GREEN
07/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellents

To many, biting insects are the very definition of annoying. Plus, mosquitoes and ticks can sometimes carry diseases, from Lyme disease to West Nile virus. Long clothes can certainly help, but that's not always an option in the heat of summer.

The active ingredient in most bug sprays, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET, has been shown to be effective, but it has also come under fire in recent years by health researchers. DEET has been found to impede cognition in some animal studies. Plus, some people find that DEET-based repellents have a harsh, chemical smell and feel.

Many families are looking for more natural alternatives, which can be made from plant oils like citronella, lemongrass, peppermint and cedarwood. For example, California Baby's sprays are designed to soothe existing bites while repelling fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies -- all with pleasant smelling (and sustainably harvested) essential plant oils. Learn more at www.californiababy.com.

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