The first spring harvest is in, and it's a bumper crop...of mosquitoes. Here in Vermont we've had buckets of rain for months now (ugh), and the first droning wave of tiny winged demons has begun its bloodthirsty quest and sent us all screaming for the bug juice.
In my case, that means looking for a variety of strategies to help keep the bugs at bay. This season, I am particularly fond of insect repellents that use essential oils.
According to the CDC, the answer appears to be lemon eucalyptus oil, which the agency recently declared to be as effective as products with low concentrations of DEET, a chemical insect repellent.
Look for a repellent whose active ingredient is oil of lemon eucalyptus or p-menthane 3,8-diol, the compound in the oil that does all the repelling, and follow all instructions -- especially those regarding the product's use on infants and toddlers.
There are also things we can do to minimize our exposures to mosquitoes in the first place. These strategies are a good idea because ultimately the best repellent is not needing one at all: