An Outbreak Shouldn’t Mean A Break Out: 3 Insect Repellants Gentle Enough For Your Skin

Insect repellent is a summer essential unless of course you want to become bug food within a matter of minutes. Bug bites can damage your skin causing blisters, scars, and some even carry diseases so you want to keep them at bay. While a good repellent can work wonders in keeping insects away, they can be oily, smelly and make you feel greasy and uncomfortable so what do you do? You look for one that repels the bugs, but doesn’t repulse you. Below you will find almost everything you need to know about insect repellent and how to find one with the active ingredients  that are right for you.

DEET

The strongest and most popular bug spray out on the market is DEET. It is America’s most used repellent a 2008 study showed that more than 200 million people use it worldwide. When used in high concentrations it is likely the most effective repellent on the market. As is the case with most chemicals, too much of a good thing turns out to be bad. If used too frequently, repellents with a high concentration of DEET can cause rashes, scarring and blisters. These conditions are rare and even less likely if you are diligent to wash your skin after you return indoors and the repellent is no longer necessary. If you are in a situation where a quick shower isn’t really possible—like a camping trip or long hike—then a wet  wipe or moist toilette should do the trick. Products like Off! Deep Woods Sportsmen,contains 30% DEET and tend to be longer lasting.

Lemon Eucalyptus oil

If you are looking for a natural solution to your bug biting problems then you should certainly consider the oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is one of only three repellents that are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency. It derives from a species of eucalyptus tree and research has shown that it is one of the most effective plant based insect repellents. You can find it in Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus, Bite Blocker Xtreme and Burts Bees All Natural Herbal.

Picaridin

This ingredient derives from pepper and is more widely available in Europe and Australia. In the United States it is used in lower concentrations that may be increased in time after more studies have been conducted. The repellent can irritate your eyes if there is direct contact, but there have been no signs or reports of it damaging or severely irritating anyone’s skin. It has also been shown that Picaridin lasts about 70% as long as DEET making it a close second to the more potent solution. It is the active ingredient in Natrapel 8-hour and Cutter Advanced which promotes having both a light and clean feel, and is fragrance free.

Keep in mind:

Insect repellent is a chemical and like most chemicals it shouldn’t be used on babies. The age limits vary based on the product and the potency, but most are consistent in their warning against the use on babies. When you apply insect repellent to children use your hands to rub it on them and never put it on their hands as they tend to put them in their mouths. Also remember to avoid using too much. Never spray in an enclosed area, and avoid places on the skin where there are wounds or irritated skin.  Only apply on the skin that is exposed and not under clothing. Lastly, to properly apply to your face, use your hands instead of spraying your face directly and never forget to wash it off after you are indoors.

Dr. Steven Zimmet is an Austin dermatologist at Zimmet Vein & Dermatology. His practice is dedicated to venous and dermatological advancements including body contouring, acne and sun damage treatment, and skin resurfacing.






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How To Protect Your Garden From Pests During The Winter Months

Humans are not the only ones who get to enjoy winter. Many garden pests and diseases also thrive during the winter months causing serious harm to our gardens. There are a variety of plants and flowers that can tolerate the cold weather but they often get infested by annoying insects. It is such a shame to allow these pests and diseases to destroy a garden that gives life to a home during dreary winter months. If you want to protect your garden during the winter and keep it healthy for the arrival of spring, then learning more about these pests and diseases and how to prevent them is your best solution.

Snails And Slugs

There are creatures that are able to survive the cold and snails and slugs are among them. They find shelter from the cold and remain dormant until the temperature rises a little. Though they may hide during the day, they come out at night in search for food when the weather is moist and cool. The best way to protect your garden from snails and slugs is by scattering crushed eggshells around your plants and flowers. You can also use copper tape around potted plants to keep these pests away as they avoid having their bellies come into contact with it. Another method is by applying salt or lime around the plants to effectively deter snails and slugs.

Root Rot

This is a common problem with plants during winter as it can make leaves turn yellow and plants wilt. If a plant is affected, it will be mushy and black, while the roots may fall off the plants. To get rid of root rot, simply take the plant and wash the roots, then trim the roots with a sharp scissor. Once clean and trimmed, you can replant it in a pot.

