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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 15 2011

The Best Bug Repellent?

By Mark Sisson
181 Comments

There’s an unofficial but infamous season this time of year in New England (my native homeland, for those of you who don’t know). In the weeks roughly between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a period the locals call black fly season. For those of you unfamiliar with these creatures, there’s no overdramatizing their menace. They’re deceptively minuscule but ubiquitous, and their bites can mutilate. I remember a couple from the Midwest moved to our neighborhood just before the school year. Come spring, they’d heard the many jokes and well-intentioned warnings but scoffed when they first saw the flies themselves. “Those gnats?” they asked incredulously. About a week or so later they were both covered in welts after spending the weekend doing yard work with no protection. The woman’s hairline was chewed to oblivion. (These things tended to get around the neighborhood.) I still think of black fly season after all these years especially when I get questions from readers about bug season in their parts of the country. Increasingly, folks ask about a Primal alternative to chemical bug repellent.

The principle behind bug repellents, of course, is to repel. Whether chemically or naturally-derived, a repellent’s job is to make you as unappealing to bugs as possible. And, yes, some people are more enticing. Mosquitos, for example, target their blood donors (actually it’s the blood proteins they’re after) by their smell in addition to lactic acid (mmm…human sweat) and carbon dioxide output. The respiration part explains why the little ones (and pregnant women) tend to get eaten alive out there while others in your party escape with nary a bite. Using genetically modified insects, researchers have also found that taste plays a part as well as smell for mosquitos.

The two most popular conventional repellents are DEET and picaridin (a.k.a. Bayrepel). The vast majority of what you buy in the store today use these as active ingredients. DEET, the most common repellent in the U.S. has been used since the late 1950s. Picaridin is far newer on the block, introduced in Europe in 1998 and in the U.S. in 2005.

In the U.S., DEET remains the repellent of choice, but there’s plenty of reason to choose otherwise. Transdermal absorption of DEET in studies has ranged from 5-17% in humans, and absorption continues as long as the product remains on the skin. DEET has been linked to some fatalities in children who received multiple and extensive applications. It has also been identified as a neurotoxin, in that it inhibits the activity of cholinesterase, an enzyme of the central nervous system in both insects and mammals. A Duke University pharmacologist found evidence in rat studies that DEET exposure resulted in “diffuse brain cell death” in regions governing “muscle movement, learning, memory and concentration,” poorer performance in physical and cognitive tasks, and “behavioral changes” when used long-term.

Although governmental and medical organizations like the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics offer no conditions in their recommendation of DEET, I’d say the risks are enough to give this Primal mind pause.

Obviously, the more often and higher concentrations you use, the higher the risk. I’d suggest reserving DEET products for limited occasions if alternatives don’t work for you in a given situation. Also, more vulnerable members of the population like children, pregnant women, and those with autoimmune/neurological disorders should avoid using DEET. On a side note, some mosquitos are developing a resistance to DEET, including those associated with yellow fever.

There’s also a repellent called permethrin, which is approved for use on clothes only. Permethrin actually kills as well as repels mosquitos and ticks, which means it’s clearly nothing to fool around with. Be advised that even after your wash your clothes, the insecticide remains. For the average person, there’s probably little if any need for the risk inherent with this strong a product.

Less is known about Picaridin. So far, studies demonstrate low toxicity (PDF), and it appears to be the safest choice among conventional repellents. Check out the fact sheets, but little is published (in this country anyway) regarding ongoing study and safety reports.

According to clinical research, your best bet for minimizing bug bites with naturally derived repellents are those with active ingredients taken from essential oils. Oil of lemon eucalyptus appears to be the most effective, but this can be irritating to the skin of young children, particularly in higher concentrations. In a USDA study (PDF) comparing natural repellents against DEET products, a commercial repellent containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (Repel) was more effective than the low concentration DEET product marketed for children. Geraniol, a compound found in geranium plants, also looks promising as does peppermint oil. Geranium and peppermint oils at 100% concentration offer full protection, but the effect remains for a relatively short amount of time (2 hours and 45 minutes, respectively).

In terms of area as opposed to skin repellency, research has demonstrated that candles containing geraniol offered 81.5% protection within a meter’s distance in an outdoor environment, considerably more than the 35.4% protection offered by traditional citronella candles.

Other studies suggests the American beautyberry plant as another promising option for repelling both mosquito and blacklegged ticks (primary carriers of bacteria responsible for Lyme disease). The plant has been used as a folk remedy for decades. Pine oil apparently contains a compound called isolongifolenone that was more effective than DEET at repelling both mosquitos and two kinds of ticks. The compound has been patented for commercial production.

Some research suggests that natural repellent compounds may work more effectively in conjunction with one another. Formulations that contain multiple natural compounds or contain vanillin, which appears to offer a potentiating impact on other repellents, might be the most potent option. (On a side note, I should mention that Skin So Soft didn’t register as effective in any clinical study. Sorry to disappoint any Avon fans out there.)

The more concentrated the dilution, the longer it will last but the higher the potential for skin irritation. Keep in mind that herbal products need to be applied more often than conventional repellents, particularly the higher concentration products like Deep Woods Off, etc. If you’re going to be out for more than a couple of hours or if you’ll headed to a heavily wooded area, I’d suggest bringing extra applications with you.

Besides essential oils, there are the common sense measures. Clothing – especially densely woven fabrics – offer ample protection. (Hunters know what I mean here. Some of the best outdoor clothing for this purpose is designed for hunters.) Long sleeves and pants, scarves/bandanas, high collared shirts, and socks go a long way. Remember hats being required at summer camp? For me, it’s the hairline and the ankles that get it, and those are the area I either cover or apply oils to. As for the yard, consider candles containing geraniol for repellency.

Finally, there’s the question of diet and natural appeal/repellent. Does a particular diet makes you more or less sweet-smelling to a bug? Some people believe changing their diet makes a difference. With the knowledge that lactic acid attracts mosquitos, many fermented foods (as healthy as they are) would seem probable culprits. (Personally, I’d stick with the fermentation and just take more Primal minded precautions.)

I believe the diet and attraction connection likely has merit, but I haven’t seen conclusive evidence for it yet. I’m all ears for anyone who’s found studies on this one or who’s experienced personal success with it. More than anything, showering before that backyard BBQ might be your best bet by minimizing sweat on your skin. Just skip the cologne.

With that, I’ll turn it over to you, MDA readers. What have you tried and found to be effective? Do you make your own or rely on a particular brand?

To those in New England, the best of summer is yet to come. How was black fly season this year anyway? I remember some being worse than others. To everyone out there regardless of regional pest, thanks for reading, and enjoy your summer.

