Aug 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm #1293115
@alinaLocale: Toronto, Ontario
I have posted recently a question on natural bug sprays but it looks like that there are not that many people on whom natural stuff works. Anything else that might work (other than DEET and the like)?What about physical barriers for example? Does it work for you? How do you go about it?
I am thinking of getting this head net http://www.coghlans.com/products/mosquito-head-net-8941 Does anyone have it? Do you liked it? Any problems with it? Are you using any other head nets?
There is also this shirt http://www.bugshirt.com/ but I see that people complain about it being hot.
I read that you should wear tightly woven clothes but what does it mean exactly? How do I know if something is woven tightly enough? Any particular fabrics, brand names? I think that clothes that are yellow, light beige and light blue are good. Dark blue and dark beige are bad?
What about vit B patches?
Anything else that works well against bugs? How do you survive the bugs (other than using DEET)? Any tips are greatly appreciated.
Thank you.Aug 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm #1903857
I like the 20% Picardin sprays now available. Works nearly as well as Deet(for me) and won't melt plastics. Goes on nice and light and does not feel all greasy.
BPL's very own Peter Vacco makes some nice head nets http://petersheadnets.com/Aug 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm #1903861
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
It is a playoff between the possible effects of DEET and a bug borne disease, not to mention the annoyance. You don't have to bathe in the stuff– a few drops go a long ways.
But, to answer your question, Permethrin treated clothing is another defense. I found that a treated bandanna tied around my neck kept them away from my face and neck. We were camping in a area with small ponds that was pretty bad and this worked.
It would be interesting to try making treated wrist bands, as my hands are the next target. I do use a few drops of DEET on the backs of my hands.
I like the OR spring head net, which keeps the fabric and the bugs far from my face. A wide brimmed hat and big loose bug net over the hat can accomplish the same, like a bee keeper. There are some hats made with nets built in.
I recommend buying a light colored wind shirt so it can be used for sun and bug protection.
Pants with gathered cuffs help on that end. A bit of string or a rubber band can substitute.
And I have a teeny tiny little shotgun TO GET THEM ALL!!! MUHAHAHAHAH….. sorry, it's the DEET, I know it.Aug 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm #1903863
Headnets are a godsend when the bugs get way outta control, but can be somewhat claustrophobic while hiking in them. Your best defense against bugs is long sleeve pants and shirt. It sounds like you are looking for non-chemical options but I highly recommend treating your clothes with permethrin for keeping off the ticks if nothing else.Aug 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm #1903864
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Tightly woven clothing means there are no holes in it for the mosquito to stick it's probiscus through
I don't know about brands – I make my own – Supplex or Taslan fabric is good
If it's tightly woven then air flow is less so it's warmer
I tried Cedarcide cedar oil based – smells good, but mosquitoes kept biting me.
4 foot diamter circle of netting works – put it over hat – also good if you're sleepingAug 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm #1903869
There are alternatives to DEET that work well (according to independent testing). Several years ago (at least) there was a study written up in, of all places, the Wall St. Journal that compared different non-DEET alternative repellents. The winner at that time was a spray with 30% lemon oil of eucalyptus (aka Repel) – worked as well as 21% DEET, if I recall correctly. I've used it, and it works quite well for me in heavy mosquito times in the Sierra Nevada. Before that article, I was using the runner-up (a product called Bite Blocker) which is made with derivatives of soy oil; I used it in SE Alaska as well as the Sierra, and it worked well for me. I do find I need to re-spray every couple of hours, but that's not a big deal for me.
There is a newer product made from something originally extracted from tomato plants; it's called BioUD and marketed by the same folks who made (and still make) Bite Blocker. According to its literature it lasts longer than DEET and is as effective. When my Repel runs out, I'm getting that: http://www.homs.com/
The lemon eucalyptus product is called Repel:
Don't bother using other "natural" products other than those 3 I mentioned; only those ones have done well in independent testing, citronella and others really bombed in the WSJ article.
I spray face, neck, hands, socks, and any other exposed skin, as well as my hat brim.
