Frequently Asked Questions
Insect Repellents - General FAQs
There can be serious health risks from insect bites. An infected bite can lead to a deadly insect-borne disease if you don’t take precautions. Unfortunately, malaria pills do not provide complete protection from malaria, and there is no medicine or vaccine that protects against other serious diseases such as Dengue Fever. It is estimated that malaria causes one million deaths around the world each year, and many more people suffer from other insect-borne diseases.
The importance of protecting yourself from insect bites in high-risk areas cannot be overstated. Travelling is meant to be fun – it pays to keep safe.
For more guidance and destination specific health advice, use the Your Trip Planner.
- Cover up with loose, fine-woven, light-coloured clothing
- Use a spray insect repellent on exposed skin
- For added protection, use DEET-treated ankle and wrist bands
- Sleep under an impregnated mosquito net
- Wash regularly – sweat attracts insects
- Use an insecticide fabric spray
- Avoid swamps, lakes and areas of stagnant water (all are hotspots for breeding insects)
- Avoid sheltered, shaded spots – bites are less of a problem in brightly-lit areas
Insects are attracted to us by kairomones (such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid) produced in line with our metabolic rates. This means that the more active we are, the more attractive we become to insects looking for a meal! Insect repellents work by producing a repellent vapour that prevents insects from homing in on human skin. The vapour also has an unpleasant smell and taste to biting insects. In contrast to insecticides, repellents do not kill insects, but instead discourage them from landing and/or biting.
Spray a thin, even layer onto areas of exposed skin (not on covered skin). Avoid spraying onto damaged, irritated or sunburnt skin, and eyes or mouth. Where possible choose long sleeved shirts and long trousers to reduce exposed skin and the amount you need to apply. After application wash the palms of your hands, or if not possible apply using the back of your hand. We advise washing skin before bed to remove any residual. Always follow product instructions provided.
They can be applied to the same area of skin, however repellent and sunscreen should not be applied simultaneously, as the effectiveness of the sunscreen may be diminished. Apply sunscreen first, allow time for it absorb thoroughly into the skin and then apply the repellent.
The effectiveness of the insect repellent should not be affected by the sunscreen, and there is no need to apply more than the recommended amount of insect repellent.
If you are using a DEET mosquito repellent and want to use suncscreen, choose a 30 to 50 SPF, to compensate for DEET-induced reduction in SPF.
Yes, it is advisable to reapply following swimming or even if skin has become wet when, for instance, caught in a heavy rain shower.
A number of our repellents offer maximum durabiltiy in wear being sweat & splash resistant, however after swimming, a heavy rain shower or after a lot of sweating e.g. after a hike, the insect repellent should be reapplied.
Repellents should only be applied to exposed skin, not clothing. Synthetic fabrics can be discoloured and damaged by DEET repellents.
It depends on the destination you are visiting and the prevailing conditions, for example due to perspiration and heat. If you are on a very active holiday in tropical conditions you may need to take more, however a 60ml bottle of insect repellent should last one adult, one week if used everyday.
For a two week holiday, a 100ml bottle should last an adult the full two weeks if used every day. For more information on what you should take for your destination, go to our Your Trip Planner.
Yes all of our mosquito and insect repellents can be purchased in a 60ml or 100ml bottle size, meaning they are all suitable for taking as hand luggage on board flights.
Our repellents last for approximately three years (in all climates) from the date of manufacture and should ideally be stored in a cool, dry place. Every repellent bottle includes an expiry date that you can find on the back of the product label.
It’s important to always follow advice on the product labels to get maximum benefit from our DEET and DEET-free repellents. No insect repellent can provide complete protection in all circumstances and may be affected by a lack of coverage, incorrect application, humidity and temperature. Pyramid insect repellents are the best on the market and are made using only repellents that are approved under the Biocidal Products Regulations (528/2012).
Yes, if you have sensitive skin we would advise using DEET-Free insect repellents. We have created a range of high-performance DEET-Free insect repellents that are made using Saltidin®, and are gentler on the skin.