TAGS:  DIY, prevention

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181 thoughts on “The Best Bug Repellent?”

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  1. Well, I happened to be up in New Hampshire helping a buddy open his lake cabin. The flies ate me alive. Those burning itches and gigantic welts took probably a week or two before they were gone. In Southern CT where I live, there are far less of these flies. We just get a higher concentration of mosquitoes spawning in the salt marches.

    1. What about eating Garlic….? It has always worked for me….no one ever tells me I smell and believe me my friends would tell me…REPEATEDLY!!!

      ***Be careful using essential oils around young children and infants…some can actual cause respiratory distress or worse….As always do your OWN research [its better to lead alone than to follow a pack of fools]*** not calling anyone on here a fool its just a quote from something I wrote a long time a go….

  2. Mosquitoes love West Michigan. In the spring and summer they are abundant! At least in our backyard…

    Thankfully I found a special Bug block that worked like a charm the other night. I’ve only tried it once but oh how awesome it is!!! I smeared it on and watched mosquitoes literally fly near my arms only to land on my MAC. They would fly by my face as well. They would occasionally land on my arm and a little movement caused them to move right away and never come back.

    It was amusing and an incredible discovery. I’ve only used this one time but the experience I had with it was incredible. I got one teeny tiny bite… guess where? My left calf… I DIDN’T PUT ANY ON MY LEGS!!

    So, what is this amazing bug block?

    The “brand” is Made On. This lady also sells an amazing lip balm that works wonders for me. The ingredients in the bug block are…

    beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils of citronella, cedarwood & lavendar….

    Go to Hardlotion.com to check it out!!

      1. using a cat repellent to distract your cat or your neighbors’ cat away from particular areas is a great money-saver while being better for health.

    1. That looks great! I make a similar one with essential oils, but use Witch hazel and essential oils instead. I actually just posted the recipe last week! I like the idea of using the beeswax though, as this would provide a type of physical barrier also and be good for the skin.

    2. The best all natural bug spray out there by far is made by a company called Mission Essentials (www.mission-essentials.com) – it’s called Fight Back 2…it smells great, works fabulous and has no alcohol so it feels good.

  3. My mom used to always tell me to leave the toilet cover down and close the bathroom door to avoid mosquitoes. I think they lay their eggs in water? She also used to tell me to put some vaselin on my exposed skin before I sleep.

    That got greasy after a while.

      1. It also stops the sewer monsters crawling out of the toilet.

  4. I live in one of the buggiest places in the country (central NC) and fight with insects constantly. I actually found a plant at the farmers market in town that they just called a “mosquito plant” that I keep out on the porch and haven’t had a problem getting bit much at all. I couldn’t get any more information out of the guy at the stand but if you rub the leaves between your fingers it smells just like a citronella candle. It could just be a citronella plant but either way, it works. I’m all for using plants and natural stuff to keep away those biting bastards!

    1. I used to have a big one, they are Citronella plants, the official name is Citrosa Geranium. They work well against all sorts of bugs and flies.

      1. Yup, you two are spot on, I figured they were and the dude didn’t know what he was talking about haha. Works like a charm and completely natural. Thanks for the clarification!

  5. I noticed that when I started eating Paleo, I was much less likely to get bitten than the people around me. I always attributed it to having a lower respiratory quotient (RQ) and therefore producing less CO2 than people on high carb diets.

    RQ is a measure of the amount of CO2 produced by the body per unit of oxygen consumed (ie. RQ = CO2 eliminated / O2 consumed). The higher your RQ, the more CO2 you produce for any given activity.

    Growing-up, I always heard of this folklore about people getting bitten more when they ate sweet foods because “they have sweeter blood”. I’m of the opinion that this must be related to the higher RQ of carbohydrates (1.0) compared to proteins (0.8) and fats (0.7), and therefore higher CO2 production after eating sweet foods.

    If this theory holds true, intermittent fasting during the period where one is exposed to bugs may be even more effective than a low carb diet, as one’s RQ and therefore CO2 production may be even lower during fasts than on a low-carb, high fat diet (0.66).

    1. The amount of CO2 you produce for a given activity will vary with how efficiently the food is burned. Only aerobic metabolism produces CO2.

      Sugars will give you energy via both glycolysis (anaerobic) and oxidative phosphorylation (aerobic). In contrast, fats are only metabolised aerobically.

      Therefore I think I’d predict that the effect (if any) would be the opposite of the one you’re thinking of.

    2. Looking at the meaning of RQ, I think this only measures how much oxygen is in a fuel. For the same amount of s sugar and a fat, the fat will yield much more energy (since it has less oxygen and therefore has more reducing energy).

      Therefore despite generating more CO2 per unit, the fat will yield more energy – balancing out the effect.

      1. Without meaning to offend you, it seems pretty obvious that you don’t really know what you are talking about.

        The idea that macronutrient composition changes one’s RQ and therefore their CO2 production is not new, and is a well established concept that has been studied extensively in COPD patients that have trouble with CO2 elimination.

        The only thing that is new and uncertain about what I was talking about is whether the potentially lower CO2 production would lead to less black fly/mosquito attraction if, as Mark stated, “mosquitos target their blood donors…by their CO2 output”.

        1. That’s cool, but could you refer me to a good review on that COPD research? (just post the citation, since links can be tricky here)

          I had a look in this review, but it didn’t mention what you were talking about.

          Aniwidyaningsih W et. al. “Impact of nutritional status on body functioning in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and how to intervene.” Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jul;11(4):435-42.

          This talked about an increased basal metabolic rate in COPD patients, but said this was due to their difficulty in breathing, not their diet.

        2. Never mind, I found this article about indirect calorimetry that explains the issues nicely. Seems like you do have to correct the RQ for the energy content of macronutrients, but that a small difference remains (Table I).

          Brandi et. al. Nutrition. 1997 Apr;13(4):349-58.

          This doesn’t seem like it would be significant, compared to varying levels of physical activity.

    3. In my teens and twenties I never got bit by any bugs. I’d go to the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, anywhere and not get bitten. Back then I was vegetarian, ate a high carb diet, ate gluten and had celiac. I was not healthy at all. It seemed the bugs could smell me from a distance and knew I wouldn’t taste good. My friends would walk away scratching from head to toe and there was me with not so much as a a single itch. I’ve eaten paleo for years now and now seem to get bit by bugs just like everyone else. Don’t know that this refutes your theory but maybe there’s a little more to it anyway.

      1. Your hormones have changed the way you break down proteins. It’s the same reason people get allergies later in life.

  6. Surprised no one mentioned pyrethrin. Look it up on Wikipedia. It’s a completely natural, organic repellent and works great. Of course, I’ve used it as a timed indoor spray. I don’t think there’s any kind of application you can put on your skin.

    1. While pyrethrin is naturally derived and probably safer than most instecticides, it is still a nerve toxin and any commercial product will expose you to a much higher concentration than you would encounter naturally. I would definitely avoid it. My mother has had a very bad reaction in the past.

      1. I believe Pyrethrin can cause seizures in pets. Google “Hartz victims” to see videos that owners have taken of their pets having seizures after applying Hartz Flea and Tick which contains Pyrethrin. I discovered this only after applying some to my Chihuahua and then saw a video on Facebook about the problem. My pup was fine but I was amazed to see how many pets did not fare well with it. I imagine it can’t be all that safe for humans either.

    2. My Mum swears by the daisy (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium or Chrysanthemum coccineum) as a bug repelant, and I believe it is pyrethrum which is the active substance. She always planted them around the back door to keep the flies out of the house. Lots of flies in Australia.

    3. Arsenic is natural too… Gotta watch out for things like that.
      I am working on a blend with essential oils for my horse. I’m tired of using chemicals. Gotta tweak it though, pesky flies are still bothering him!

  7. As a veteran of New England summer camps, I learned through experience that dark green and brown colored clothing does not attract mosquitos nearly as much as yellow, orange, and red. We hung rainwear out to dry in the woods and the number of mosquitos lounging on the Y, O, and R rainsuits far outnumbered those on the green and brown!

    Black flies like the eyes and hairline especially. Use a bandana worn around the neck and a cloth hat with brim – douse your bandana and hat brim with the toxic bug repellant, not your skin. For truly effective bug protection around the face, use a dorky-looking mosquito net hat. Wear tightly woven but loose fitting long sleeve shirt and long pants. Then you can minimize bug repellant use on the skin to just the hands/wrist area.

  8. I would light my skin on fire if I thought it would kill the damn things.

    1. You’re not alone. I’ve often daydreamed about possessing Jedi capabilities and vaporizing all the bugs in my immediate vicinity with Force lightning.

  9. It wasn’t as bad as year’s past but still a pain! Have dealt with the Lyme disease as well. I would be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on how to repel these annoying insects besides simply covering up.

  10. Aloe vera always does the trick for me. Applied either as a cream or gel (intended use for people with irritated skin) or in a bath soap.

    1. Aloe vera repels mosquitoes for you? Mosquitoes used to leave me alone for the most part, until I started using aloe to help control my eczema. After that, they loved me. My husband and I joked that I was marinating myself for them. Once, after I’d put some aloe on my daughter to help with a skin rash, the mosquitoes loved her too. The reason aloe repels mosquitos for you and attracts them for me could be a difference in the brands. I use Fruit of the Earth brand because it’s clear (no dyes) and does not contain alcohol. Many of the brands that are green in color contain alcohol and other chemicals, some of which aggrivate my eczema. Mosquitoes haven’t bothered me much the last few years, but based on comments below, it may be because I’m taking Vitamin B6 and eat more garlic.

    2. Thank You, thank you, a thousand times, thank you. Mosquitos have been so bad this summer that I have cabin fever from staying inside. Any time I go out, I’ve had to use something with deet. I had some aloe vera (Fruit of the Earth 100% Gel) and thought I would give it a try. Not really expecting much, I sat there drinking a cut of coffee, and was not bothered at all. I just sat there and could hardly beleive it. I’m going to facebook this to all my friends

  11. Hmmm, so that military grade 95% DEET repellant I was using in the northern Canadian bush (also good to light fires and remove paint) may not have been totally healthy? Who knew.

    1. Yeah, I used to use that stuff too. Melted a couple of plastic tablecloths when camping. I was a teenager so I just thought that made it “extra awesome”.

  12. Skin So Soft may not pass “clinical” trials, but my wife and I have used it for years with total protection. If we don’t use it, my wife gets eaten alive by mosquitoes, me not as much. But with the Skin So Soft, nary a nibble. So much for the “experts” and their “clinical” trials.

    1. do you simply smear it, full strength, on the skin? i seem to remember hearing about the trials years ago, and noting they were not doing that, but using it as the label directs….

      1. We use the spray. Spray on bedding, clothing and skin. It has always worked for us, even when the “Off” failed. And, the smell is not so offensive.

        1. I use the spray too, and it’s always worked really well for me. I’ve used a lot of different forms of DEET and a lot of “natural alternatives” but nothing has ever worked as well for me as SSO.

          I was not aware of picaridin, I think I’ll have to compare it to SSO the next time I’m out in nature where I need the protection.

    1. Have been doing the B1 things (100 mg 3*day) since my days in South America (1954-1972) and it works like a charm. If you sweat like a pig (like myself) or just glow (like my wife) a slight odor is noticeable due to the vitamin. It is not unpleasant.

      1. My doctor always told me to make sure to start vitamin b complex and garlic about a month before mosquito season.
        I also use Skin so Soft spray. I put half water and half SSS. I shake it up then spray above my head to get my hair and back a light spray. I then spray my palms and rub together then rub it in my arms. Spray palms again and rub 1 leg. Spray palms again and rub the other leg. Spray clothes lightly also. The spray will last about 2 days. I spray myself while in the shower so it don’t get all over the floor. Plus when your skin is moist I believe it moisturizer better.
        I read somewhere about the SSS and diluting it. It said it doesn’t make it less effective. And I find it don’t. I also spray if it on my Shih-tzu for protection. It works pretty good. I live in Florida near 3 lakes. Yes we have plenty of Mosquitoes.

  13. Mosquitoes eat my wife and daughter alive. For some reason they hardly touch me, and I don’t use any repellant. Don’t know why that is…
    I have heard that B1 can act as an effective repellant taken internally. I know my B vitain intake is much higher than theirs, so maybe that’s why I dont’ get bitten (thanks liver!).
    Off the subject, while googling B1, I ran in to this: http://www.arthritistrust.org/research/DaleHumpreys/MultipleSclerosis.pdf

  14. I can’t stand the smell and feeling of bug repellant on my skin. But I have had great results using Burt’s Bees natural bug repellent. No harsh chemicals, smells pleasant, and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just gone through a chem-bath. It is a little bit oily, though.

    1. I also use Burts Bees! it is oily and strong…but I feel so much better putting that on my kids. I have put it in a spray bottle and cut it with some witch hazel too to spray on clothes and hair. Still smells strong, and still works great! Michigan mosquitos are BRUTAL this year! we got tons of rain this spring.

