Bugs, Bites, and Options

Bugs and bites.  Spring brings longer days, sunshine, greener grass, buds on trees, and bugs. Those pesky black flies and mosquitos start appearing and start biting. So, what are your options?

Insect repellents containing DEET can be used safely when applied as directed and in the right concentration, depending on age.

Cautions

The right concentration of DEET for:

  • adults and children older than 12 years old is up to 30%
  • children aged 2 to 12 years is up to 10%
    • you can apply the product up to 3 times daily
  • children aged 6 months to 2 years old is up to 10%
    • you should not apply the product more than once a day

For children younger than 12 years old, do not use a DEET product on a daily basis for more than a month.

For infants younger than 6 months old, do not use an insect repellent containing DEET. Instead, use a mosquito net when babies are outdoors in a crib or stroller.

Did you know that Health Canada has approved various essential oils as natural bug repellents? So it’s no longer necessary to load up with chemicals if you don’t want to. Essential oils such as lemon, camphor, and geranium can help repel bugs.

Many area repellents, such as lanterns and coils, are approved in Canada to repel mosquitoes from an area. However, they do not protect you from insect bites.

Using insect repellents safely

Always read the entire label carefully before using an insect repellent and follow all directions, including:

  • restrictions for use on children
  • what insects the repellent works against
  • the maximum number of applications allowed per day

Sunscreen and insect repellents can be worn safely at the same time. Apply the sunscreen first and then the insect repellent.

Certain products aren’t recommended for protection against insect bites because they may not be very effective or long-lasting. These products include:

  • citrosa houseplants
  • odour-baited mosquito traps
  • electronic or ultrasonic devices
  • electrocuting devices, like bug zappers
  • skin moisturizer or sunscreen combined with insect repellent
  • products that combine skin moisturizer and insect repellent are not approved in Canada
  • wristbands, neckbands and ankle bands that contain repellents

Read more on the Health Canada website.

You don’t want a bull’s – eye