I have not made it a secret that one of the things I truly despise about spring and summer, is bugs! But I'm also somone who hates putting on bug spray. I always seem to get it in my eyes and in my mouth! And do you put it on before or after sunscreen? Plus, what is with those smartphone bug repellent apps, do those work at all?

Thankfully, the CDC, The American Mosquito Control Association (yes they exist), the New England Journal of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic have some advice for all of us.

  • Read labels. Apparently you need to find out what chemicals ward off which bugs, or which bugs you'll be encountering where you're going & then which products have what you need. For instance the CDC says if you're trying to avoid mosquitoes, use a repellent with picaridin, IR3535 (a Merck company bio-repellent) , or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  For ticks and mosquitoes, check the label for 20% DEET. Permethrin products can be applied to clothing but shouldn't be used on skin. Read the application instructions too, they do matter. (Who knew?)
  • Sunscreen first. The CDC also advises putting on sunscreen first and then insect repellent and don't used products that combine the two. (Well, I guess I'll throw that stuff out now!)
  •  DEET products not for material. Spraying products containing DEET on your sleeping bags or tents can actually dissolve the material, if they're made out of polyester or nylon. Spray it on you, let it dry and then use the sleeping bag or tent. (Boy those bears would just love it, if your tent dissolved around you, huh?)
  • Forget electronic bug repellent apps for your smartphone. They don't work. Period. (Good to know, if I ever get a smartphone, I won't guy that app.)

For more great advice on insect repellents, the how, what, when and wheres- -check out this great article and stop getting bugged this summer!