  15. They say taking B complex vitamins makes your blood “unpalatable” to them.

  16. Black flies sucked this year. Literally.

    Mosquitoes and the like have always been attracted to me, especially when I was pregnant I would get bit by EVERYTHING. Super annoying. This year I upped my garlic intake and take a B-Complex vitamin religiously and have thus far seen a massive improvement. Now my poor son gets hit the hardest, he definitely inherited my knack for attracting those suckers.

  17. My big fear is ticks. 😛

    I have a dedicated set of old clothes for yardwork…jeans, long socks to pull up OVER the bottom of the jeans, fishing hat, long sleeved shirt, gloves, and bandana. I use DEET sometimes, but only as an overspray for the clothing. (Ever read the directions? It’s OK to apply to your skin, but you’re not supposed to get it on fabric. What the…???) Any remaining exposed skin gets a natural repellant.

    The color of clothing does matter, too. I have yellow biking shirts I bought because I wanted to be highly visible. Turns out I was also highly attractive to anything flying by.

    And we had blackflies one year that were so bad I really did make a netting for my hat. Use a dark color if you do…I used white and it was hard to see what I was doing.

  18. All things considered, I’ll stick with my Deet. The occasional use is not anything I’m worried about.

  19. Mark,
    Well come on back east !! 🙂 NH/ME seacoast has been alright for the midgies this year. My mom swears by brown soap and calamine lotion if the little buggers do get to you…

    1. I use a thermocell while hunting in SC in August, which is a propane fueled repeller. It is so hot and humid that you would sweat off anything applied to your skin. The thermocell works perfectly once you get it going.

    2. My parents have a propane fueled repell that works well. Don’t know the model, though.

  20. My wife and I both use vitamin B supplements before going anywhere with a lot of mosquitoes. We certainly get fewer bites, although that could also be a result of eating more primal.

  21. The note about permethrin being approved for clothing use only isn’t entirely true. It is a medical treatment for scabies, head lice and other parasitic infestations in humans. It has quite low mammalian toxicity in general, with the exception of cats, and absorbs poorly through the skin. It is a synthetic variant of a natural insecticide/repellent that is derived from Crysanthemums, known as pyrethrins.

  22. I used to get bitten all the time. I started taking a garlic supplement/eating lots of garlic when I was travelling somewhere that had a lot of mosquitoes and they don’t bother me now.

    Also, my grandparents gave their dog a garlic pill every day and it never got fleas or ticks with no other flea collar/repellent.

  23. Thanks Mark, it’s nice to see that there’s research backing those other products! I’ve long believed DEET can’t be good for you, but when you find something that works you tend to stick with it.

    I’ll definitely be trying some of the natural oil products out there. When you have to swipe off sheets (literally, that many) gnats covering your arms and no one else around is getting touched, you know you’re one of the tasty ones to bugs!

  24. Coming from South Carolina, where the mosquito is the state bird, I have found 2 ways to fight them that I have not seem mentioned. The first is the thermocell, which simply heats a pad embedded with a mosquito repellant. This great for hiding human scent while hunting. I also have found that the lowly chinaberry tree repels mosquitos. You can also rub the crushed leaves on your skin for total protection.

  25. When we go in forest, deep Canadian forest, a good choice is beer, not to much 1 to 2. My father in law use this technic all the time. Anyway, if we find the active ingredient that repel bugs, we could take it without alcohol. Maybe that’s the B vitamine that do it, I don’t know.

  26. Yup, my family is from Maine. It always seems the worst from June 1st – July 1st. I now live in VA and never visit ME during black fly season. 🙂

  27. From my own experience, coconut oil works wonders. I was in Costa Rica a few months ago and tested out the idea of the oil being a repellant because I came up on that info somewhere. Hands down the best thing ever for bug bites. Both my boyfriend and I were bite-free for the week we were in the jungle.

    We had the same reaction as Toad did with his repellant. They would land and then fly off.

    1. Did you use the coconut oil exxternally or just ate the coconut oil?

      1. We used it externally head to toe like body lotion. It’s expensive to do that repeatedly, but I’m guessing putting it on only exposed skin would work, too.

  28. When my family moved from Ireland to Australia, we were eaten alive by mosquitoes (‘mozzies’ in Aussie) lingo, and we also reacted really badly to the bites. We figured it was because we had ‘exotic’ Irish blood (that’s the first time ‘exotic’ and ‘Irish’ have been used in the same sentence!) My youngest brother managed to get bitten on the ear and ended up looking like Big Ears from ‘Noddy’… I have heard that Australian Aboriginals traditionally used Eucalyptus oil to repel mozzies. They probably had a high fat/low carb diet in the past too. I haven’t tried eucalyptus oil myself, and my mother instilled in me a healthy fear of chemical repellents, but I did notice that the mozzie bites weren’t so bad as I got older. I wonder if you can become acclimatised to them in some way?

  29. I grew up in Louisiana. At times when I cooked a lot (I use a TON of garlic and onion, and a lot of capsaicin, too, I didn’t really get eaten. When I stopped consuming high levels of garlic and onion I started getting bit by mosquitos. Just my experience, but my ex wife picked up on it and told my kid the same thing. YMMV but it works for us.

  30. I saw on a show once about the broadleaf plantain.

    Broadleaf Plantain
    Plantago major

    Photo by Dr. John Meade, weed scientist emeritus
    Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension

    Broadleaf plantain, normally a perennial, sometimes behaves as an annual. It is a problem in lawns and sometimes in thin alfalfa and pastures as well as christmas trees. It is a low growing plant with large leaves. The leaves are purported to relieve the pain of insect stings if crushed and rubbed on the affected area. In the past the indians called it “White mans’ foot” because it was not native to the USA and since it has a sticky seed it was carried by the early settlers on their shoes.

    1. I taught my kids to use these for bug bites. They really do work. Pick ’em, then roll and crush them over the bite until they fall apart and the area is green. Repeat as necessary.

  31. When we first got our cabin in the wilds of Quebec, we gassed ourselves out with bug-dope. Then one weekend I ate a whole lot of pickled ginger and no bites! Pennyroyal (a mint), the essential oil diluted in water and sprayed on works great too.

  32. What about the iPhone app Repellent? It’s supposed to emit a sound that repels pests? I’ve gone hiking with it before and it seemed to work pretty well. But, could have just been a coincidence…anyone else tried it?

  33. I live in California, so it’s not exactly the buggiest place on Earth (although I did study abroad in tropical Australia and man, some rainforest skeeters are like as big as your thumbnail). I have noticed, although never tested, that when I wear sunscreen, I get bitten far less often, if at all. ‘Course there certainly a lot of negative things to say about sunscreen too, but there you go.

  34. Here in western NY the number of mosquitos varies with the amount of rain. I hate wearing repellants so usually just stay indoors at dawn and dusk when they are most active.

