The Four 'B's of Summer

 By: Debbie Riley
The four ‘B’s of Summer; BBQ, Baseball, Beaches and Bugs! Like many of you, I have my favorite BBQ meal (Ribs) and favorite Baseball team (Tampa Bay Rays) and of course my favorite beaches (St. Petersburg-Belleair); but who has a favorite bug? I’ll wager very few, in fact I believe most of you would think we could do with less bugs. Well although most bugs play a significant role in our ecosystem from a food source, clean up scavengers to pollinators, I think we could get by with them not bothering us when we’re outdoors and trying to enjoy the rest of nature. All insect bites are allergic reactions to the saliva of the biting insect. Not exactly something most people want to be thinking about when they are drinking their favorite ice-cold beverage by the pool or campsite. In order for you to spend as little time as possible thinking about these pesky insects and more time enjoying the nice weather, we have put together a list of some of the most common bites and how to avoid and/or treat them.

Mosquito Bites: Mosquito bites are the most common type of summer insect bite. Mosquitoes breed in areas of standing water and usually are most prevalent in the hours from dusk to dawn. Prevention includes wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks (who wants to wear long sleeves, long pants and socks in the summer?), and of course using insect repellent.

Bee Stings: Bee stings can cause immediate pain, swelling, and itching at the site of the sting. People that are very allergic to bee stings can also develop severe reactions and go into anaphylactic shock. Symptoms of this cause swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth and airways, which can cause difficulty breathing and result in shock and even death if it goes untreated. If you know that you are allergic to bee stings, your doctor should give you a prescription for an Epi (epinephrine) pen, which can be injected immediately after the sting to prevent the severe allergic reaction.

Ticks: Ticks are most common in wooded areas and around tall grass. If you are going to be in susceptible areas it is recommended to wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks of a lighter color so that you can see if the tick attaches to clothing. Ticks are very small in size but once they attach to the skin, they can grow to be the size of a pencil eraser, or bigger. Ticks should be removed gently with tweezers. Tick bites can result in Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a rash that’s often bull’s-eye shaped and slowly enlarges. If untreated, Lyme disease can cause joint pains and heart problems.

Fleas: Fleas don't like living on humans though they will bite to see if you are tasty. They much prefer animals. Fleas catch rides anyway they can to come in the house. There, they find the animals and carpet and spread like crazy. For fleas you must treat not only your pets, the house and the yard.

Chiggers: Chiggers are the larvae of mites. If you have ever been out in the woods or an open field in spring, summer or fall, you may have gotten chiggers around your waistband or on your ankles. They leave red, itchy bumps on your skin. You might encounter chiggers in any number of environments, but they are especially concentrated in damp areas with a lot of vegetation. They are attracted to concealed, moist conditions on hosts, too, so they tend to attach to skin under tight clothing, such as socks and underwear, or in concealed areas of the body, such as the groin and the armpits. One way to decrease the chance of chigger bites is to wear loose clothing when you're in the woods or other infested areas. You should also take a shower as soon as you get home from an outdoor expedition, to remove any chiggers before they attach to your skin.

Then of course there are the ‘Pesky’ insects like: Flies, Gnats, No-See-Ums, Midges, ect…

So what are you going to do about them? There are many things that attract insects to humans from blood type, color of clothing, CO2 emission, sweating, to drinking beer. Well, I cannot change my blood type, I like wearing colorful clothing, I have to exhale, it’s Summer time, you’re going to sweat and who is going to give up beer?

One train of thought is you can stay covered in insect repellents. The ones that contain DEET are very effective but they are usually in a petroleum base and smell like it too, not very good for your skin either.

Using the understanding of traditional natural insect repellent plants obtained through ethnobotanical studies is an indispensable resource for the development of new environmentally friendly products.

Have you been looking for all natural mosquito repellent products that really work? Want to avoid harsh/suspect/harmful chemicals? Do you want a natural bug repellent that is not only effective, lasts a long time, is gentle and conditioning to your skin but doesn't attract bees like some of the natural bug repellent products do?

Whether you're looking for an all natural mosquito repellent, green pesticides, biopesticides, Minimum Risk Pesticides, all natural insect repellent, a natural bug repellent or whatever name you'd like to assign to them, what you really want is something that is both safe and effective.

Formulated by design to optimize their efficacy and crafted with ingredients you know and can actually pronounce like Lemon Eucalyptus, Catnip Oil, Neem Oil, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree, Cedarwood, Basil, and Castor Oil, our natural insect repellents represent the best in a defense against pesky biting insects.
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