Saturday, October 3, 2009

How does bug repellent work?

Have you ever been sitting around a nice glowing campfire with your friends and family, singing and dancing (maybe not dancing) roasting marshmallows until they light up like mini comets on the end of the stick? Telling eerie ghost stories that made you never want to fall asleep again, and then all of a sudden right at the climax of the story someone says "Ahh!" and then slaps themselves everyone jumps and then they just say, "A mosquito just bit me." Okay, well maybe it doesn't always happen like that.
Mosquito's are lovely creatures. They are like little vampires sucking your blood, however, there is something out there that can help prevent these little attacks from happening. The answer is bug repellent.
Bug repellent work great, sometimes, if you can find a good one. These repellents are made of different chemicals. There are man-made and natural bug repellents. Natural repellents can be made up of different oils like lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, and geranium. Mmm imagine how nice that must smell?
These repellents work by making sure the little vampires don't land on the surface of whatever is sprayed. But just to make sure everyone knows, repellents don't actually kill the insect, just sort of turns them off of whatever it lands on.
Both of the synthetic and natural bug repellents work, but the synthetic ones last longer. These last longer because of their high concentration of active ingredients. Any products containing 20- 23.8 percent DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) provides about 4-5 hours of protections from vampires (mosquito's).
However, the natural ones do work, but they only last for up to 2 hours. With either one you chose to use you will always have to keep applying, just like sun block.
One very good reason to wear bug repellents is to keep away female mosquito's. They will bite humans and animals for protein to help develop their larvae. So by using the repellent you are helping mask the scent of yourself, which they are attracted too.
So the moral of this story is, always wear bug repellant to keep away vampires.

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, nice overview of repellents, but you don't really explain how they work, apart from a reference at the end to masking scent. Remember that you are supposed to be explaining science.