I second the vote for Peter Vacco's headnets when the mosquitoes are really swarming; they are SO much better than any others because it's easier to see and breathe through them.
Woven nylon pants and shirts (you can find plenty of those at Sierra Trading Post or any outdoor retailer) are also a good line of defense.Aug 19, 2012 at 8:21 am #1903905
You can now get long lasting Insectshield treatments of your own clothes at about $10/item plus shipping.
When the bugs are really bad, the only thing that really works is full bug armor with no exposed skin, i.e., long pants, long sleeve shirt, hat+headnet, gloves, preferably permethrin treated. I don't like DEET because I always worry that it will affect my asthma, so I use permethrin treated full armor.
http://www.bugshirt.com/ These are excellent but heavy. I don't have one but I'm always tempted by them. These are often used in the far north during mosquito season.
Headnet: Peter Vacco's headnets are the best and the only ones I can tolerate. Second best would be the headnets that have a spring circle to hold it off your face. The Coghlan's would be OK, especially with the right hat.
Most testing is done on mosquitoes and not on black flies. Flies seem not to be as repelled by DEET as mosquitoes.
Permethrin works well, but is not a repellent. Bugs landing on it or crawling across will die or fall off, but bugs an inch away will be unaffected.Aug 19, 2012 at 9:03 am #1903912
Daryl and DarylParticipant
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I don't use bug spray.
I completely cover up head to toe with nylon wind pants, wind breaker, hat and head net. I also wear light gaiters and the sleeves of my windbreaker are long enough to cover my hands.
All my clothing is oversized and the looseness helps with the heat.Aug 19, 2012 at 9:41 am #1903923
@bookLocale: Northern California
Nylon pants, long sleeved sun-shirt(tight weave), sun-grubbies on my hands with a spritz of deet if necessary–which is almost never. In prime insect months I wear a solumbra sun hat that has a drape. One can close the drape all the way up over your nose with velcro attachments when you get into bad mosquito territory; then "un-zip" it when you're in the clear. With this set up I don't even need permethrin anymore; certainly not deet. Oh and I carry a bug net for in camp.Aug 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm #1903977
@anacriLocale: South Florida
I live in South Florida and frequently go out to the Everglades, aka Mosquito Heaven.
I use the same head net you're looking at over a wide brim hat, a dry fit shirt (tucked into my pants), a linen oversized collared long sleeve shirt (left tucked out), long pants with elastic cuffs, thick wool socks and chacos.
My linen shirt is large enough to cover my hands, but I use 100% deet on my hands/wrist if the bugs are bothering me too much. As long as the head net goes over the collar of my shirt, I have no trouble with bugs. I got used to the net very quickly. I forget it's there and sometimes try to drink water with it over my face.
I've tried a few other bug sprays, but nothing but 100% deet seems to work on the South Florida mosquitoes. On the bright side, I'm covered up enough to where I only need a little on my hands. My husband uses the same set up. Works well here!Aug 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm #1903979
Use garlic rendered/cooked in olive oil. Searcg google for a source of ingredient quantities/recipe. I has worked for me.Aug 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm #1903982
@killerbLocale: Pacific Northwest
If you've got enough bugs to require a head net, go with PetersHeadnets. He has pretty much perfected the design: light, easy to see through, useful crown, no gaps or uncovered areas.
I also concur with several of the previous recommendations: light colored clothing, permethrin treated. Eucalyptus oil (for me) has proven reasonably good as a repellent; it doesn't last nearly as long as DEET, but is nearly as effective.
The Bugshirt (and pants) work. But they are HOT. Anything but breathable. For a car camp or basecamp situation in really horrid bug conditions these could be the ticket, but otherwise they are sweaty overkill.Aug 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm #1903985
Skip the garlic, go with using the cloth.Aug 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm #1903991
Cristina – Just curious, have you tried lemon eucalyptus, BiteBlocker, or BioUD? I'd love to know your experience with those, since the first two have seemed to work well for me everywhere (including the Everglades last year, come to think of it, but I will say it wasn't high season…November, not June!). I've always assumed that people who say nothing but DEET works haven't tried those ones, but I might be very wrong.
