It’s with these two products, and their success, that everything started for Wayward Chickadee. (Find out how on the About Us page). We use the black fly repellent every season and with it these annoying little creatures refuse to land on your skin! No more black fly bites mean you’re free to enjoy those beautiful spring and early summer days outside! When summer hits and the mosquitoes are out in full force, we switch to our all natural mosquito repellent and enjoy those warm summer evening in peace!
DEET, the biggest enemy in mosquito repellents
Every year when the beautiful, warm days return, it’s the same ritual. Mosquitoes come to spoil our morning gardening, our BBQ evenings, our walks in the forest, and our camping holidays. The first reaction is to get out the mosquito repellent, hold your breath, and spray yourself from head to toe. Although effective, it’s not without health risks. DEET, the ingredient in most if not all insect repellents, is dangerous to your health and the environment. Did you know bug spray poisoning is a thing? According to Medline, DEET can cause skin irritation, coughing, tremors, vomiting, and seizures among other symptoms.
Essential oils, an alternative to chemical products
Among the natural methods that repel mosquitoes, essential oils have already proven their effectiveness and is a perfect natural alternative to chemicals. Their odor, unpleasant to insects, repulses them naturally by disrupting their nervous system. Essential oils based on citronella and geranium are the most effective and can also be used to relieve pain and itchiness in case of bites thanks to their inflammatory properties. Peppermint is an indirect repellent, because it cools the skin, reducing the heat that attracts insects.
Our insect repellent balms are 100% natural. Learn more about essential oils >>
A natural base for the good of your skin
Natural butters and oils make up the base of our balms (olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax), which will nourish and moisturize your skin. Finally, we use a natural conservative called leucidal that is produced through the fermentation of radishes. It contains peptides with anti-bacterial proprieties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are our insect repellents effective?
The appetite of mosquitoes and other insects is primarily based on a question of smell rather than of skin. The mosquito, for example, is attracted by carbon dioxide released from the skin rather than the skin itself.
Scientifically, insects generally locate their food by following carbon dioxide that plants and humans exhale. When it’s hot, the body temperature increases, and so does Co2, as does perspiration. Sweat releases chemical compounds that are very popular with insects: volatile fatty acids, lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The production of these molecules vary from person to person, which explains why certain people attract mosquitos more than others.
Finally, the mosquitos’ antennae serve as its nose to detect nearby the presence of significant Co2 (antennae which can detect up to 150 feet). The antennae are composed of olfactory neurons with receptors that capture molecules in the air. When the receptor finds "its" odor, in this case CO2, it sends a signal to the brain ("meal on the horizon!") which triggers its movement toward the source. This is where our 100% natural repellent acts, by disturbing their receptors thanks to the scent of essential oils. Even if the most tenacious mosquito tries to approach or even land because of the Co2 around you, the scent of essential oils will make them turn around. The thin layer of oils and butters and the scent in our balm on the skin will dissuade them from landing!
All natural - what does it mean?
Today, people are more conscious about what they put on their skin and how what they buy affects the environment. The word "natural" is therefore very fashionable and posted everywhere by many brands. Unfortunately, the word “natural” isn’t regulated so make sure you look at the ingredients! A perfectly natural product should ONLY include ingredients produced by nature. A product that contains ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol or any other chemicals just aren’t natural.
Are essential oils safe?
Essential oils aren’t regulated and concentration rates can vary greatly from product to product. Essential oils are powerful substances and their use shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially since they can be harmful if the concentration is too high.
At Wayward Chickadee, we adhere to the guidelines issued by the International Fragrance Association, working with the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) to determine safe usage for various applications. Each essential oil (and essential oil combination) has a maximum usage rate depending on whether it’s for lip balm, soap, repellents, shampoo etc. For example, let’s take cedarwood essential. For insect repellent, the maximum usage is 9%, for cold process soap it is 5%, and lip balm is 1.25%
Following these standards, we use a concentration of 9% based on the blend of essential oils we use for our insect repellents. This ensures that our repellents are not only effective, but also safe for you to use.
Always look at the concentration of essential oils when buying natural insect repellents. If you’re seeing percentages in the double digits, you may want to continue your search.
We mix our natural base with a special blend of essential oils that mosquitoes absolutely hate. This includes:
- Rosemary - a natural pesticide that also repels blood-sucking and biting insects.
- Cedarwood - a woody, lemon scent with excellent repelling properties.
- Clove - containing eugenol, a potent aromatic phenol that disrupts insect receptors.
- Lemongrass - cousin to Citronella oil, contains geraniol, another recognized insect repellent.
- Citronella - the queen of repellent essential oils! it contains citronellol, geraniol and citronellal, molecules which disturb the nervous system of insects and make them flee.
Black fly repellent
Black flies, or no-see-ums among other names, are inevitable in the northeast of the United States. Many a warm day in May, June, and July are ruined by these little gnats. Even though they look small and inoffensive, their bites are painful and irritating. Black flies are the most active several hours after sunrise and an hour or two before sunset when the humidity is the highest. They lay their eggs in fresh water between 40 and 50 degrees, usually located in wooded areas. They are especially obnoxious when you are hiking, camping, boating, and fishing.
We mix our natural base with a special blend of essential oils that black flies can’t stand. This includes:
- Peppermint – which cools the skin and disrupts their receptors.
- Cedarwood – a woody, lemon scent with excellent repelling properties.
- Rosemary – a natural pesticide that also repels blood-sucking and biting insects.
- Geranium – composed of geraniol, a molecule recognized for repelling insects.