The warmer weather is perfect for getting outside for fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. Unfortunately, just when we let our guard down after putting away our tired, heavy layers and changing into our shorts and T-shirts, mosquitoes, bees, flies and other bugs swarm in and join us in the summer fun.
Insects have an important role in our ecosystem, but they can be very annoying and dangerous to our health. According to Government of Canada, insects are responsible for spreading serious diseases such as malaria, lyme disease, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. According to BBC, DNA analysis shows the common house fly carries over 600 different types of bacteria – many of which are pathogenic.
Before you search for the strong insect spray that seems to repel humans as well, you may want to take a look at the active ingredients.
What is in your ‘Good Bug Spray’??
- Toxicity Category III for eye, dermal and oral
- Shown to be neurotoxic to insects and potentially mammals
- In Canada, DEET is still permitted in the following concentrations and applications:
- Adults, and children aged 12 or older: up to 30%
- Ages 2 to 12: up to 10%, and apply the product up to 3 times daily
- Ages 6 months to 2 years: up to 10%, and product is not recommended to be used daily
Picaridin (KBR 3023, Bayrepel, or icaridin)
- Toxicity Category III for acute oral and acute dermal
- Toxicity Category IV for primary eye and skin irritation
- In Canada, Icaridin is not recommended for children under 6 months
GMO Soybean oil (PEG compounds and some mono-, di-, triglycerides)
- Many types of commercial soybeans have been genetically engineered to express the Bt genes that act as insecticides
- Marketed to repel mosquitoes and black flies. In Canada, there’s no age restriction for these products.
Inspired by ancient herbal wisdom and the relaxing scents of the West Coast forest, Finlandia Outdoor Spray takes a natural approach to help you enjoy your time outdoors. Here are some herbal actions and protective properties implicated by our formula:
Herbal Aromas That Bugs Don’t Like
- Lemon Grass
Naturally contains high levels of geraniol and citral compounds that insects such as ants, bees and mosquitoes don’t like.
Nepetalactone is the compound that’s responsible for attracting cats as well as deterring various insects such as termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and bees. Mosquitoes hate it more than DEET.
Contains strong smelling terpenes and linalool. In ancient times, people wore a lump of camphor around their necks for skin protection in swampy, mosquito-ridden areas.
Calming & Repairing The Skin
Contains Eugenol, kaempferol and rhamnetin, compounds found in clove oil that are proven to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects, protecting the skin against swelling.
- Peppermint & Spearmint
Naturally contains menthol which cools irritated skin.
- Rose Geranium
Speeds up wound healing by promoting the health and development of new skin cells. Rose Geranium oil has been used in natural skin care products to repair capillaries and soothe inflammatory skin conditions.
Derived from the Latin word root meaning ‘to wash’, lavender contains many phytochemicals such as linalool and linalyl acetate that help to calm the nervous system and provide disinfectant protection.
- Thyme Linalol
Along with lavender, thyme has been tested to have strong antiseptic activities and is effective against clinical bacterial strains.
- Eucalyptus Lemon
p-Menthane-3,8-diol occurs naturally in the lemon eucalyptus plant, which has biopesticide properties that are effective in discouraging mosquitoes from feeding.
Reinforce Your Natural Barrier
- Your skin has a natural barrier, also known as the acid mantle (pH 4.5-5.5) that’s made from sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells that protects your skin from bacterial invasion and environmental pollutants. Many commercial soaps are alkaline (pH 8.0), stripping the acid mantle of its protective effects. Our formula is made with water at pH 5.5, using a similar process used to produce hydrogen fuel cells.
- Strong herbal aromas that deters bugs
- Keep away from eyes, mouth and broken skin
- Reapply every 2 hours
- Do not use on pregnant and breastfeeding women or children under age 2
We also carry an Outdoor Spray formula with citronella essential oil that is available in-store only. Despite the controversy, citronella is one of the most effective essential oils to keep away Aedes aegypti, a dangerous type of mosquito that causes yellow fever.
Extra Bug-Off Tips
Use An Electric Fan/Move Your Body!
- Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide emission, body heat and the scent of lactic acid from our sweat. Keeping physically active outdoors or turn on an electric fan at home, and wind will make it hard for the mosquitoes to find us.
Internal Insect Repellent-Garlic
- It’s a tasty ingredient for your barbecue sauce but the sulfur compounds emitting from your skin is nasty for mosquitoes, acting as a mild repellent.
Keep A Carnivorous Plants
- Trumpet pitchers and venus flytraps are great to keep in your kitchen. The sweet nectar and killer enzymes can help keep flies and mosquitos to a minimum in your home.
– Written by Tahlia Sage (Bsc. Food, Nutrition & Health, Certified Nutritional Practitioner). Tahlia is the founder of Sweet & Savoury Health and is a Product Specialist at Finlandia.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
APA (American Pediatric Association)
ATSDR (Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)
Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
Trongtokit, Yuwadee, et al. “Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 19.4 (2005): 303-309.