Things like Avon Skin So Soft, or Citronella, or other health food repellents have been ineffective, that's for sure. Since I am rarely in really horrendous mosquito conditions, I prefer to use non-DEET repellents, but I might change my tune if I lived in FL (or go with picaridin). The aforementioned alternatives seem quite sufficient for me so far.
So you wear linen over another shirt? I would've guessed that linen wouldn't keep them from biting through (since cotton doesn't) – but is the dry fit shirt long sleeved? Maybe it's the two layers they can't bite through? The woven nylon is warmer than I'd like in FL, so perhaps I'll try your approach next time I'm down that way.Aug 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm #1904011
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I live in Alaska and we've got areas where the mosquitoes are just awful. Even so, I detest DEET and will wear it only in the direst of circumstances. In the past several years, in even the worst mosquito conditions, I've found wearing long sleeves, long pants, long socks, gloves and mosquito head net provides 100% mosquito proof coverage without having to use any poison. This year I began trying out permethrin and have treated one coat so far. It does seem to help a little. But mostly I just use clothes.Aug 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm #1904025
1)I've been using Picardin 20% for 6 years and I have had pretty good success with it (comparable to deet). However, I find that it has to be re-applied more than Deet. I don't use deet b/c of my fear of its toxicity, but mainly b/c of what it does to gear. It degrades common hiking fabrics (nylon etc.) and weakens monofilament fishing lines.
2) This year I tried treating all my hiking clothing with permethrin spray for my month long trip in Colorado. This was the most effective system that I've ever used. Additionally, I was always covered head to toe with clothes (sun gloves, light long sleeve shirt, and pants). I got one bite the whole trip. One day, I watched a hiking partner get eaten up even though he used DEET. I only used picardin as a precaution when they were really thick. I treated everything including socks, boots, hat, and backpack. I'm so sold on it that next time I am also going to try treating my tent, so there is less fear of opening and closing the tent.Aug 20, 2012 at 12:02 am #1904087
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Does permethrin play nice with DWR?Aug 20, 2012 at 12:34 am #1904091
drowning in spamMember
It's hard to tell how well permithrin works, but permithrin over DWR seems to reduce water shedding.Aug 20, 2012 at 2:50 am #1904098
@sschloss1Locale: New England
I work in the field during the summer, so I'm exposed to loads of mosquitoes every day. We also have lots of ticks in my area, so I treat my clothes (long-sleeve nylon shirt and pants) with permethrin. The permethrin works wonderfully on ticks but does almost nothing for mosquitoes. Even if you're clothes are treated, they will still find your head and hands. The only way to keep them off your exposed skin is gloves/head netting or DEET.
So, I'd say that unless ticks are a big worry, don't bother with the permethrin. It's nasty stuff, anyway, and you'd be wise to minimize your exposure to it.Aug 20, 2012 at 7:22 am #1904121
@anacriLocale: South Florida
You're right in that deet users don't want to try other things. I had no choice as last summer I was working with a pilot whale 4 days a week for 3 months and deet was not allowed around her. The staging area was the shore of a mangrove. We tried everything out there… even several home remedies some other people brought in. There were a few things that helped a little… eucalyptus oil based spray did marginally better than nothing. Because we weren't moving around, what ended up working best was pointing industrial fans in our direction. Too much wind for bugs to fly!
As for the linen shirts, yes they work well for us. Granted they are thick linen. My dry fit shirt is short sleeves, my husband sometimes uses a long sleeve. I can't handle the heat with two long sleeved shirts, and one works fine. I think they key is they have to be very large. I usually wear XS-S, my hiking shirt is L.Aug 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm #1904282
In response to your question about resistance of various fabrics, I've found almost all of the nylon and poly/nylon hiking shirts made by REI (Sahara, mostly) and Ex Officio (Dryflylite, Airstrip, Nomad, Amphi, et al) to be essentially fully mosquito resistant on the east coast, in rockies, and in california. I have one pair of Ex Officio pants that don't do as well. Not sure why, but they do seem lighter weight than my others. If they're pulled tight against my knees and thighs, a small fraction of mosquitoes are able to get through. (I would guess they were getting through at success rate of < 1% per minute of active probing.) Unfortunately, there were about 200 on each leg when I discovered this. :(
In conditions conducive to long sleeves, long pants, and a flats type hat, I only need about four drops of DEET/day for backs of hands, cheeks and neck. You may choose a different skin repellant, or to use a headnet when not eating, but whatever you use, you'll need a lot less of it (and of sunscreen) if you can use a physical barrier as the major approach.
