Win the ‘Battle of the Bugs’ without DEET

Bzzzzzzzz…. here they come again! Those pesky summer creatures that just won’t leave us alone! They come in all shapes and sizes; black flies, mosquitoes, even the dreaded deer fly (anyone from Northern Ontario will be familiar with that particular beastie). Nothing puts a damper on a camping trip or outdoor cookout faster than a swarm of mosquitoes. Yikes, I’ve gotten all itchy just thinking about it! Where’s my fly swatter?

With rising concerns about DEET and other harsh chemicals found in most bug repellents consumers are looking to find and purchase non-toxic, DEET-free alternatives that actually work. Many mosquitoes carry diseases that can be fatal to both humans (West Nile Virus, Lime Disease) and pets (parasites like heartworm) which means that it’s increasingly important to find effective defenses in the Battle of the Bug. Many consumers look to non-toxic alternatives such as citronella products (think twice about this one), catnip oil, “bug zappers”, fans, consuming garlic or taking vitamin B1 tablets. These solutions are not guaranteed and many are not practical for camping or talking a walk in the woods. To avoid bugs anywhere you are, you need a portable solution. Strolling through the woods swinging a bug zapper around just isn’t practical.

Bzzz Off! Comes in 2 convenient sizes. 

Bzzz Off! Comes in 2 convenient sizes. 

Enter ZU Bzzz Off! An all-natural, non-toxic bug repellent that really works! It’s made with a combination of natural essential oils, including aloe leaf juice, rosemary leaf extract, lavender oil and lemon peel oil, which combine into a powerful, non-toxic insect repellent. As an added bonus, unlike traditional bug sprays, this lovely combination of essential oils smells fantastic! It’s no secret that DEET-based bug sprays smell nasty and can be a real distraction from enjoying the outdoors. I have been at many campsites where my neighbors liberally sprayed DEET onto their children, only to have most of it blow over into my site, leaving me wondering about the many poor health effects for both myself and the freshly-sprayed children.

Many natural oils, such as citronella, can carry the risk of skin allergies or mild irritations. Bzzz Off! is a mild and gentle formula, safe for people of all ages, including children. The formula is biodegradable, and will not cause potentially toxic effects in the environment or in water bodies. Pesticides such as DEET have been shown to have potential toxicity for cold water fish and certain types of freshwater zooplankton.

Of course, before using any chemical solution, there’s a few basic tasks you need to do to keep your home environment as bug-free as possible. Mosquitoes need water to breed; make sure to drain any standing water in and around your yard. Also make sure to remove piles of rotting or decaying leaves. Without these bug-havens, you will already be several steps ahead. Your best non-chemical defence against mosquitoes is to wear light colours and loose-fitting clothing; long shirts and long pants with socks and shoes if at all possible. Insects are attracted to sweat, and body heat, so keeping cool is a great defence. Lastly, be aware that mosquitoes tend to converge near thicker, shrubby areas. Hold outdoor gatherings in open places where a breeze may pass through. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, plant marigolds in your yard; they give off a fragrance that bugs do not like.

Arm yourself with these simple tips and a bottle of ZU Bzzz Off! and you are sure to have a bug-free summer without employing DEET or other harsh chemicals. We encourage you to use a combination of bug-prevention tactics including loose clothing, our natural bug repellant, and being alert and aware to surroundings that may harbour mosquitoes.

So how do you plan to win 'The Battle of the Bugs'? Share your tips below!