All insect repellents, DEET or DEET-Free, should be treated like medications when they are first used. Apply a small amount to the skin to test for irritation or allergic reaction. Discontinue application if irritation or allergic reaction occurs. Seek medical advice if irritation or an allergic reaction persists.
For when any of the little blighters get to you, if you forget to apply an insect repellent, our Bug Bite Relief spray provides fast and effective relief from bites and stings. Made using natural Aloe Vera, the spray helps to numb the pain and itchiness associated not just with bites from midges, but also mosquitoes, gnats and sand-flies.
Regarding the spray application, due to the addition of using advanced micro-encapsulation technology for some of our repellents sprays (Trek Sensitive, Trek Ultra and Trek Midge & Tick), the viscosity of the spray is slightly thicker, which does require you to apply the insect repellent onto the palms or backs of your hands to spread the insect repellent over exposed areas of skin. The micro-encapsulation is used to allow you to be effectively protected for up to 12 hours, whilst also increasing resistance to sweat and splashes.
Therefore, applying this spray is similar to how you would apply moisturiser or suncream. For application of the repellent onto your face, we recommend not spraying directly onto your face, but again spray a small amount onto the palm or back of your hand and lightly pat onto your face.
Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly after application.
DEET-Free Insect Repellents
DEET Free insect repellents are suitable for use by pregnant women, children over 2 years and those prone to sensitive skin (although it’s always best to test on a small area of skin first). Our DEET-Free repellents are gentler on the skin than DEET, non-sticky, nor greasy, with a pleasant feel and smell. DEET-Free repellents also pose no risk to plastics or synthetics.
Pyramid DEET-Free repellents are made using Saltidin® or Citriodiol®, both are approved for use as insect repellents under the Biocidal Products Regulations (528/2012).
Trek Sensitive and Trek Midge & Tick are made using the repellent Saltidin®, otherwise known as Picaridin or Icaridin. Saltidin® is recommended by the World Health Organisation as an effective repellent, comparable to DEET. It has been used as an insect repellent since 1998. Saltidin® is suitable for use on children over 2 years. These two Pyramid deet free insect repellents are made using our unique time-release technology; the repellent is micro-encapsulated or encased in a shell, giving a sustained release of repellent for up to 12 hours protection.
Our plant-based natural mosquito repellent is made using the active repellent Citriodiol®. Citriodiol is the trade name for p-menthane 3,8 diol oil (PMD), or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Trek Natural does not contain any alcohol which could irritate skin. It is suitable for children 6 months+.
Saltidin® is tested to be effective against:
Citriodiol® is effective against:
- Stable flies
- Deer keds
- Land leeches
Trek Natural mosquito repellent is made using the active ingredient that comes directly from Eucalyptus citriodora oil, produced through a natural and sustainable process of steam distillation. The oil is turned into p-menthane-3,8-diol, which mimics the natural process which occurs in Eucalyptus trees.
Citriodiol® is the only natural ingredient that is approved for use as an insect repellent. Eucalyptus trees are a natural and renewable resource, and the Citriodiol® we use to create our natural insect repellent contains about 64% p-menthane-3,8-diol.
DEET Mosquito Repellents
DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a highly-effective synthetic chemical that has been widely used in insect repellents since 1946. With more than 40 years of testing behind it, DEET remains the most effective insect repellent on the market. It is recommended by health professionals for protection against insect-borne diseases – particularly in malarial areas – as it efficiently repels mosquitoes, midges, stable flies, black flies, deer flies, ticks and chiggers.
DEET is the best mosquito repellent in the world, however it does soften plastics. DEET may dissolve nail varnish as well as damage synthetic fabrics, plastics, watches, spectacle frames, jewellery, leather, and some painted and polished surfaces. The DEET can soften these materials and the damage cannot be repaired.
It is best to keep your DEET repellent in an upright position in a cool, dry place, and to avoid situations where leaks or spills could occur.
Insect repellents containing DEET have been used for over 40 years around the world. Every year there are about 8 billion applications, with very rare reports of skin irritations with sensitive skin. We suggest testing a product on a small area of skin before using further. Application should be discontinued if irritation or allergic reaction occurs.