    We also have black flies but not as bad as Vermont or NH. For some reason, even if I get bit, the bite is no big deal contrary to the first year I was exposed to them when large, hard, itchy welts would appear. Why this change, I do not know.

    Lots of good suggestions here. Think I will plant an American beautyberry. Do you think it will also repel groundhogs?

  35. Elder leave are a trad herbal remedy for bug repellent. Seems to work for some. Marmite is another much loved remedy here.

    1. I forgot that you guys across the pond have a couple of varieties of Elder, I’m talking about Sambucus Nigra.

  36. When you’re talking about mosquitos and black flies, the natural stuff tends to repel to a degree.

    However, in the case of deer ticks, I’m not willing to give up on DEET. For the times I’m out in the brush and woods here in Southeast PA, I take no chances. The times I’ve ventured without high concentration DEET or with something sub-par, I’ve come home with a tag-along tick stuck somewhere in my skin. With a record high of Lyme’s on the East Coast, I’d much rather use DEET here and there than risk a debilitating disease.

    Pyrethrin is great to apply to clothing, HOWEVER, for those that have feline pets, DO NOT use pyrethrin in or around them. It’s highly toxic to felines.

    And as always, if you, too, live in tick country, always do a “tick check” when you venture back from being in the woods. Learn how to properly pull out the buggers with tweezers, too.

    1. I’m not entirely willing to give up on DEET either. I check with the state health department for West Nile Virus info… I usually get eaten alive by mosquitos and meningitis/encephalitis doesn’t sound like much fun. That’s the kind of infection that would have taken Grok down.

      Little to no WNV? I’ll take my chances with the natural stuff. But if there’s a lot of WNV activity, I use the DEET, nasty as it is.

  37. have heard a brew made with catnip works really well researched at UF & found to have good results…just watch out for flying cats..lol

  38. My family has always used stongly brewed chamomile tea applied directly to exposed skin to repel mosquitos. Seems to work pretty well if you remember to reapply periodically. It may work for other flying/biting insects as well.

  39. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, but my family has always used garlic (eaten in mass quantities) as a pre-camping bug repellant. Of course we also used it to cure colds, flu, and pretty much anything else that went wrong. When in doubt, eat garlic.

  40. I’ve known tons of people who vouch on their lives that Avon skin so soft lotion and/ or apple cider vineager keeps nasty bugs away!

  41. Having just survived black fly season in Maine, I can tell you the best way to fight them is, cover yourself from head to toe with a turtleneck, long pants, socks a hat and netting over the hat. They are vicious little critters, thankfully they only last a few weeks. Then there’s deer fly season…

  42. I am in Florida, and before Primal, I would get eaten alive regularly. Mostly by the “No-See-Ums” or biting midges. I have scars from those things when I was on a grain-heavy diet. I haven’t been out much since switching to primal, but I will be out and about in the woods soon and will let you know how many welts I come back with.

  43. I’ve a soft spot in my heart for Skin So Soft. When I was about four years old I doused my whole body with an entire bottle of the stuff. Man, it took forever to stop smelling like it.

    Anyway, I like the sound of the stuff that Primal Toad mentioned, it may beat my addiction to SSS. I live in BC, so there are mosquitoes aplenty.

  44. Garlic has never worked for me. I also tried sulfur powder – zilch. Ticks still leaped all over me and mosquitoes commenced feasting. It also made my car smell like sulfur for a month.

    Skin-so-Soft with a bug repellant additive (I don’t recall what) has worked well for mosquitoes. Haven’t tried ticks yet.

    I’ll have to give some oils a try.

  45. Mosquitoes are brutal wear I live. I’ve seen a lot of essential-oil based repellents on the internet the past couple of weeks, but I’m skeptical.

    Any chance of an MDA round-up on the efficacy of natural repellents?

  46. I have heard that trials with Skin-So-Soft failed to show it was effective, but when I went to boot camp on Paris Island, S.C., it was the only thing that worked for the sand fleas. The big repellent they issued was worthless. Someone’s mom sent some Skin-So-Soft, and a few days later, everyone was getting their mom to mail them some. I never understood how the trials could say it did not work, I saw it work for everyone that tried it in my platoon. Weird, but I swear by the stuff.

  47. Found a product a few years ago called “Bugband” (www.bugband.net) I am in no way associated with this company… just a highly satisfied customer! They are plastic bands you can wear as bracelets, hook on belt loops, etc. They contain geraniol (essential oil derived from geraniums) We have the nasty black flies here in Montana as well… their season seems to be when I need to be on the tractor in the orchard all day! I wear that band and they don’t bother me at all… works for mosquitos also. I buy a new set of them each spring… one for each kid, myself, hubby, and a couple of extras just in case. they come in a plastic pod to store them in (geraniol is volatile) so keep them in their pod in a ziploc when not in use and they will last all season.

  48. Soon after beginning some challenging yard work last weekend, my husband came in to say he was being ‘eaten alive’ by mosquitos and was out of OFF (his preferred repellant). I found some old packets of Buzz Away which he applied liberally. We were both surprised at how well it worked for him because he is a true mosquito magnet while mosquitos bother me very little. I’ve used Buzz Away for years when I thought it prudent — probably got it at the local health food store (we live in downstate Illinois). You can check out a few reviews on Amazon.com. Some folks complain of the smell but I agree with those who find it acceptable, maybe pleasant.

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s ideas and experiences. One thought on pennyroyal — pregnant women should not use it. Also, I have used nutritional yeast for years and hold the belief this has something to do with why mosquitos and other pests don’t bother me — the B vitamin hypothesis supported!

  49. When I was in Africa the locals SWORE that drinking quinine would help to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Not sure if it helped or not, or if it was their way of justifying all those gin and tonics?

  50. I remember back in the old days people smeared wood ashes all over their sweaty skin.

    Has anybody tried that? Would probably make an awesome war paint for us Groks 🙂

  51. We call mosquitoes the state bird in Oregon. They’re vicious and bite right through your nylon, permethrin-treated clothing. It’s no fun hiking in a headnet and bug clothes all day, but it’s about the only way to avoid being bitten. I even made myself bug mitts for this summer.

  52. We visit family in St.Simon’s Island, GA, which is hot, humid, and buggy. The local bug replellent is a big spray bottle filled with 1/3 original Listerine ( that’s eucalyptus you taste), 2/3 water. Works like a charm.

  53. Mercola.com has a great bugspray that is chemical free!!! The sunscreen is amazing as well for other pale friends like me.

  54. Garlic, lots and lots of garlic! Seems like the more I eat, the less the bugs bug me. Of course, have to have everyone around abide by the same concept, makes things more civil!

