It's the season, y'all. And with the mild winter/long autumn that we had here in the NRV, it's going to be worse than usual. Some of you are blessed with a skin microbiome that naturally repels these critters (ahem! my husband) but the rest of us suffer from what feels like death by a thousand bites. And then there's Lyme Disease and the Zika virus. So I will review the options for preventing flea, tick, and mosquito bites.
That mild winter
could come back to bite you
The CDC has many articles listed with info on the effectiveness of non-DEET repellants, for those who like the nitty gritty. For those who don't:
Many of these compounds have not been evaluated by the EPA for effectiveness but have been designated as safe by the EPA. But there is other research on their effectiveness.
A chemical from tomato plants. Use on skin/clothing/gear. As effective or better than DEET and permethrin in repelling deer ticks, also repels mosquitos. Has EPA registration for mosquitos. http://www.homs.com/bioud®.html
Garlic juice based sprays for lawn will decrease the nymphs of deer ticks (by killing them I assume) by around 50% for 11-18 days. Minimal health risk to humans and animals.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Spray for lawns will reduce deer tick nymphs, larvae, and adults. See the study for specifics of when to apply. 3 other Arthropods will also transiently decline. Bees unaffected.
Nootka (Alaskan Cedar) Essential Oil
For skin/clothing/gear. Repels 2 types of deer ticks, for up to 7 days on clothing. Better than Permethrin, EcoSMART, and Thyme essential oil. Also more consistent results on lawns than EcoTrol and Thyme essential oil. This is one of the ingredients in doTERRA's TerraShield blend.
Metarhizium anisopliae strain F52
A fungus strain for lawn application that kills deer tick nymphs. See the 3rd & 4th articles.
From the EPA product tool:
For use on skin. Repels mosquitos for 7 hours (both 7% and 15% products). Present in doTERRA's TerraShield blend.
For use on skin. Repels mosquitos for 1-3 hours, depending on concentration and product type.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
For use on skin. Repels mosquitos for 6 hours, some products also repel ticks for 6 hours. Present in doTERRA's TerraShield Blend.
Preventing infestations on your pets is the best way to prevent them from invading your home or from biting you. There are multiple conventional flea prevention products such as Frontline, Revolution, etc. If you are inclined to a natural approach, cedar and eucalyptus essential oils can be diluted and sprayed onto your dog or cat (avoiding eyes/nose/mouth) or used to soak into a collar. See this file.