However, if are still unsure whether you feel confident using a DEET spray on your skin, we would suggest using Trek Sensitive, our DEET-free repellent spray, specifically designed for those with sensitive skin. This repellent uses our unique micro-encapsulation technology, providing you with up to 12 hours protection from a single application.
It depends on your chosen destination. For extreme tropical conditions or high risk areas, we would suggest using Trek Ultra or Trek 50 DEET spray, both of which provide excellent protection. Trek Ultra 30% DEET spray contains micro-encapsulated DEET, allowing the repellent to be released slowly over the period of wear, providing you with all day protection for up to 12 hours.
Trek 50 is our maximum strength repellent formulated for tropical or high risk areas. It is designed for travel in areas of tropical and sub-tropical Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, India and Pakistan, and South-East Asia.
A high-strength DEET formulation is preferable in conditions with high ambient temperatures or during high perspiration. During periods of excessive sweating or exercise, we advise reapplying formulations more frequently.
For a milder strength insect repellent, use Trek 20 – suitable for use on children age 2+.
Our maximum strength DEET spray repellent is Trek 50, which contains up to 50% DEET. This powerful repellent lasts for up to 6 hours and can be applied on pregnant women and children from ages 12 and over. Trek 50 is suitable for use in high risk areas such as South America and South East Asia.
New Biocidal Products Regulations prohibit the manufacture and sale of DEET insect repellents containing over 50% DEET.
New Biocidal Products Regulations have been introduced prohobiting the manufacture and sale of DEET products containing over 50% DEET e.g. insect repellents.
At Pyramid Travel Products, we always ensure we follow rules and guidelines set up by government bodies. Hence, our maximum DEET spray repellent is now Trek 50. This powerful repellent has been expertly designed by our team of chemists to provide effective protection from bites in high risk areas. Trek 50 provides up to 6 hours protection and can be used on pregnant women and children age 12 years and over.
Alternatively, Trek Ultra is our longest-lasting all day DEET spray repellent. Designed using our unique micro-encapsulation technology, which encases the 30% DEET in an outer shell, Trek Ultra can protect you for up to 12 hours from a single application. Trek Ultra is also a perfect family friendly repellent as it can be used on pregnant women and children ages 2 years and over.
Micro-encapsulated DEET uses advanced time release technology which means that the repellent vapour is released slowly over a longer period of time.
This kind of DEET has several advantages: it provides long-lasting protection with lower concentrations of DEET; and reduces the number of times that re-application of the product may be necessary. We use micro-encapsulated DEET in Trek Ultra, which is designed for extreme tropical conditions – it is a popular insect repellent with expedition travellers, adventurers and the military.
Read more about the technology behind micro-encapsulation here.
It is best to use DEET repellents only on skin that is not irritated or damaged. For those with sensitive skin, our advice would be to consider using a DEET-Free insect repellent. Always test a product on a small area of skin first.
Some people can experience a warm feeling on their skin when applying DEET repellents. This should be nothing to be concerned about and is simply because of the repellent solution beginning to evaporate off the skin.
DEET based repellents have been on sale worldwide for many decades and although there have been isolated cases of skin reactions, these are extremely rare. DEET is approved for use as an insect repellent on human skin under the EU Biocides Regulation (528/2012). Our repellents are fully tested and approved according to these regulations.
Most people won’t have any adverse effects when they use Trek DEET as recommended on the label, although always treat with caution when using a product for the first time. For pregnant and breast-feeding women, we advise that it is suitable to use a DEET repellent that contains up to 50% DEET such as Trek 50 or Trek Ultra. Alternatively if you would prefer to use a DEET-Free repellent then Trek Sensitive is the best option.
Always take sufficient supplies of mosquito repellent with you, as in some coutries with Zika virus there is a shortage.
No, DEET is not designed to be sprayed directly onto clothes and may damage synthetic fabrics if applied in large amounts. It should only be used on areas of exposed skin.
