It's that time of year again to break out the camping gear, get the barbecue out of storage, and point the car towards the great outdoors. Unfortunately, that also means bugs, and plenty of 'em: mosquitoes, flies, gnats, chiggers, what have you.
Not much has changed since I was a kid; get out of the car, get slathered with foul, greasy, chemical-laden bug spray, and then repeat the process every few hours, or after you got out of the water. Again. And again. It would get in your eyes, on your hands, which would get on your food, and then nobody was a winner.
There haven't been many advances in insect repellent since the discovery of N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, which we know better as DEET. That stuff works, no doubt about it. It's also toxic to animal and plant life, stains (or even melts!) clothes, and it just all around unpleasant to use. Arguably, the only real innovation in commercial insect repellent is the invention of the squeeze bottle. Here are 12 hormone-altering ingredients to avoid, along with DEET.
If you're thinking that there has to be a product that is better for you and better for the environment, there is: essential oils. It turns out that bugs don't like the aromas of many essential oils, they're 100% natural and you can even make them yourself! All you need are a few oils and other household items you can find – with a little hunting – at your local supermarket or pharmacy.