You thought choosing an insect repellent is about as simple as choosing a bottle of sunscreen, right?
If you’re like most of us, when you choose a sunscreen, you check its Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number, along with how long a single application will effectively protect you.
So, it seems only logically there would be something similar for insect repellents, too.
Using the EPA’s Expert Opinions on Repellents
The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has a tool for insect repellents that will make it easier for your make your insect repellant choices easier.
The EPA has a search page that helps you find the product that works for your needs, and how long it will effectively protect you from them.
The EPA also has a graphic that should clarify product labeling for you:
The labeling will help you choose the product that best meets your protection needs against the many diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks.
Evaluating Active Ingredients
In choosing the right insect repellent, the active ingredient is one of the main factors to consider. Two common active ingredients in repellents are DEET and Picaridin, both of which are effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. DEET has a long track record and is very effective, but some people may experience skin irritation. Picaridin, on the other hand, is less likely to cause irritation but might not last quite as long. Another plant-based alternative is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), which can be a good choice for those who prefer natural products but isn’t suitable for children under three years old. Always check the label to confirm that the product is registered with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meaning it has been evaluated for efficacy and safety.
Concentration of Active Ingredient
The concentration of the active ingredient also plays a significant role. This doesn’t refer to the product’s effectiveness but to its duration of protection. For instance, a higher concentration of DEET, up to a point, will protect you for a longer period. If you’re planning a short outdoor activity, a lower concentration product might be sufficient. Conversely, for longer durations or areas with high insect activity, you may need a product with a higher concentration.
Type of Insect to Repel
The type of insect you want to repel is another essential factor. While most common repellents work well against mosquitoes and ticks, if you’re dealing with other insects like chiggers or sandflies, you may need to find a product specifically designed to repel these insects. Local health departments or travel clinics can often provide advice based on the region and the time of year.
Where You Plan to Use It
Moreover, the environment and activity level can influence your choice. For instance, if you’re going to be swimming or sweating a lot, a water-resistant formula would be beneficial. Similarly, lotion-based repellents may be a good choice for those with dry skin, while sprays might be more convenient for those covering large areas.
Call in the Experts
You can leave it up to a can of spray, but if its insects on your property you’re looking to repel, there is no better way than to call the pest control service with the best reviews in town, TermiGuard.