Both Saltidin® and DEET are highly-effective insect repellents recommended by WHO. However there may be times when DEET is necessary, or specifically recommended by travel health clinicians. DEET insect repellents are considered to be the most effective type of repellent for use in high-risk malarial areas.
Our DEET insect repellent range offers long-lasting protection up to a maximum of 12 hours. It is an excellent choice if travelling for long periods in high-risk areas, for example using Trek Ultra, which provides a slower release of repellent vapour, so reducing the need for reapplication.
Being a Scottish company, we know a fair bit about the scourge of midges – and how to keep them at bay. In Scotland, the midge ‘season’ usually runs from May to September, although midges can also be a problem during the summer months in a variety of European countries.
Tips for avoiding midge bites:
- Cover up with loose, fine-woven, light-coloured clothing
- Don’t wear close fitting watches or jewellery
- Use a head net for face and neck cover, or if fishing or exposed to midges for long periods of time, wear a protective fine-mesh midge jacket with hood
- Protect exposed skin with Trek Midge repellent
- Avoid still water, peat bogs and sheltered, shaded areas
- Do not leave windows or doors open at dusk or dawn
- Wash regularly – sweat attracts insects
- Avoid walking at dusk or dawn when midges are most active
It usually only takes one encounter to understand why midge protection is a good idea! Research suggests that a midge swarm can inflict around 3,000 bites per hour, with 40,000 midges landing on an unprotected arm over the same period. Midge bites are incredibly itchy, often lead to swelling and, in some cases, cause further complications. We offer a dedicated range of midge protection products to suit walkers, fishermen or anyone spending time in the great outdoors during the midge season.
We offer the finest mesh midge nets with 600 holes per square inch, which stop tiny insects from crawling or flying inside. Our midge nets have been rigorously tested to make sure they offer the very best protection. They may not make the greatest fashion statement, but you’ll be glad to have one handy.
Yes, Pyramid midge nets have been proven to be effective against Scottish midges, and have also been tested under controlled conditions elsewhere in Europe.
Yes, all our midge nets include shower-proof carry bags with straps, making them easy to pack away and attach to backpacks.
No, our midge nets are not impregnated with insecticide, because Permethrin should not lie against or close to the skin.
A finely-woven, insecticide-impregnated mosquito net prevents tiny insects from entering your sleeping area, killing them on contact. Their use is highly recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for protection against insect-borne diseases in high-risk areas.
For the ultimate protection, Pyramid mosquito nets are made using premium quality fabric with 300 holes per square inch – that’s nearly double the amount recommended by WHO. Manufactured using strong fabric, our nets are durable but still light and airy enough for use in the most extreme tropical conditions.
Each net comes with its own instructions for use. Our range of premium hanging nets are supplied with a full hanging kit, while our self-supporting nets are so easy to use, with no external support required. Just remove the net from its carry bag and up it pops. See the Pyramid Travel Products Video Channel for guidance on net set up.
Yes, all Pyramid mosquito nets are impregnated, apart from the Baby Cot Mosquito Net, due to the increased risk of ingestion of insecticide, should the net be sucked or chewed.
Our mosquito nets are treated with our specially formulated Zi Technology net treatment, meaning they are ready for use immediately, without the hassle of treating a net yourself. Zi Technology is a long-lasting, high-performance insecticide developed following extensive research. Permethrin is combined with a unique binding substance to create a treatment that kills insects on contact. Zi Technology net treatment lasts for two years, or up to 35 washes.
Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that is widely used as an insecticide. It kills insects on contact.
Pyramid treated mosquito nets are suitable for long term use.
Our mosquito nets are treated with long-lasting Zi Technology net treatment, containing Permethrin and a unique fabric binder which ensures that the treatment is effective for up to 2 years or 35 washes. Permethrin has been used as a fabric treatment for many years and it is bound onto the net so that there is very little chance of ingesting it directly or through skin contact. Its use continues to save many lives in developing countries. After 2 years we recommend re-treating your net with our Net Treatment Liquid.
