It's summertime and mosquito season is upon us. Gardeners are always looking for ways to minimize exposure to insects, not just because they are a nuisance but also to protect against diseases such as West Nile virus.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has officially recommended using two new mosquito repellents to help ward off these pests. Repellents containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are now recommended alternatives to DEET. Picaridin is purported to be as effective as DEET but less irritating to the eyes and skin. It has been used as the active ingredient in insect repellents in Europe and Australia for years.
For those gardeners wanting to use a more natural insect repellent product, oil of lemon eucalyptus is a plant-derived compound that repels insects as effectively as DEET, but it isn't as long lasting. It also should not be used on children younger than 3 years old.
For more information on these products and the best way to use insect repellents, go to the Centers for Disease Control.