I was on the lawn at my parents’ house for all of a minute and thirty seconds trying to refill a squirt gun for my son, when I was attacked by mosquitoes. It was getting to be closer to dusk, we were right by a pond. But the attacks were unreal! By the time I went inside, I had welts all over. Of course, this was the one day out of a hundred that I chose to wear a sundress rather than jeans, so, these bites were up and down my legs! I was so nervous once bitten because my boys and my little one had been outside playing for some time.

Of course, I had forgotten my natural bug repellent which is so safe, you can even use on babies.  Ugh! I’m scratching myself as I type just thinking about it.

Maybe bug bites aren’t a big deal for you, but they are for me. My family is highly sensitive to bug bites. Our skin welts up. Then, after the welt, the bite remains for about a week looking like some kind of festering sore the size of a quarter.

My dad offered us OFF with DEET, but much to my children’s dismay, I politely declined (while shuddering inside at how easy it is for most of America to slather poison on their skin) and he was very respectful of my decision.  Instead of accepting the OFF, I ended the outdoor festivities and brought forth the “Supremacy of Mom: the biggest party pooper on the planet.” They weren’t happy that they had to come inside… They wanted the DEET.

As an aside, let’s talk about DEET for a second. It’s really good at killing bugs.  It actually goes in and inhibits the activity of an important central nervous system enzyme in insects… oh yeah and in mammals too, so be careful when you have your DEET around mammals that you love, like your dog or your horse… you know, ANY OTHER MAMMALS that you can think of that you love.  DEET is also an effective solvent.  So, some of its uses around your house would be if you needed something to dissolve plastics, synthetic fabrics, varnished surfaces or the likes. So, it’s definitely really handy to have around, but I’d seriously consider childproofing your DEET supply cabinet.

Anyway, so I was pretty mad that I forgot to bring my natural bug repellent.  I especially prefer brands that contain catnip instead of citronella, because catnip contains a substance called nepetalactone, which incidentally (since we were just talking about it) is ten times more effective at repelling bugs than DEET and doesn’t smell overbearing like citronella. The only downside of the natural mosquito spray is that you have to reapply a small amount every hour or two to keep it working as effectively.

It was an unpopular decision, but here I show you the scales that were being weighed in my head as I considered spraying OFF with DEET onto my children’s bodies. We have the facts about catnip as a bug repellent on the left and the facts about DEET on the right.


  1. Jill

    My two boys and I must have an abnormal amount of CO2 in our bodies since we are always being attacked by mosquitos!! My husband comes from a family that lives by the motto, “NO DEET? NO GOOD!!” Haa haa. My oldest son suffers from very mild excema, and so I am always wary of what it put on his skin. I have tried everything I can get my hands on for bug control: organic, non-natural, wristbands, clip-on devices, vitamins, garlic tablets, DEET, “child-friendly”, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it and unfortunately the DEET is always applied because it does work. I’ve never heard of this lotion you use, but will purchase some to try. I do have a few questions: How often do you realistically have to apply before it’s too late and you’ve already been attacked? How does your skin feel once applied? DEET products always make me feel dirty and I can’t wait to get home and shower before bed! I drive my kids nuts making them shower before bed when they’ve had it sprayed on them. Thanks for the great article!!

  2. Dawn Papple

    Realistically, every two hours. For best measure get a stick of the Hyland’s Bug Bite Ointment ( http://www.everythingbirth.com/Hylands-Homeopathic-Bug-Bite-Ointment-HYL0113-p-Homeopathic.html ) You WILL forget to reapply the lotion from time to time and this helps with the allergic reaction and the itching after the fact as well. Apis is the only thing that will work besides benadryl or an epit pen if my husband gets stung (including bee stings which he is highly allergic to) and this contains Apis.

    Also, If you want to make yourself less appealing to bugs, I’ve heard of people trying B vitamins (B1 specifically,) as well as taking sulphur ( Which you can buy alone or in this kit: http://www.everythingbirth.com/Hylands-Homeopathic-Remedies-Chest-HYL2100-p-Homeopathic.html)

  3. Jenifer

    I can’t wait to order this, right now we use nothing and I just take Apis to help get rid of the bites after. I’d rather be bitten than covered in that foul smelling poison, thanks for the great info, I will be placing an order soon.

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