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29 June 2005
Effective Natural DEET Alternatives

Lené at Leaning Birch kindly passes along some information about alternatives to DEET for repelling biting insects. The CDC and EPA have information available on the alternatives she lists.

This information was recently included on a mosquito-related listserv. I thought it might be of interest to those of you encountering biting insects this summer. Those of you who won't be, please let us know where you live. I'm sure we'd all like to come to your neck of the woods--at least I would. :) Today was a day filled with biting black flies, deer flies, and mosquitoes.

In early May 2005, the CDC released updated information about mosquito repellents. Through that release the CDC reported on two other repellents, picaridin and oil of eucalyptus, which demonstrate repellency comparable to DEET in either high or low concentrations, respectively. If you have not seen the CDC report, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/resources/uprepinfo.pdf

Please note that the EPA web site on Repellents has been recently updated, now reflecting a link to the existing Oil of Eucalyptus factsheet, as well as a NEW EPA fact sheet on Picaridin. Please visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/insectrp.htm

Eucalyptus Oil was registered in 2000. Although the fact sheet is a pretty poor example, here is a link to it: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_plant-oils.htm

OPP's web site has information about oil of lemon eucalyptus (see"eucalyptus oil" or "p-menthane-3,8-diol" under http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/index.htm).

Thanks Lené for providing this public service!


Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent from REIRepel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent is available from REI for about $5 per 3.5 oz. tube. They also carry a number of other repellents containing natural ingredients.

Here's some more info from 'Bug-Spray Info' comparing ingredients and efficacy of different insect repellent products.

I think it's worth trying some different options if it means I can enjoy the outdoors without repeatedly slathering myself in pesticides...

Hoo, I'm on a roll now...

Here's some info about DEET from the Sierra Club of Canada. They also provide a synopsis of some natural DEET alternatives here.

Here's some info from Boulder County, CO Public Health.

Here is a nice summary of DEET alternatives from the California-based Pesticide Action Network for North America.

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