While we do carry DEET-based insect repellents in our cars for those times you really need them, we prefer using repellents with natural ingredients. We were sent a product to test recently called Aringel, a patch you stick on your clothing, not your skin. As it says on the box, they are “small stickers which give protection from mosquitoes.”
It comes in a box filled with packets like wet wipes. When you open the packet, it is quite fragrant, but in a pleasant way. Inside are two bright yellow patches that are slightly adhesive on one side. I stuck one to my shoulder and the other to the opposite leg, close to my knee. According to the instructions, each patch provides protection for 4 feet – I guessed cubic feet – for 12 hours, so I figured positioning them that way would give me full coverage.
Then, I hiked. I wore them all day as I hiked on trails between Gainesville and Jacksonville in a variety of habitats, from the longleaf pines and cypress dome at Morningside Nature Center to the creekside walk at Little Orange Creek Nature Park, the loop through the pines at LEAFS, and in the shady woods at Lake Alto Preserve. Didn’t feel a single bite or itch.
I used them for the next few days while hiking around the very shaded Jacksonville Arboretum, along the marshes of the Egans Creek Greenway at Fernandina Beach, and through the densely forested uplands and bottomlands of Camp Chowenwaw Park along Black Creek. It was there I brushed a couple of mosquitoes off me, but they seemed dazed and hadn’t gotten a bite in. On the other treks, my friend Linda wasn’t using any repellent and did get a few bites.
For a first try, I was pretty impressed. I’ve been a believer in natural insect repellent for some time, with 45N68W being my go-to choice for many years. It’s also based on a combination of essential oils, including neem, which is a well-known medicinal tree native to India. While Aringel doesn’t list its ingredients, it does say it’s herbal, and “an Ayurvedic Proprietary Medicament.” It’s made in India, so I’m going to guess that neem is an important ingredient in it. Having dealt with mosquitoes in India during my travels there, it’s good to know there’s a company combating the problem by using natural ingredients. Because in some parts of Florida now, as in India always, mosquitoes can carry some pretty scary diseases in their bites.
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