Getting the Bugs Out

By Charlie Nardozzi, June 23, 2008

Summer means baseball, gardening, swimming, and -- unfortunately for many folks -- biting insects. If there are any creatures on earth whose existence I have trouble justifying, blackflies and mosquitoes would be the ones. They often swarm, bite, and drive me indoors long before I'm ready to end my gardening day. Now, two new products may give us more mosquito-free time.

Bug Chaser, a wristband repellent, promises to keep bugs 10 feet away for up to 60 hours. Its pleasant citrus scent clogs insects' receptors making it hard for them to find you. The ingredients are all FDA-approved food additives. So, if you can eat them, you can probably wear them without fear.

Bite Blocker contains only plant oils, such as soybean and coconut oils, and comes in roll-on and spray forms and as an oil or lotion. It's water- and perspiration-resistant, so it works well on active children and ambitious gardeners. In studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Bite Blocker repelled blackflies for up to 8 hours and mosquitoes for 4 hours, making it comparable to a Deet-based repellent (Deet is a controversial bug-repellent ingredient that can be toxic).

Bug Chaser sells for around $4 and is available at chain drugstores such as Walgreens. Bite Blocker sells for $8 at discount stores.

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