Bill S.Aug 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm #1904296
Kathy A HandysideParticipant
@earlymusicusLocale: Southeastern Michigan
A couple of years ago, Backpacker magazine did an excellent article in which they did a Consumer Reports-style testing of insect repellents. One of the repellents they found to be very effective (I think it scored second to DEET) was Repel's Lemon-Eucalyptus spray. There's a hiking trail in Pinckney Recreation Area called Losee Lake Trail and it spends much of the time around marshy areas – a good place to test the stuff! I bought some Repel, wore shorts and a short-sleeve t-shirt and sprayed myself with the stuff. The mosquitoes hovered around but never lit on me and I came home with no bites at all. I've been using it since. Repel also has a DEET formula, too, but I really like their Lemon-Eucalyptus stuff. It works for me.Aug 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm #1904421
I never use bug dope. I just hike. Around WA and CA if you can keep a 2 mile an hour pace the bugs won't be able to keep up. When I stop I put on my wind jacket, cover my legs, and put on the head net. Some days I have to eat in my tent if I pick a bad camping spot. I avoid using a tarp in the height of bug season. Or at least use a bug bivy with the tarp.Aug 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm #1904661
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
“I am thinking of getting this head net http://www.coghlans.com/products/mosquito-head-net-8941 Does anyone have it? Do you liked it? Any problems with it? Are you using any other head nets?”
It worked great for me over my stiff-brimmed hat. I was not hot in it. I spent 5 days backpacking in the Wind River Range (WY) the 2nd week in July. The mosquitoes were bad. So I used that net every day. However, by the end of the week, the elastic ‘collar’ gave up the ghost. It was well worth the $3 for me though.
All my clothes were permethrin treated. Yes the mosquitoes land on it; but not for long. I never got a bite through my clothes. And actually, the mosquitoes never went-for/landed-on my sandal-laden feet. I’m not sure why.
I do have a sun-block with 20% deet that I used on my hands. And that kept bites from there.
Good luck in your bug prevention program.
-BarrySep 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm #1909198
@alinaLocale: Toronto, Ontario
Thank you everyone for your responses. I have learned a lot. Sorry about the late response.
@ Ken and others who recommended http://www.petersheadnets.com It looks like Peter has great quality nets. I have exchanged some emails with him and I have ordered 2 nets. He is extremely friendly and helpful guy. He answered all my questions.
@ Dan I have googled “garlic rendered/cooked in olive oil” but I have not come up with anything interesting. Any links?
I have also looked at http://www.mosquitobarrier.com and it says there that Mosquito Barrier does not work when sprayed on people to keep insects away. Mosquito Barrier only removes feeding areas. They offer an alternative though: “Excellent results can be obtained (up to 5 or 6 hours of protection) by using some common household items in a simple mixture you can make yourself! Simply mix 1 teaspoon of soybean oil (available from your grocery store) and one quarter of a teaspoon of Palmolive liquid soap into one cup of water. Mix well and spray onto your arms and legs and wipe on your face and neck.” Hmm… I wonder how that would work. For sure it would be messy (oil and soap?).
I have purchased recently Ex Officio (Dryflylite) long sleeve shirt but I have not tried it yet. I think that maybe I should have bought a bigger size. I bought M and normally I am M. Peter Vacco (the head net guy) recommends a T-Shirt or Merino Wool (which works better) shirt under a nylon/poly-cotton shirt.
Do you guys find a difference in effectiveness between nylon and poly-cotton fabric?
So it looks like that the best defence is: long sleeve shirt, layered with another t shirt, long pants and head net. Additionally there are 3 natural options to try with Repel's Lemon-Eucalyptus spray sounding the most promising.
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