Tips From The Team | Take the sting out of summer, the WiDEYE bug guide.

by Sam Bull

What’s synonymous with summer in your eyes? For us, it's time by the sea, sandy feet and quite often a rise in… midges & mosquitos! (this might be especially true if you live up in Scotland) 

As annoying as they may be, in reality, bugs are just trying to thrive and survive as much as we are on planet Earth. Although it might be difficult to remember this when you’ve got a sneaky mosquito waking you up periodically throughout the night, to the point you’re re-considering even agreeing to a lake-side camping trip in the first place… 

It’s times like these when the idea of applying dreaded Deet might actually sound quite appealing. So let us help you take the sting out of your next trip and keep the whole family buzzing for more adventures. These natural alternatives are the bee’s knees and will keep you from flea-ing your tent in the middle of the night. 

So which bugs do I need to look out for? 

The UK is crawling with thousands of different species, but to save us from writing a novel, we’re going to be focusing on keeping you bite-free from the two main culprits, mosquitoes and midges. Horseflies and ticks are also fairly common and a lot of the advice here will also apply to them. 

The lowdown on midges & mosquitos 

When we talk about midges, we’re actually talking about 500 subspecies which are typified by their long antennae. Luckily, you’re unlikely to come across all 500 at any one time, certain species also have a preference for different types of blood/animals. It might also be comforting to know that it’s only the females that feed on blood, eliminating around 50% of potential bites.

One of the main differences from mosquitos is that they actually use their mouths to feed, rather than having straw-like feature attached to their faces. For a good close-up look at how they feed, take a look a this macro-midge footage. 

Interestingly mosquitos are actually classified in a very similar way to midges, but as mentioned, the key difference is in the way they feed. They are also responsible for passing on diseases like malaria, whereas midges aren’t. They are also much bigger, the Australian Elephant Mosquito for example can grow up to 3.3 cm in length, for reference, that’s around the same size as your standard house key! 

Now we know what we’re dealing with, make sure to tick all these essentials off your list before summer starts.

Bug protection on the fly 

Grab yourself some essential oil

Essential oils are a popular natural alternative to synthetic insect repellents. We’d recommend drawing for citronella or eucalyptus as your armour of choice. You can dilute them with a carrier oil and apply them to your skin or use them in diffusers to keep both mosquitos & midges at bay. Some studies have even shown them to be as effective as DEET.

Eating more garlic 

Okay, this is a bit of a myth with no solid proof. But you can never have enough garlic, so if there is a slight chance it could possibly help with bugs, we’re all for it! If anything it’s a good excuse to eat more garlic on your next holiday. 

Neem oil 

Neem oil is rich in several active compounds, most notably you’ve got azadirachtin, which is the the main element responsible for keeping those bugs at bay. Lots of anti-bug products contain it, but you can also mix it at home with things like coconut oil and apply it directly to your skin. 

WiDEYE Remedies

Now we wouldn’t want to leave out our in-house formulas. You have a few different options in the range…

Bug repellent spray 

Packed with citronella, which causes mayhem for mozzies and midges. We’ve also added patchouli, lavender and rosemary oil to give it a much more appealing scent. 

Bug repellent Balm 

Both Neem & citronella oil are combined for extra effectiveness, we recommend using this one overnight, since the balm will soak into your skin and last much longer than a spray or oil roller. 

Bug repellent Roller 

This is by far our most pocket friendly option, so it’s great for topping up on the go. 

Keep your hive bug-free 

DIY Mosquito trap 

If you like a home-brew method, this is for you!

This trap works by emitting a scent that lures mosquitoes. When they fly in, they drown in the mixture. It is recommended to hang this trap in a high place, like a tree, to disperse the scent effectively. You will need…  

1 large plastic bottle
2 cups of water
1 cup of vinegar
1 cup of sugar
1 to 2 banana peels

Here's how to make the trap:

Mix the water, vinegar, and sugar in the bottom of the bottle and shake well. Submerge the banana peels in the mixture.

Remove the cap from the bottle and invert the top to form a funnel. Attach both parts and hang the trap in an elevated area.

Plant some citronella 

Used mainly for its oils in ointments, citronella is a low-maintenance ornamental grass with a lemon scent that can grow up to 6 feet tall. In the UK it’s best grown in pots or containers, making it easy to move them indoors during the winter months.

Try one of our candles

We also make a citronella bug candle that you can light up at home to keep those pesky bugs away. It’s made with a blend of lemongrass, citronella & cedarwood so the scent is actually really nice! Especially compared to a lot of other anti-bug candles out there. 

If you’re looking to get away from the synthetic options out there, ours are a great alternative and definitely don’t contain any Deet! Here is a review from one of our customers on our bug balm.

“Normally I am bitten to pieces when I travel, so I often use an excessive amount of products to make sure I am not attacked. After finding this balm, I wasn’t sure that it would be enough to protect me, but I am currently on a trip and have not yet been bitten in 4 weeks after using this amazing product! I am trying to become more eco friendly and this allows me to pursue that lifestyle as well as take care of myself to make sure I am not bitten. Would highly recommend! I have not found a product as eco friendly or successful at its job than this.”

Explore our anti-bug range.

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