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Because the weather is nicer in summer, we tend to spend more time outdoors and, guess what? So do the bugs. Some bugs, like ladybugs and butterflies, are harmless. Others, however, are not so “nice” and sometimes bite humans and animals.  Here’s some information to help protect you from various bug bites and why the normal things you wear and even drink may be attracting bugs.  Of course preventing insect bites is not guaranteed but just being aware of what can attract bug bites combined with an effective insect repellant can make a huge difference in helping you enjoy the outdoors.

The 5 Most Common Bug Bites

  1. Mosquitoes – a mosquito “bite” is actually an injection from their long proboscis (or mouth). They “bite” to draw blood from your body for nutrition. Because our bodies react to their saliva when they are sucking up our blood, their bite leaves a painful, red or pink welt that itches.
  2. Spiders – technically, spiders are not “insects” and are classified as arachnids but regardless, they bite. While a spider bite sounds like cause for alarm, rest assured most of their bites are relatively harmless compared to their rarer, more poisonous cousins; the worst you will receive is a small red bump, like a mosquito bite, which will itch and sometimes blister. What to watch out for are distinct puncture marks in the skin and if the red lump fills with pus – this, coupled with a fever, is a sign of infection and you should seek medical help immediately.
  3. Ticks – We generally associate tick bites with animals, but we can be bitten by them as well. When a tick bites to drink blood, they attach to the skin. While easy to spot on human skin, they are harder to find on our furry friends, so a tick/flea preventative for your pets is highly encouraged year-round.
  4. Ants – while tiny in size and seemingly innocuous, an ant bite (especially from a fire ant) can pack a punch. While an ant bite is no laughing matter and can cause painful rashes and blisters, a fire ant bite is much more hazardous and excruciating.
  5. Bees – we love what bees do for our environment (they don’t just provide sweet honey) and we know their sting is not technically a “bite,” but it is worth noting. Their sting, which is often a defense reaction, will burn and itch and then become very red and grow. While healing, itching may occur. Be sure the bee in question has not left their stinger behind – it can be easily removed with tweezers.

What Makes Bugs Land on Us?

Is it because they are evil? Do they hate us? Do we owe them money? The answer is no to all of these – the answer can simply be found within science and in what bugs are attracted to.

Heat

Because a human being’s average temperature falls between 97.7 – 99.5° Fahrenheit, a bug views us much the same way we look at a cozy fire during a snowstorm.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Bugs like CO2 a lot. The heavier we breathe, the more bugs are attracted to us. Couple that with our natural body heat and we’re like a lighthouse for insects. Pregnant women and exercise enthusiasts are even more appealing because they both emit more carbon dioxide from heavier breathing and their bodies run significantly hotter than normal. While pregnant and engaging in exercise outside, extra precaution should be taken.

Wardrobe Choice

There is a correlation between dark colors (such as darker greens and blacks) in the clothes we wear and our desirability to bugs. Did you know the reason they like darker colors is because those shades/hues draw carbon dioxide away from the body? It’s true!

Drinking Beer = More Chance of Bites

Don’t worry, we’re not telling you not to enjoy a “cold one” outside with your friends during the summer months, but it is important to know that drinking beer is a huge attractant to bugs. When we drink beer, we secrete ethanol later through our pores when we sweat. Ethanol is the active ingredient that bugs like the most, so, when you drink, you become a magnet to them.

Smelly Perfumes

Because many bugs like flowers and a good deal of them engage in the practice of pollination, a floral perfume is infinitely more appealing to them than not.

This doesn’t mean plant-based applications are out of the question; there are many herbs and flowers with specific defense systems to protect them against bugs. Science has found which ones are most effective to keep away bugs or treat bites when they occur.

Effective Natural Treatments

Oatmeal Washes

A simple oatmeal cleanser can be combined with water, to apply to insect bites to quell the itchiness. Oatmeal is also effective on dry skin.

Honey

See? We love bees! Bees produce honey, which has a very powerful natural antibacterial and antiseptic property to it, especially for bug bites. While this is not strictly vegan, raw honey can be used as a spot treatment to draw out impurities from insect bites and alleviate discomfort.

Aloe Vera

This plant is specifically used for sunburns, but it is just as effective for bites. A simple body wash or lotion with aloe vera can both repel bugs and treat bites.

White or Apple Cider Vinegar

The odor of vinegar is not ideal, but it is especially effective so it should not be discounted. Vinegar can balance the skin’s natural chemicals to heal, and act as a repellant, as well.

Baking Soda/Water/Essential Oils

For a mixture with an extra punch, try a 2:1 ration of baking soda to water and your favorite essential oils (we suggest lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or lemon).

Herbal Tea Bags

The essential oils from the baking soda mixture as herbal teas (in a bag) are also effective. Steep the tea bag enough to saturate it with water and put it on the bite or add it to your evening bath.

Keep Bugs Away Naturally

At Organic Cosmetica, we pride ourselves on using fresh, naturally-based ingredients in our products. We are most proud of our Organic Insect Shield and Repellant to keep you from having to use any of the remedies listed above. Our formula has zero DEET in it and is eco-friendly, as well as contains seven essential oils science has shown repels bugs. Check out our great smelling/non-greasy/sweat and water-resistant INSECT REPELLANT today – if you buy two, you qualify for FREE shipping.