mosquito bites and my son came home with a tick after our camping trip. Active ingredients listed on the label: sodium laurel sulfate, citric acid, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil, thyme oil and geranium oil. Verdict: Not impressed, no change in frequency of bites. It may actually attract them.
At this point, I was feeling a bit disappointed because I knew my options were dwindling for ways to keep the bugs off of me without being covered in poison.
While shopping at Wally World recently, I found Repel Natural. Skeptical at first, I read the label over and over thinking I’d see something terrible on the ingredient list, but there wasn’t (it’s not the best line up for healthy stuff). Contains: Geraniol, Soybean oil, water, isopropyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, vanillin, sodium benzoate and polyglyceryl oleate. Verdict: It works and it works well!
Conclusion: While there are plenty of options on the market that may work for small stints in the open, sometimes there are stubborn bugs that just DGAF about what EOs you’re wearing. Repel Natural was the best non-pesticide option I’ve been able to find on the market and it smells nice. Side perk: it was also the cheapest of the three options.
Stay tuned for Part Deux: Bug Bite Remedies