Yes, with ease. After you’ve had your net for 2 years, it may be necessary to re-impregnate it. This can be done using our Net Treatment Liquid, specially-formulated using water-resistant Permethrin. It treats one net and lasts six months (or four washes). Full in-pack instructions are provided.
Not at all. All Pyramid nets have new storage bags that feature handy carry straps for easy attachment to backpacks and luggage.
Yes, we cater for young adventurers, too! Our Baby Bell Net is designed specifically for use over a cot or play pen to protect little ones indoors. The design features top-quality fine-mesh netting that creates an airy and protective enclosure. The Baby Bell mosquito net is not impregnated due to the small risk of ingestion of Permethrin if a baby sucks on the netting.
We would suggest choosing the Baby cot mosquito net if you have a baby or toddler. However if you do decide to use a treated net, the guidance on the use of Permethrin from the Biocidal Products Regulations shows that there is a low risk of ingestion from the net, and this is outweighed by the level of protection from Malaria.
They may not pose a serious threat like mosquitoes, but it’s still no fun sleeping with bed bugs. Our solution is the Pyramid Bed Bug Guard, a fine-mesh net treated with Zi Technology. The net fits underneath a sheet or sleeping bag to protect against crawling or biting insects – killing bed bugs on contact. It is available in single or double sizes and includes pillow covers.
Yes, our Fabric Spray is an effective, long-lasting insecticide spray, designed for use on outdoor equipment, tents, soft furnishings and backpacks. It is made using the natural insecticide Pyrethrum, which kills flying insects and ants on contact. It is not designed for use on clothing.
The dimensions of the Double Mosinet are: 155cm(h) x 165cm(w) x 200cm(l).
The dimensions of the Premium Double Bell are: 230cm(h) x 822cm (circumference).
We have put the relevant information about washing our nets on the backing cards of all of our mosquito nets, and this information is a guide for end-consumers that require to wash their net.
We would recommend not washing your mosquito net unless absolutely necessary, such as if your net gets covered in mud in a jungle or gets stained or similar.
However, if you do wash your net, hand wash only for best results.
We would strongly urge you not to put your mosquito net into a machine wash as the net may get caught in the body of the machine. Through machine-washing any of our nets, this may reduce the effectiveness of our advanced Zi Technology treatment on the net, and the overall time period in which our nets will protect you for, which is up to 3 years.
Travel Health & Hygiene
Pack a water treatment product. If you are in any doubt about whether there will be access to clean drinking water, it’s best to arrive to your destination prepared. The simple addition of water treatment tablets can prevent dangerous bacteria ruining your trip and causing nasty stomach bugs, such as Travellers' Diarrhoea.
See our guide on how to treat river water.
Biox Aqua is an effective water treatment that uses the powerful chlorine dioxide biocide. It kills a wide range of bacteria and cysts in the water instantly, leaving no unpleasant after-taste or water dis-colouration. It is available in convenient tablet or droplet forms.
That depends on how contaminated the water supply is to begin with. It is important to always try and find the cleanest, freshest water supply available and then follow the instructions on the label to filter out any particles from the water, before treating it with Biox Aqua. Biox Aqua water treatment has been formulated with sufficient chlorine dioxide biocide to kill levels of bacteria normally found in water supplies in developing countries.
Yes, it is far superior to chlorine and leaves behind no unpleasant after-taste or water dis-colouration. Unlike chlorine, it is also effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and does not create any cancer causing by-products.
An unopened tablet will last approximately three years from the date of manufacture.
Hysan is a range of travel hygiene products designed to provide protection from germs living on our hands and food preparation surfaces. Hysan provides immediate and effective protection from 99.99% of germs in just 30 seconds. Our Hysan hand gel and Hysan surface spray work fast to remove harmful bacteria, including E-Coli and Clostridium difficile. Hysan hand gel and surface sanitiser provide protection for up to 4 hours from application.
Yes, our multi-purpose, biodegradable Travel Soap is indispensable for travellers looking to pack light. Hugely versatile, this concentrated liquid soap can be used in salt or fresh water for washing hands, body & hair, clothes, and even the dishes!