Suns out Bugs out.
As a Dad, one of my main duties is to protect my family. That is why I feel it is necessary to use an organic mosquito yard spray on a weekly basis. Again, I want to protect my family so I chose, Mosquito Magician, an organic spray to treat my yard and ward away annoying critters.
There are several ways to administer the spray. The easiest way would be through an irrigation system, I am not quite sure how to accomplish this because I do not have an irrigation system. The other two methods that I am aware of are through a garden hose spray attachment, and/or a manual sprayer that can be purchased online or at your local hardware store.
It is nothing special, just a canister that you fill with water and the chemical, twist on the cap that has a pump and spray nozzle on it. Pump in some air and spray. As you may guess, I use the latter to spray the bug repellant.
It works well and works for about a week or so. We really notice a difference if I miss a week. So, I try not to do that.
There is a huge debate over bug spray, mainly DEET or no DEET. Being wary of DEET is healthy but overblown. According to an article published in 2019 by the Cleveland Clinic, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved DEET for use in people of all ages, including children” (Milanowski, A. 2019). However, the same article warns that pregnant females, and infants under 2 months should not use DEET.
It is my opinion that DEET should not be used on pregnant woman and children under 2 years old. I am not a doctor or a clinician of any sort, but this is the rule in my house and what I did to protect my son and wife. So Deet is great and safe as long as the user is over 2 years old and not pregnant.
You can always avoid bugs and bug spray by staying indoors. For me this is not an option.
Long Sleeves and Pants
The less skin you and your family expose the more protected you are from bug bites. This is especially true if you are doing yard work, or plan to be in a wooded area. It may be hard to do in warmer weather, but wearing a light long sleeve shirt and pants will protect you more from those pesky bug bites than shorts and short sleeve shirts.
Technical clothing designed to repel bugs are available from most outdoor stores and clothing manufacturers. Some names are Columbia, Ex-Officio, Cabelas, LL. Bean, etc. It is pretty easy to find this apparel just by doing a Google search. They are effective but expensive, and their care can be a bit complicated. My no-frills suggestion is to wear what you own and spray them with DEET containing bug spray.
Another bug protection aid is Mosquito netting. These nets come in all different types, some are worn on the head, others are full body suits, and none of them look cool. I guess looking cool is not a concern when trying to protect one’s self from mosquito borne illness. From experience, I can tell you bug netting works. So cool or not cool I will sport it if trekking through a rain forest is on your agenda.
I’ve Been Bit, Stop the Itch
In general, being bit by a bug can cause immediate pain, swelling, and a torturous itch that never seems to go away. Of course there are more severe reactions to bug bites or stings. Depending on the bug and/or victim, worse reactions are possible that could actually lead to permanent injury or death, but we will save that for another day. For some of the more severe reactions check out this slide show.
Providing there is no severe allergic reaction or a deadly venom involved, bug bites are just annoying. Some ways to alleviate the annoying symptoms of bug bites are applying cool compresses, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, baking soda paste, and an antihistamine to stop the itch and swelling (Mayo Clinic Staff, Insect bites and stings: First aid).
One “stop the itch” remedy for mosquito bites that my wife swears by is spraying insect repellant directly on the mosquito bite. I thought she was nuts, but despite my doubts it did provide me with some reliefe.
One more tip, Bee stings are kind of unique because once a bee stings its victim it leaves beehind (I couldn’t resist) it’s stinger and a venom sac. To remove the stinger, a credit card should be used to scrape the stinger away from the skin, rather than grabbing the stinger and pulling it out. The reason for this is grabbing for the stinger will squeeze the venom sac injecting more poison into the victim. Scraping across the stinger will lift it from the site preventing the sac from being squeezed.
Full disclosure, I think bugs are pretty amazing, except mosquitos which are the devils pet that I wish would be wiped off the face of the earth. Do you want to know how I really feel, I digress. On the other hand, Bees are amazing and generally will not sting unless they are provoked.
Bees are so useful to our way of life and are extremely productive. They pollinate our flowers and agricultural food supply, produce honey (which has tremendous healing properties and tastes great), and make beeswax for candles and other goods. They are truly amazing. So teach your kids how amazing they are and warn them not to provoke bees and/or kill them.
Make some memories
It is difficult maybe impossible to avoid being bitten, stung, or sucked on by bugs. But the common sense suggestions mentioned above should help you and your family lessen the chances of becoming a victim of these pests when heading outside.
Dads (parents) get outside with your kids. Enjoy nature and help your children to safely and comfortably discover all the amazing creatures, except mosquitos and Africanized bees (deadly), that are part of our amazing world. Put down the video games and phone, shut off the TV, put on some sunscreen and DEET, and get outside.
Show your kids how to skip rocks, grow vegetables from seeds, collect shells, ride a bike, identify birds and maybe even go fishing. These are all simple things that Dads can do that don’t cost much, but can create a lifetime of memories.
Milanowski, Ann. “Is DEET Bad for You (and Your Kids)?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 28 Aug. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/is-deet-bad-for-you-and-your-kids/.