  55. Doubt there’s any “proof” except they don’t bite me….GARLIC, lots and lots of GARLIC! It is rumored to repel vampires, too. Maybe the pesky mosquito inspired the tales of those blood suckers.

  56. lordy, I remember the crop-dusters spraying malathon over the area when I was growing up (in TX). They’d call, and we’d here them coming, and run inside for a while. Mom also had one of those pump-misters with some chemical in (smelled like coconuts but was lethal I’m sure).

    Now, there is a Vit. B patch called Don’t Bug Me, or Don’t Bite Me that I found for my husband that works GREAT!

  57. Lavender oil (about 5%) in baby oil (I guess coconut would be fine too) works a treat. Knock it back to about 2.5% for little ones. I have used this brew successfully in Northern topical Australia, and on holiday in Fiji. PS the bugs love me, usually, but not enough to come near me when I have lavender slathered on. 🙂

    1. Also lavender is anti inflammatory, so relieves the itch and discomfort of existing bites!

  58. I’ve always been very suspicious of deet. Ever since my military issue bottle with a loose cap took off the paint from a pencil in my pocket back in the day. And frankly, I don’t think it works very well for bug magnets like me. I just got off the golf course on a humid summer day. Several mosquito bites, a couple of those biting fly bites, and most annoying–gnats following me around like Linus, in my eyes and mouth, totally messing with my swing. If anyone has any ideas about essential oils effective against these buggers I’m all ears.

  59. I spent a couple weeks in Seward Alaska in 2005. This is a small fishing town and the mosquitos there are TERRIBLE. Bug bits on my face. Thats the worst. My friends mom who lived there had me rub cocoa butter on my lower back, arm pits, back of the neck and on my inner thighs. Then she had me dab soda water over the areas with the cocoa butter. Sounds nuts, but it worked like a charm. Spent all night outside that evening with a camp fire and didn’t get one bite!

    For some reason I haven’t tried it again since, I don’t live in a particularly buggy part of the states. I would be curious to hear if it works for anyone else!

    1. whoops, i think it was tonic water, not soda water. Because of the quinine in it. Sorry!

  60. Last year backpacking we took “Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent” after reading excellent reviews on the web. Stuff was awesome! We didn’t get bit once but our friends using that Avon stuff sure did. lol

  61. I’ve found eaten enough garlic or tabasco sauce (eating them until the smell comes out of my pores) keep ANYTHING from biting me…

    Including my husband, but you know… whatever.

  62. To repel mosquitoes: Up the amount of garlic that you eat (in cooked foods or raw). Eat lots of garlic. Mosquitoes are repelled by the smell seeping through your pores.

  63. I grew up in an Italian family that worshipped garlic. Mom didn’t know how to cook without it. Not only did the house reek of the stuff (and still does) but the whole family did too. However, it does give off an unpleasant body aroma besides becoming a part of your breath — (when I was a teenager, my folks swore it was the best birth control pill on the planet!! ahem—-)
    That said, even with all that garlic, I’ve always been considered PRIME feeding fodder for bugs/mosquitoes.

    Having spent many a summer backpacking in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California, I can attest to being very well liked by these critters. The bugs would zero in on me and leave every one else around me alone. I became the bug repellant of choice!

    I wouldn’t even consider hiking without a bug hat/net thingy on my head
    as they just seem to home in on my breath — savoring whatever it is the CO2 I emit is providing them. I really think that we are all different enough that we need to try out various methods/repellants and just find the one that works for us.

    Has anyone noticed that the more we move around/sweat/breathe hard the more we attract them?

  64. I find that bug bites don’t irritate me quite as much as pre-primal. I still hate it when they go for my neck but there’s no long lasting pain or itch.

  65. I’m moving to west Africa in 2 weeks and this has been the question for me. If I can avoid having to take malaria medication, I will! I’ve heard that eating a match head a day will ward off anything that bites. Anyone else have an opinion on sulfur?

  66. Commenting on sulfur, I used to chew match heads back in ranger school in the deep woods of Georgia. I have no hard proof, as the bugs might have just gone away, but it may have worked. It certainly didn’t hurt, and I know there’s brand name repellant called “chigg away” that’s just sulfur ( but is topical). It’s definitely a cheap option to try!

  67. OIl of lavender has always worked well for me and my dogs. It repels biting flies also.

  68. I’ve never really been one to get bitten much – I recall a couple of friends and I went to Spain, one had the nets, the repellant spray, the cream, everything, and he got eaten alive. I slept with the shutters and windows open, no spray and got bitten once, in the first day – clearly I’m not tasty!!

    Found witch hazel works for midges (probably the same thing, but they’re a menace in Scotland) – went on a camping trip as a teenager. I didn’t get bitten, but most other people did. One girl borrowed my witch hazel spot stick then realised after that, she didn’t get bitten on her face again..the local chemist was sold out an hour later 😀

  69. Garlic supplementation is supposed to work against ticks, so much so that the Swedish defense hands them out to soldiers, because borreliosis used to be a huge problem after field maneuvers.

  70. What repels mosquitos may nor repel flies and vice versa.

    While traveling through Africa my wife and I mixed Eucalyptus Oil in baby oil (stuff you put *on* babies, not made *from* babies) and gave it a good shake before dabbing on our skins. Did the same with Citronella Oil and both worked fine. I can’t smell citronella without thinking of camping in Africa.

    Here in Arabia we have a tree called a Neem (grows across asia too) which is a good repellent and insecticide.

    1. Hi, how much essential oil did you mix with the baby oil. I want to use this formula this year

  71. All herbal repellents I’ve tried are a waste of money. This includes extra-super-double strength citronella.

    They definitely make the bugs less likely to choose you if others in your group haven’t put on any repellent…but it doesn’t stop them from finally deciding “Smells kind of nasty, but I’m hungry” and eating you alive.

    This isn’t saying someone won’t someday find a herbal repellent that does work. All I’m saying is that the usual suspects (citronella, eucalyptus) don’t.

    My recommendation: you can buy mosquito netting that goes under a hat and over your head and neck. It’s your best bet if you don’t want to use DEET.

    JS

  72. We’re up here in Dover Foxcroft , dead center of Maine , and the black flies were horrendous this year .
    I had some Cabela’s gift cards to use up , so I ordered two Thermacells. They arrived yesterday . The wife and I are eager to try them out today in the garden and yard.

  73. I have one child that seems to be extra tasty to “horseflies” and she is terrified of them at the beach. I found a “bug zapper” thing, it looks like a tennis racket, push a button and swing at the fly/bug. ZAP! Effective and wicked fun! $5 bucks at Ocean State Job Lot. We use it in the restaurant I work at, too, for the fruit flies!

