Insect repellent is a quick and effective way of preventing diseases caused by insect bites.
Read on to find out how insect repellent works, what insects it works on, how to use it, and why you should stock it in your business.
What insects do insect repellent work on?
Insect repellent works on any biting insects. This includes mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs.
It does not include wasps, bees, or hornets as these sting not bite.
How to get rid of bed bugs?
Insect repellent can be effective for getting rid of bed bugs when they are sprayed into cracks, baseboards, seams, and smaller areas where bed bugs might be hiding.
Some sprays leave a chemical residue which may kill bed bugs after it has dried but unfortunately, bed bugs don’t usually die from walking across the sprayed area.
They need to sit on the dried product, possibly for days, for it to kill them.
What is the benefit of using insect repellent?
Insect repellent can prevent you from catching diseases like malaria.
When an insect bites, saliva is released which may cause your skin to become red, swollen, and itchy. Usually, in most cases, it is harmless but may be painful or uncomfortable.
But, it can cause an allergic reaction which requires immediate medical treatment.
In countries with higher temperatures, the risk is higher of catching a disease from an insect bite.
Different insects can transfer different diseases. For example, tick bites can cause Lyme disease which can cause muscle aches, fever, and without treatment can cause facial paralysis, nerve damage, and arthritis.
Mosquitoes can transfer diseases like yellow fever and malaria which can cause fevers, shaking, and flu-like symptoms.
What is the difference between insecticide and insect repellent?
The difference between insecticide and insect repellent is that insect repellent deters insects from landing on you or items whereas insecticides kill them.
Insect repellents are generally less hazardous to the environment.
How do insect repellents work?
Insect repellents work by doing exactly as they say, repel.
Insects such as mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide, warmth, humidity, and certain chemicals we give off.
Insect repellents work by masking these chemical cues. Insect repellents don’t kill them but repel insects, keeping them away to prevent bites. They do this by affecting the insects senses such as smell to prevent it from finding you.
Insect repellents only work on the surface it is applied to.
How effective is insect repellent?
Insect repellents are effective. The concentration of the repellent chemical will determine how long it will last for.
For example, a 30% concentration could last up to six hours. While increased concentrations won’t be any more effective, they may last longer.
There are lots of other types of insect repellent such as wristbands, ultrasonic devices and citronella candles.
DEET is the most popular, but it may not be suitable for everyone.
The Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using products with one of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered ingredients. These include DEET, Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023 and Icaridin), IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus, Para-menthane-diol, and 2-undecanone.
There are other devices on the market such as ultrasonic mosquito repellent devices which allegedly emit sounds to repel them. Organisations such as the American College of Physicians state these do not work.
Citronella candles are also used as an insect repellent but they only decrease the chance of being bitten by around 20 to 40% whereas other insect repellents decrease the chances by around 95%.
How to use insect repellent?
It’s easy to apply insect repellent but you should check the instructions before using.
Follow these instructions to apply insect repellent:
- Hold the spray 15cm away from your skin
- Spray liberally and rub in
- Wash your hands after application
- Do not apply on open cuts, irritated, or sunburnt skin
- To apply to your face, spray onto your hands and rub onto your skin
- Wash any treated clothing before wearing again.
If you are mixing repellent and sunscreen, it may not absorb properly.
Is insect repellent waterproof?
Sweat, water, and rubbing from clothing can affect how long the insect repellent can be effective for. You can apply it throughout the day or night as required.
Is it safe to use insect repellent?
Yes, insect repellent is generally safe to use but there are some instances when it can cause minor issues.
The specific insect repellent DEET is safe but ingesting in large amounts has been linked to seizures.
For pregnant women and young children, an alternative insect repellent to DEET can be used instead.
Deet smells and is greasy which is why you may want to consider another insect repellent such as one that contains lemon eucalyptus.
Can you use insect repellent when pregnant?
If you use insect repellent that is EPA-registered then you can use these during pregnancy and breastfeeding, according to the CDC.
Insect repellents may even reduce the risks of insect-spread diseases in your developing baby.
How long can you keep insect repellent?
Insect repellent lasts a long time. It could last up to three years or more but check the date on your bottle.
Does expired insect repellent work?
Expired insect repellent probably won’t be harmful to you, but it may not be as effective.
Why should stock insect repellent in your business?
Stocking insect repellent in the first aid kit in your business is a good idea to avoid the spread of disease, avoid additional expenses, and provide a better experience to your customers.
Reduce the spread of disease
Mosquitoes and ticks may carry diseases like malaria and Lyme disease. These can be serious diseases with long-term effects on your health. Not only can they spread disease, but they are uncomfortable and can be itchy. They may also cause an allergic reaction.
You want to protect yourself, customers, and staff from contracting any such disease at your business.
Avoid additional costs
If customers or staff become sick at your business, it can damage your reputation and lead to losing customers.
If staff become sick, they will need to be paid sick pay and you may have to pay for someone else to cover their work.
If you don’t provide a safe workplace for your staff, you may be liable for fines or even legal action.
Improve customer experience
Providing insect repellent can improve your customers’ experience because they won’t be bothered by insects.
You can provide repellent stations to show your customers’ health is important to you.
It’s also a good idea to train your staff how to use insect repellent properly to use on themselves and to inform customers.
Where to buy insect repellent
Insect repellent can be bought from a variety of places.
It also contains natural repellents such as lemon eucalyptus and citronella oils to make it gentle on skin.