New Zealand is famed for its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. But the outdoors comes with its fair share of bugs and insects. While most are fairly common and found in other parts of the world like mosquitos, spiders, and bed bugs, in the summer it is home to a unique and hungry little critter called the sandfly. Sandflies, more commonly found in the south island in New Zealand, are small black flies which are around 2mm-3mm in length and are known to bite and leave the skin irritated for weeks.
The best way to combat bugs is to use a bug spray or an insect repellent. There are many insect repellents available at your local supermarket, i-SITE’s and dairies. The most effective insect repellents are the ones that contain diethyltoluamide (DEET). While there are natural products available, a 2014 survey showed that the best and most effective repellents are DEET-based insect repellents with protection of up to four-to-six hours.
Here is a list of 7 of the best repellents on the local market:
1. Rid Medicated Repellent Plus Antiseptic Spray
Rid Medicated Repellent was the best performing repellent according to the Consumer survey. It performs as an insect repellent as well as preventing inflammation. It contains 13.5% DEET and is effective for a total of 6 hours. It is designed to be used as First Aid and can be applied before and after a bite.
RID is a multi-purpose insect repellent and is effective on mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, leeches, sandflies, and biting midges. This formula is available in roll-on, pump spray, and aerosol spray form. It is PETA friendly with a 5-year shelf life. It is approved by the Australian Government Authority, Australian Pet & Veterinary Medicine Association (APVMA).
2. Repel Xtreme
Repel is the most commonly-found and widely-used insect repellent. It is made and sold in New Zealand and 100% is Kiwi owned. They manufacture and sell a range of skin protection products such as insect repellents, sunscreens, lip balms and muscle & joint products. They are also the distributors of the Equip range of travel nets, sleeping bag liners and travel towels.
The Repel Xtreme contains 80% DEET. It is non-greasy, water and sweat-resistant, and pleasant smelling. It is the strongest repellent, providing up to 10 hours of protection from mosquitoes, sandflies, fleas, biting flies, ticks and other blood-sucking insects. The Repel Xtreme’s formula also provides antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. The active ingredients used in their products meet the World Health Organisation and Center for Disease Control and Protection recommended levels. Repel also has DEET-free products for those who wish to opt for natural insect repellents.
Ultraguard is a lotion-based repellent made by a New Zealand based company called GunCity. It protects against sandflies, mosquitos and all biting insects. It is an SPF23+ product, water-resistant, non-greasy and pleasantly scented.
It lasts up to four hours and is safe for the family. It is manufactured in Christchurch, NZ and sold across the country.
4. Miss Muffet's Revenge Spider Control
Miss Muffet’s Revenge Spider Control is the best-known spray for interior and exterior protection. It is a ready-to-use formula, specially designed to kill spiders. It comes with a jet spray and nozzle attachment to help in easy application and precision in spraying.
It provides 12 months of protection after a single application and can be used twice in an average 3-bedroomed house. It has an unlimited shelf life.
5. Kiwicare No Bugs Super Spray
Kiwicare No Bugs Super Spray is a professional strength long-lasting insect repellent. It can be used indoors and outdoors. This formula is effective on almost all household bugs such as spiders, mosquitos, cluster flies, wasps, mites, bed bugs, lizards and cockroaches.
It protects indoor surfaces for up to 6 months and outdoor surfaces for up to 4 months. It is a concentrated mixture that needs to be diluted with water before use.
Goodbye Sandfly is a natural insect repellent and bites soother. This all-natural product was formulated in 1999. It can also be used to treat bites as it has soothing and antibacterial properties. Goodbye is an all-natural product and it works differently than a chemical repellent. It requires reapplication, the instructions for which are available on their website.
It is New Zealand’s number 1 selling natural repellent for 10 years. Goodbye has been certified with NATURE since 2016 and 1% of their turnover goes to non-profit support.
7. Tui Extreme Bug Spray
Tui Extreme Bug Spray is a natural insect repellent. The main active ingredient is derived from the JAVA Citronella grass. It is the only natural repellent ingredient recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The company, Tui Balms, is also registered as a not-for-profit, donating its profits to registered charities.
For many, chemical-based products may even cause allergic reactions, in that case, natural products are the best available option. Even Though the 2014 survey concluded that DEET-based products work better, there are many all-natural products available on the market that have been proven to be very effective. DEET-based products are useful in indoor as well as heavy-duty situations such as when hiking or walking through wild bushes. In the case of daily use, all-natural products are equally effective.
It is also useful to know which pest to watch out for during the different seasons. See our tips on pest control in Autumn!