  74. Don’t use soap. Simple, effective.

    I’m NOT saying, “don’t shower, don’t use a washcloth, don’t wash your hands before you eat or after going to the bathroom” (you should do these things) but the world uses way too much soap on their skin on a daily basis. The natural oils our skin produce are very effective at keeping bugs away. In two weeks of no soap use in the shower or in hair, its amazing how much smoother, and healthier the skin and hair really is.

    No smell if you actually eat Primal.

  75. When I worked in a Bath & Body in college, they promoted the juniper breeze as a natural bug repellant. I don’t know how “natural” B&B products are, but people who tried it were swore by it.

  76. I actually heard that dryer sheets work, just keep one in your pocket. I have only tried it once but don’t remember getting bit, was out watching a nighttime softball game. I will keep trying that until I learn that it doesn’t work because then I don’t have to put anything on my body. Supposedly they don’t like the smell.

  77. I used a DEET product and felt sick for days — I think the stuff should be illegal. Avon’s bug spray worked well for me, and there DOES seem to be at least some clinical support for a number of their products:
    http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mosquitosite/topicalrepel.html

    IR3535 (in the Avon product) is similar to beta-alanine. I wonder if supplementing with beta-alanine would provide any mosquito protection.

  78. I am pale,celiac and have been bugs preferred food of choice as long as I can remember.I have crazy sensitive skin so I suffered the after effects of being dinner over the chemical irritation.There’s an all natural soap maker in Austin. South Austin People (So.A.P.) and they make soap with natural vegetable oils and essential herbs.they make a dog soap that is the best soap ever. It has tea tree,eucalyptus, and neem oil in it. I never get a single bug bite! I’ve read neem oil also kills and repelles lice for those of you with kids. Id be willing to bet a homemade blend of some almond or coconut oil and teatree and neem oil would do the trick. Effective.natural.

  79. The main ingredient in the alternative bug spray I use for the kids is coconut oil with geranium essential oil being second in line. When I run out of this stuff, I’m going to try mixing up a batch of my own. If nothing else, the coconut oil will certainly be nice on the skin. On the other hand, if we’re going to a particularly buggy place, I do use the DEET because the mosquitoes around here can carry the LaCrosse virus.

  80. years in the jungles of Central America ….1 gram of Vitamin B-1 morning and evening…until saturated….used mostly there along time ago for hangovers…added bonus bug repellant and nerve damage….I’d go deep into the jungle others were eaten alive…but not a bite on me….just remembering to take it….protection against malaria and dengue so don’t make lite of it……dangerous diseases and now mosquitos have been discovered carrying lyme borrelia

  81. SO, what about our pets?? I saw a couple suggestions for dogs. I remember my dad making collars for his dogs out of eucalyptus caps to repel fleas (I can’t remember if it worked all that great). I also remember we used to put vinegar in our horses’ drinking water as I had heard that would help keep flies away. But I never knew how much I was supposed to add.
    I currently live at 9000ft so I have limited insect trouble & no fleas for the dog, but will file this all in the memory banks! good stuff.
    Still would be interested if anyone has any info/luck on stuff for their dogs &/or horses…

    1. Peggy, my BIL uses watered down Listerine, sprayed on the dogs coats, he swears by it. Hope this helps

  82. if you are near electicity, plug in a house fan. mosquitos can not navigate the wind very well. combine with a typical repellant on you body and you will have a pretty good bug barrier.

  83. Interesting fact: When I was in peru and we were visiting with natives in the jungle there, they showed us how they repel mosquitos: Termites.

    The let the termites crawl onto their skin and hands and then mash them up and rub it all over as it if were lotion. It smells like bug spray. Not as gross as it sounds. Very cool to see.

  84. Always a ‘buzzing’ topic (sorry for the pun…)
    I went on a world trip a few yers back and took 100% DEET product –> crazy I know but I was very worried about the bugs in various regions.
    Anyway after seeing the effect of this DEET spray when accidentally sprayed onto a window sill (the wood started cracking shortly after), I thought what is this stuff doing to my skin! That was the end of DEET for me.

  85. I live in Maine, the black flies were worse than usual, I still have the welts. I use mouthwash for mosquitos, apparently it masks the exhalations. It only works for about an hour. It didn’t work at all on the black flies and I can’t use the chemical ones, they trigger my asthma. I’ll have to try some of the essential oils.

  86. In Korea, mosquitos are EVIL! They could defend the DMZ easily. One thing I noticed when I started eating right was they didn’t attack so much at night. When I have my backslides (trying to get out of a prolonged one now), the bugs bite more. Could it be that I have bigger reactions such as welts with worse diet? The lactic acid thing also explains some of it, too.

  87. 3 things that will save your life from anything that flies and bites.
    1. 1 part rubbing alcohol
    2. 1 part baby oil
    3. 1 part aqua velvet after shave (to cut the smell of the rubbing alcohol)

    kills anything that lands on you. makes you greasy but no bites!! can’t be any worse for you than deet and works 100X’s better
    mississippi and louisiana native, spent four years in N carolina. it works!

  88. Catnip and Neem oil combo works amazing. (and no, you don’t attract meows…)

    You can buy it at health food stores.

    We traveled this year through SE Asia (Thailand and Cambodia) in Mozzie infested areas and whenever we used it – no bites. Mozzie’s wouldn’t come near us.

  89. I find that since I eat so well the mosquitos LOVE me – I think it’s because my blood is “good” and so rich, full of good stuff because I eat so well.

  90. Great blog and timely for all of us in the deep South as well. Bugs of every sort try to lay claim to our bodies seemingly throughout the year so this blog was helpful and intriguing.
    Now I’m going to research each suggestion this morning before I spend the next 10 hours in the woods today. I’ll get back to you on effectiveness since I have all summer to be a target tester.

  91. Here in VT the black flies have been terrible this season. I always rely on Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus for mosquito and black fly protection, it works really well. The EPA and Center for Disease control recommend Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) as the only plant based active ingredient in repellents to work as well as DEET. If you are interested in finding out more about it check out http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm. Cutter, Repel and Coleman all have products that contain OLE and are widely available at stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, sporting good stores, and on-line.

  92. Has anyone used the Bert’s Bees repellent? I want to keep things natural.

  93. Chooks! Backyard chickens will turn your backyard bugs into eggs.

  94. I’ve heard that drinking catnip tea repels bugs. Plus, I bet your cat will love you!

  95. Having spent considerable time in the light infantry and living among the critters I found several things. The traditional treatments are all best done on clothing, not skin. They do cause issues and reactions, but malaria, spotted fever, etc. are real issues as well. Have worked with some of the herbals and in combination as stated they can be very effective. They are very short lived comparatively. Diet I would recommend a huge increase in B vitamin intake. It really seems to make you “stink” to the mosquitoes. For ticks, the best and safest we found was to put sulfur powder on our boots and pants. Around camp areas both sulfur powder and lime dust were found to eliminate ticks and chiggers from the area.

