Safety Harbor-made bug repellents use DEET alternatives

- The Zika virus continues to spread and workers at Sawyer Products' Safety Harbor plant are feeling its effects. 

The company produces bug repellant using a DEET-free formula they say is more than just natural oils. 

Sawyer Products is based in Safety Harbor and produces its products for sale online and to major retailers nationwide. 

"As soon as we heard the word Zika, we just cranked up. We're on 24/7 right now, three shifts, seven days a week," says company president Kurt Avery.

While the products are mainly sold for camping, mosquito-related disease like Dengue fever and Zika has caused its market to expand.

"We had one retailer put 500 bottles on the floor and, in 24-hours, it was sold out," Avery explained.

The CDC says protecting yourself from mosquitos begins with wearing light-colored clothes that cover most of your body. Avery says spraying your clothes with the primary ingredients in his products - permethrin and picardin - will protect you even more.

The treatment lasts for up to six wash cycles.

Avery said DEET is the choice of the U.S. Military, but when it comes to keeping other bugs from bugging you, he thinks picardin has an edge.

"It also picks up those flies, gnats and no-see-ums," he explained.

For more information on Sawyer Products, visit



Live from Sawyer products talking about how to prevent mosquito bites.

Posted by FOX 13's Dr. Joette Giovinco on Monday, February 15, 2016


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