Aphids

Aphids are a common problem in gardens and they can infest plants throughout the year so you must always keep an eye out for them. They can survive the colder weather by overwintering on hedgerows and ornamental plants without being seen until ants begin to infest the plants as well. The best way to keep aphids off your garden is by picking them off by hand to prevent them from multiplying. Another pest that can infest your garden similar to aphids is the Cabbage White Butterfly that overwinters in gates and fences.

Cutworms, Carrot Fly, Onion Fly And Beet Leaf Miner

If you have vegetables growing during the winter then you must be cautious about a handful of pests thriving in your garden as they can overwinter in the soil. The beet leaf miner, carrot fly, cutworms and onion fly can seriously damage your vegetables and make your garden look poorly cared for. To get rid of these pests during the winter, you can dig up the soil and expose them to birds and the cold weather. To protect your garden from carrot fly larvae, you need to dig up all the roots and burn the roots that have been infested.

Caring for a garden during the cold weather can be a challenge, but it is essential if you are determined to have a healthy garden next season. Since pests are the primary concern in a garden, it is better that you consult with a professional to determine the best treatment for your garden.

Citations:
  • Photograph by: LittleJack.
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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://mrg.bz/CO2iWc

Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in gardening and natural forms of Preventive Pest Control in gardens. She also provides information about natural pest control methods during the winter months, how pests can affect plants and how beneficial plants and insects can help keep pests away.

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Beauty And The Beasts: Care For Your Orchids By Getting Rid Of The Pests

Orchids are beautiful and exotic blossoms that are very delicate to care for. There are about 20,000 pieces of orchid plants that are divided into over 700 genra and they are all a symbol of love and beauty. They are prized for their uniqueness, elegance and beauty, thus the reason for many gardening hobbyists to care for them. In fact, orchids are so exquisite that they are quite expensive too. Unfortunately, they are also victims of pest infestations which are a nuisance. The best way to deal with pests on your orchids is to prevent them from the very beginning.

 

Caring For Your Orchids

Orchids are just like any plants that can be infested by pests and diseases. To prevent this from happening you must first be very observant and make a habit of inspecting your plants regularly. When you are vigilant about it, you can avoid having to deal with pests or diseases in the long run. It is also a good idea to sterilize your gardening tools before you work on your orchids and invest in new one sided razor blades for cutting. Never use a blade on an infected plant and then on a healthy one. Knowing what type of pest can infest orchids is also necessary so you can apply the proper treatments.

Identify Pests That May Be Infesting Your Flowers

When you learn to identify the different types of pests that can infest orchids, you will find it easier to care for these beauties. Here are a few common pests that infest different varieties of orchids:

Aphids

This is a common pest found in a variety of plants and they can be easily distinguished by their black, orange, pink, red, yellow or beige colors. Aphids are normally seen on flower buds, new leaves and shoots feeding on the plant. Sadly, these pests can deform orchids and infect them with virus and bacteria, but hey can be washed off with water or you can spray them with orange oil or isopropyl alcohol.

Scale

Scale is a pest with a hard shell to protect the soft hidden body from danger, making it more difficult to eliminate it with alcohol or other natural remedies. If you look on the underside of leaves or on the edge or bracts of leaves, you will find this pest feeding. Getting rid of it can be tiresome, but with plenty of patience, you can simply pick them off your orchids. When you remove this pest from your plants, you can expect your orchids to become healthy.

Slugs

These are also common orchid pests and they can do serious damage to your expensive plants from the roots all the way to the flowers. You can easily find them at night hiding under flower pots and in cool damp places. However, you can eliminate slugs by simply placing a few broken egg shells around your orchids as these shells can cut through slugs.

Mealy Bug

Resembling cotton masses, this pest can be found hiding on the growing tips, stems, bracts and buds.  Usually, they can be seen together with aphids. Unfortunately this pest is quite difficult to eliminate as repeated treatments are necessary.

Orchids are indeed one of a kind and extensive care is recommended for these exquisite plants. If you think that the pests you find infesting your garden and orchids seem to be great in number, you must consult with a pest control professional to get rid of the tiny beasts to save your beauties.

Citations:
Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://mrg.bz/S9b1DL

Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in gardening and natural forms of pest control in gardens. She also provides information about natural pest control methods in homes and in the garden, how pests can affect plants such as orchids and how the services of Las Vegas Ant Control professionals from help treat severe infestations.

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