Summer Time = Bugs

Here in Rhode Island our summers are very short.  When it finally arrives it not only brings beautiful weather, but it also brings those pesky bugs.  We have mosquitos that can carry EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis), West Nile Virus, and Zika Virus.  Another problem we have is with ticks and deer ticks.  Deer ticks can be carriers and spread Lyme Disease.

As many of you may know last September 2015, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  I found the tell tale sign, a bullseye rash on my leg.DC211612-FB42-4D5B-8126-3002C9A4FF55  I felt awful, really, really terrible.  I had a high fever, I was vomiting non stop, the pain in my head was worse than any migraine I had ever suffered through.  Plus every inch of my body was in pain.

When I went to the hospital they did many tests to see what was going on.  My favorite was the “lumbar puncture”.  Seems like they came up with a new prettier sounding word for what we all know as a spinal tap.  Thank goodness for the drugs they provided.  I was nervous as hell, even though I had already been through two nerve blocks with each baby being born.  The pain was unbearable due to my sickness.  I was given Morphine through IV to help with that.  They came up with the diagnoses (Lyme) pretty quick (after 37 viles of blood was taken).  I then started on an antibiotic called doxycycline, which my body did NOT tolerate.  I was then switched to an IV drip of amoxicillin.  I spent 5 days in the hospital trying to recover.

 It was an awful experience, but there was one thing I was grateful for… That is, that it happened to me and not my children!  I would never want to imagine one of my guys having to go through everything I did.  My boys (and your families) are the reason for this post.

I wanted to do some research on bug repellents that would keep all kinds of insects away from my family.  I first broke it down between repellents that contain Deet, and more natural ones that do not.  **According to the CDC repellents considered safe for children and adults only contain up to 30% Deet.**

Many people are using essential oils (lemongrass, sage, thyme, citronella, lavender).

I love essential oils!  However the 1 big downfall is the length of time the protection lasts.  Usually about every 30-60 minutes the spray needs to be reapplied.  I included this little cheat sheet I found on Pinterest: Thank you


Mixing certain combinations of these oils in a spray bottle of water, and you have your own repellent.


Then I read the newest edition of Consumer Reports.  It lists many repellents which they have tried and tested.  My top picks from their list are:

Without Deet

  1. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus – lasts 7-8 hours

    repel - Copy

Oil of lemoneucalyptus = 30%  Approx. 65% p-menthane- 3.8-diol




  2. California Baby Natural Bug Blend –lasts 30 minutes for calbaby - Copymosquitoes, 7 hours for ticks

Pure essential oils of cymbopogon nardus, (citronella-5%), cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass .5%), and cedar atlantica (cedar .5%)




3. ECOSmart Organic – Lasts 30 minutes for mosquitoes, and 1 1/2 hours for ticks

Geraniol 1%, rosemary oil .5%, cinnamon oil .5%, and lemongrass oil .5%eco

With Deet

  1. Off Deepwoods VIII – lasts 8 hours for mosquitoes, 5 hours for ticksdeep

    Contains 25% Deet





  2. Ben’s Deer Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula- lasts 7.5 hours for mosquitoes, 8.5 for bensticks

                  Contains 30% Deet





repel3. Repel Sented Family – lasts 5 hours for mosquitoes, 8.5 hours for ticks

Contains 15% Deet





There are other things I have tried using/doing to keep the bugs away as well.  I have used citronella candles, and tiki torches.  Personally, I feel like that doesn’t work very well.  I have found when we are sitting outside a camp fire always seems to keep bugs away.  Sounds weird but I have also kept a fan on high when sitting out on our deck.  Not only does it keep you cooler, seems like the bugs stay away.

Also remove any areas of sitting water.  If rain has collected in or on something in your yard, dump the water.  Mosquitoes love old, still water.

According to my husband (who owns a landscaping company) ticks like longer grass.  Keep your grass short, and remove all leave piles, cut shrubs, and remove any down trees.

So please do all you can to keep you and your children safe this summer.  It is no fun for anyone contracting an illness from one of these gross bugs!


** Thank you to the CDC website as well as Consumer Reports (July 2016 edition) for providing some information I needed for this post.


  1. I live on 10 wooded acres in NC, and tick bites are my biggest Nope! My little man is only 11 months old, so he doesn’t spend much time outside, but I’m terrified he’s going to end up with some tick-borne illness like Lyme. I try to use the most natural preventative I can since he’s small, but I’ll be pulling out the big guns when he’s bigger and spending more time outside on his own exploring. Thanks for all of this great info!


  2. Yes, I’ve had the California ticks, ewww, and so have my dogs. But ticks that carry lyme disease–scary business! Two windsurfer friends that live in the Sierra Nevadas BOTH contracted lyme disease. It took thjem down with severe symptoms! Your infographic and list of bug juice was very informative. I hope you are recovering from your lyme disease!


  3. How awful – glad you’re better! I hate bugs. We don’t actually get a lot of tick bites & Lyme disease in the UK, though there are a few areas of the country known for higher incidents of it. Would never have considered using essential oils for insect repellent purposes.


  4. There’s an abandoned house next to us that has an uncovered inground pool in its backyard. It’s the absolute worst and the city claims they can’t do anything about it. We’re already being swarmed with Asian tiger mosquitoes thanks to that silly pool and it’s beyond awful. My kids can’t play outside without being eaten alive. I’m definitely going to look more into the bug repellents you recommended.


  5. Sorry to hear about your ordeal Beth. Hopefully you are symptom free now. Also, thanks for the info. This new zika thing is scary for all of us.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s