When I decided to develop insect, flea, and tick repelling products I wanted them to be safe. But not only for our dogs and us but also for the environment. Commercial repellents are containing synthetic ingredients that repel insects, fleas, and/or ticks. However many of them have been linked to skin irritation, negative respiratory effects, and rashes. As well as having a negative effect on bees, fish, birds and the environment in general.
So, what can you actually find in commercial insect repellents and how does it affect the environment?
Fipronil is a broad use insecticide that controls ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites, and other insects.
Direct, short-term contact with skin can result in slight skin irritation.
Fipronil is also toxic to fish and creatures in the water without backbones (invertebrates) such as shrimp and water fleas. It’s highly toxic to sea and freshwater fish and highly toxic to sea and freshwater invertebrates. Other studies find out, fipronil is highly toxic to some birds. This insecticide you can find in Frontline Spot on.
Imidacloprid is an insecticide that is made to mimic nicotine. Nicotine can be naturally found in many plants, including tobacco, and is toxic to insects. In some cases, pet owners developed skin irritation after applying flea control products containing imidacloprid to their pets. Animals have also sometimes vomited or drooled a lot after oral exposure to imidacloprid. If animals swallow enough imidacloprid they may have trouble walking, develop tremors, and can seem overly tired. Sometimes animals have skin reactions to pet products containing this insecticide too.
Also, imidacloprid is very toxic to honeybees and other beneficial insects. And it can last for months or years in the soil. One advantage is that imidacloprid is only a flea product.
Methoprene is available in over 500 pesticide products and it’s an insect growth regulator that prevents insects from reproducing. It is moderately toxic to some fish but highly toxic to freshwater invertebrates. And also slightly toxic to crustaceans such as shrimp and crayfish. It appears to be low in toxicity to adult bees, although bee larvae may be more sensitive. And it is relatively non-toxic to birds.
Frontline Plus contains methoprene.
Deet is an insect repellent that is used in products to prevent bites from insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas, and small flying insects. Scientists don’t know exactly how DEET works on all insects. Insects that have been exposed to DEET aren’t able to locate a person or animal because they cannot detect them.
People that have left DEET products on their skin for extended periods of time have experienced irritation, a rash, and swelling. Tests proved that DEET is toxic at extremely high levels to fish and insects that live in the water.
Have you or your dog had a reaction to a commercial insect repellent?