  96. If you can find Cactus Juice, it works wonders! I’m not sure where to find it anymore though…

  97. Black flies wicked this year. Don’t know about prevention but eating a couple raw garlic cloves next morning completely eliminated symptoms from multiple bites

  98. I love to hike in the river valley here in Northern Alberta and when I do, I stick a dryer sheet in the band of my pants…never get bitten.

  99. If you have open water containers for animals to drink from use a few drops of vegetable oil in it to prevent mosquitoes from depositing their eggs and if the water has mosquito larvae a few drops of vegetable and the larvae will die because they need air to breath….

  100. very helpful ideas, i will try it this summer. I always use chemical products to get them out.

  101. When I was younger, and used to follow a largely vegetarian, high grain/legume diet I used to suffer terribly from insect bites.

    In a room full of 10 people, I’d get bitten 10 times with everyone else unscathed.

    Often the bites would react terribly, resulting in swollen limbs that were incredibly painful.

    Since switching to a Primal diet, I’ve found that I now rarely get bitten, and if I do, I barely notice.

    I’ve theorised it could be down to the increased B12 changing the smell of my blood (less tasty), and the anti-inflammatory effect of cutting out the grains etc?

  102. I too use a thermocell when hunting in warmer months, expecially in the river bottoms of East Texas. The only downside is having to replace the pads and fuel, it can get expensive.

  103. The best thing is to make sure that you do not wear cologne or anything with a sweet smell. If you do, you will be drained of a few quarts of blood.

  104. I read recently catnip is a mosquito repellent due to an oil or different oils in it. Just a couple days ago I was walking on a trail and being harassed by mosquitos and I stopped to pick some catnip to eat and make iced tea with and while picking it only a few mosquitos came near.. I’m not sure if that was luck or a correlation.

  105. I can’t believe no one mentioned catnip oil. It is probably more effective against mosquitos than all the rest, see this study:
    http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/2001releases/catnip.html
    I went treeplanting in Northern Ontario 8 years ago, the bugs there are so bad you have to run away from the swarms sometimes. I made a bug spray before going up there and got to compare its effectiveness to full-strength Watson’s cream (strong DEET, 30%?)
    I reckon my natural spray was about 70% as effective, but was non-toxic and pleasant-smelling.
    I used 4 oils: catnip, lemon eucalyptus, cedarwood, and lavender.

    I recommend trying it out.

  106. I have a friend who as a teenager never got bitten, and she lived on Oreos and Kraft Singles. I think it has something to do with her Italian chemistry. . . we should take blood samples of such people and develop some kind of nutrient profile!

  107. Has anyone besides me used a dryer sheet (Bounce fabric softener)? Just rub yourself down – it actually worked for me!

  108. Years ago I remember reading somewhere that the British royal family uses musk if they venture into the wild. Kind of expensive I would guess though!

  109. You need to try the natural bug spray by Mission Essentials is the last one you’ll ever need. It works great, smells great and does not leave your skin feeling oily.
    Check it out @ http://www.mission-essentials.com
    It’s called “Fight Back 2”

  110. Many folks have suggested making bat houses to get rid of flies and mosquitoes but that will only eliminate a fraction of the problem….plus you now have a bat problem!

    The best fly repellent on the market by far is Quickbayt Fly Bait. The flies will literally die within 20 seconds of ingesting product. It’s kind of fun watching them do they robot dance just before they say their last goodbyes.

    http://bugrepellentzone.com/flies/fly-repellent/quickbayt-fly-bait-350-gm/

  111. The best all natural bug spray out there by far is made by a company called Mission Essentials (www.mission-essentials.com) – it’s called Fight Back 2…it smells great, works fabulous and has no alcohol so it feels good.

  112. In the early days of DEET, I found it to be USELESS against deer and horse flies.

    I was a Forestry student in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the summer of 1985. The days were hot and we all wore long sleeve and pants for maximum protection against biting insects. I applied a liberal amount of Muskol 99% DEET insect repellent to my exposed hands. I was screwing the cap back on the bottle, when a deer fly landed, on the still wet application, AND BIT ME!!!

    After this incident, I threw the stuff out and bought a box of Swisher Sweet Cigars… In my opinion, smoke is the ONLY effective bug repellant.

  113. White Mountain Insect Repellent is the repellent of choice here in NH when the bite is on. Actual motto printed on the display box “Black Flies Hate This Stuff” means what it says. This all natural repellent meets the requirements of the EPA and was tested against 25% DEET and proved a 2 hour rate of protection the same as the DEET product. Sure you need to reapply it every so often but it’s not poisoning your system while protecting you from a blood letting.

  114. Forgot to mention. Corn oil is listed by the EPA as an insect repelling oil. So if you want to protect an infant child on a summer camping trip apply some corn oil on the baby….just me sure to hold on tight near the camp fire.

  115. During my tour in Vietnam, I served with the South Korean Tiger Div. Vietnam had more than its share of flying, crawling critters and I found out the army-issue insect repellent was nearly worthless. But I discovered quickly the absolute best insect repellent was kimchi, the staple Korean spicy-hot cabbage dish. My fellow Korean soldiers ate kimchi at every meal — they even had it in C-rations and ate it on combat operations; if a chopper could get in, it carried ammo, batteries and other necessities — including freshly made kimchi from base camp. In the tropical climate of Vietnam, we kimchi-eaters sweated the kimchi and kept the mosquitoes and ants at bay. Kimchi is very tasty, comes in a wide variety of presentations, and remains a favorite of mine; there are also certain positive health properties to the dish.

  116. We’ve found this to be a really effective one already made up from natural ingredients here: http://thesolidbarcompany.com/collections/bug-bars like we did for our kids and family……works real great

    ps. If you really want the low down on what does and what does not work against mozzies you could read this great article/blog by a re-nowned Australian entymologist who works solely on mozzie prevention/deterrent research; excellent source! https://cameronwebb.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/five-things-to-do-and-three-to-avoid-to-beat-the-buzz-of-bedroom-mozzies/

  117. Yes, It’s true. That works perfectly fine..

    Most people use commercial products to prevent mosquitoes and other defenses for their safety due to mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Malaria,

    Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) , LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC), West Nile Virus (WNV).

    But the problem with commercial products can be harmful to the environment or to the children because of the chemicals.

    Instead, they decide to do Natural Mosquito Repellent by planting herbs plants around or inside the house..

    It’s really works. thanks for sharing. 😉