With spring in full swing and summer about to begin, many of us go and spend more time outdoors. While the benefits of being outdoors and the many activities available outdoors are extremely appealing and recommended to increase your health and enjoyment, there are also a few downsides to being outdoors. One such downside is the annoying bug bites and stings. This can make being outdoor unpleasant; however, there are some things you can do to minimise your potential for bites and stings from insects.

Insects To Watch Out For

Bees and wasps build nests both around your home and in natural areas such as trees. If you see a nest it is important that you avoid disturbing the nest. Generally, these types of insects do not seek out people but can be attracted to bright clothing and sweet smells.

Biting flies can also be a nuisance. There are various types of biting flies that can be found outdoors. These include black flies, deer flies, and horse flies. These are most prevalent in areas that have water.

Mosquitos are the most commonly known biting insect. They are found all over Canada and are most active at dusk, dawn and night. They too are most prevalent around water, especially standing water.

Spiders can also bite humans although it is not as common. They can be found both indoors and outdoors in Canada.

Ticks are probably the most talked about of the biting insects as they have the potential to transmit various illnesses to humans. They can be found in grassy and wooded areas. Tick spray can be bought to prevent bites from ticks.

Avoiding contact with these biting insects is your first line of defence. Try to plan your activities to avoid places and times when these insects are most active. If you must be out walking in wooded or grassy areas wear closed footwear, long pants (preferably tucked into socks), long sleeved shirts and even a hat. Try to wear light coloured clothing as most insects are attracted to dark clothing. Avoid use of scented shampoos, deodorants, lotions, perfumes, etc. as these will attract insects.

Insect Repellents

DEET is a very commonly used and quite effective insect repellent. It can be toxic at high levels; always read and follow the instructions on the product. Products which contain up to 30% DEET are considered safe for most adult use as well as being more effective than many other products.

Natural botanical oils are also used in many insect repellents. The effectiveness can vary. Some of these products include ingredients such as citronella, clove, and lemongrass oil. Products with oil of lemon eucalyptus are often the most effective of the botanical products. The active compound, para-methane 3-8, diol (PMD) has been known to be as effective as a lower concentration of DEET.

Picaridin, a synthetic compound that is similar to piperine is a natural compound that is produced by plants. Picardin effectiveness is similar to DEET, however it does not have the same risks associated with DEET. This makes it a preferable alternative to DEET.

Always read and follow the directions on the repellent. Take note of the effectiveness and how often it needs to be re-applied. Note that best practice is to apply sunscreen and insect repellent as two separate products. Apply sunscreen first, and then apply the repellent.

If you would like to know more about how to prevent bug bites and bites from other insects, as well as protecting your family from outside diseases, Contact Us and speak with our friendly service staff today.