When it comes to selecting a natural insect repellent, the most important criteria are the types and combinations of essential oils that are included in the product, the effectiveness via concentrations of those essential oils, and cost. Of course, there are other factors, but let’s focus on these three...
Types of Essential Oils
Not all essential oils have demonstrated efficacy as a natural insect repellent. Be sure to do your homework. To find out if a specific essential oils repel insects, we recommend a quick Google search on the topic and working from this comprehensive list of essential oils on Wikipedia.
The active ingredient essential oils in Frenchies’ Maine Woods Bug Dope, a natural insect repellent, are cedar oil, citronella oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, and geranium oil. These essential oils repel either flying, biting insects such as mosquitoes and Maine black flies and/or ticks. There are many other essential oils that repel insects, but extensive field testing of our product revealed that these oils are the most effective. Our Bug Dope works primarily by camouflaging your carbon dioxide signature (CO2), which prevents biting bugs from finding you. To learn more about how our Maine Woods Bug Dope works, CLICK HERE to visit the FAQ section of our website.
In our opinion, a natural insect repellent should not smell flowery, or contain “food ingredients” such as olive oil, soybean oil, or vinegar. If the ingredients resemble salad dressing more than something that insects will find unappealing, put it back on the shelf and move on—these products could attract insects rather than repel them.
Concentration of Essential Oils
Just because a natural insect repellent includes essential oils that are proven to repel insects doesn’t mean that it will work. This is where the concentration of essential oils is extremely important. Before purchasing a product, be sure to read the “active ingredients” on the label. Here, you’ll find the specific essential oils that are included—and in what proportions.
When developing Frenchies’ Maine Woods Bug Dope, we field tested multiple formulas, each containing different types of oils and in different concentrations. When it came to the concentration of essential oils, we found that a higher concentration was significantly more effective (at repelling insects) compared to formulas with lower concentrations. For example, test formulas with 10% active ingredients (essential oils) received half as many positive reviews from our testing volunteers than formulas with 20% active ingredients. Our winning formula, then simply called “Number Nine,” contained 25% essential oils/active ingredients. Read the story of how “Number Nine” went on to become “Frenchies’ Maine Woods Bug Dope." We’re proud to state that Frenchies’ Maine Woods Bug Dope still contains 25% active ingredients/essential oils.
Cost of Natural Repellents
Combinations of essential oils are the costliest component of a natural insect repellent. In fact, some essential oils are outrageously expensive, selling at retail prices of more than $100 per ounce! Some producers of natural insect repellents cut costs and increase profit margins by using a low concentration of essential oils. Therefore, a decision to purchase should not be made solely by dividing the price of the product by the number ounces in the product…because inactive (inert) ingredients, such as water, are included in the total volume and often are used as “filler,” thereby diluting the active ingredients/essential oils. Instead, the percentage of active ingredients should be your guide—if the product does not contain a minimum of 20% essential oils, buyer beware.
Most natural insect repellents contain inexpensive “carrier oils” such as almond oil or coconut oil – they possess minimal or no insect repelling properties – if carrier oils are listed as “active ingredients,” this also should be taken into consideration.