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Summer Health Survival Guide

Your Biggest Bug Questions, Answered

Consider these solutions when dealing with those pesky pests.

By Lindsy van Gelder
Woman with bug biteGreg Bloom

How can I easily find out which ingredients a product contains?
For one-stop ingredient research, go to to search the National Pesticide Information Retrieval System (which is affiliated with Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana). Here you’ll find information that includes a list of insect repellents that are licensed in your state, broken down by active ingredient and the type of pest that it targets.

How do I layer sunscreen and insect repellent?
Apply sunscreen, allow it to dry, then put bug spray on top. Sunscreen should be directly on the skin to increase its absorption, while bug spray should sit on the surface, since that’s where the bugs want to land, says Robin Ashinoff, medical director of dermatologic and laser surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey. You can find two-in-ones, but if you’ll be outside for an extended time, use separate products, since sunscreen needs to be reapplied more frequently than bug spray. Keep in mind that some studies have shown that the two are not always as effective when used together.

How can I bee-proof my house and yard?
If your property seems to be a magnet for bees, the department of entomology at Texas A & M University, in College Station, Texas, suggests searching your home’s outside walls for nests, sealing any cracks in the walls or around a chimney that are larger than an eighth of an inch, and installing screens over rain spouts and large cavities in tree trunks. If you do find a hive, don’t risk the bees’ wrath. Call a professional bee-removal service or a pest-control operator. FYI, bees don’t discriminate. They are just as liable to sting your dog as they are you. And as with humans, a dog may react to a bee sting more intensely with each occurrence. So if your pet’s nose swells up after a romp in the yard, get him to a vet pronto.

Read More About:Preventative Health

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