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Old 06-17-2011, 09:26 AM
74 posts, read 288,781 times
Reputation: 75


This is a thread for all things related to controlling those pesky little critters that seem to control our lives at times. Share your insect problem and solutions here!


I've tried to avoid using DEET unless necessary. We've used a spray with picaridin as the active ingredient for events that don't involve the possibility of ticks. It's supposed to be less toxic than DEET. I've read that you can use this all over then just spray the kind with DEET on clothes to help if you'll be likely to encounter ticks. We've used the Cutter Advanced with picaridin. They have a sports version now, which notes that it won't damage sporting equipment, but I'm not sure if it's really any different. Even Skin So Soft (Avon) has gotten on the picaridin bandwagon. Like other brands, they have the aerosol, pump, and wipe versions.

For those who don't know about Skin So Soft (original), it's an oil by Avon that's been used for years around here to repell insects. I'm not sure how it works, but I've always thought it worked simply by drowning the insects in the oil when they alight on the skin.

The information we received for camp for our son noted that "insect repellant has proven most effective when applied to underwear and socks prior to dressing." Has anyone heard of that method? I'm assuming that's in addition to applying it on the skin?

Also, I found a video about picaridin which also explains why it's better not to use an aerosol. This guy notes that the aerosols have alcohol in them, which causes them to be absorbed more quickly because it dilutes the pores of the skin. You don't want it to be absorbed, but to float on top of the skin. He recommends that if you use a sunscreen and insect repellent that you put the sunscreen on first then apply the insect repellent. There are links to other videos about this issue on that page.

Personally, I can't use a topical repellent with any of the oils like eucalyptus or citronella because I'm allergic. I'm not sure about any other oils or natural methods that work or if any are less likely to be allergenic.


I've have read that having thiamine (vitamin B1) can help repell mosquitos (not sure about other insects.) Apparently, it has sulfur in it. I'm not exactly sure how this works, but it may be worth a try:

In researching alternatives, B-1 Thiamine kept popping up as a deterrent to mosquitoes. Research found that excess B-1 Thiamine, as well as all water-soluble vitamins, are excreted and flushed from he body by urination or perspiration. It was the excretion of B-1 Thiamine through perspiration that the mosquitoes seemed to find offensive. QSM surmised that since B-1 Thiamine taken orally helped repel mosquitoes, then delivery of B-1 Thiamine administered via a transdermal patch would place more B-1 Thiamine in the blood stream and thereby be excreted throughout the pores of the body. articles

The About.com article (above) about oils and natural methods garlic as an oral method, too.

Mosquito and No-see-um/Sandfly Netting:

We have an area of town (near Isle of Hope) named Sandfly, and our baseball team is named the Sand Gnats. That says a lot! The pesky sand gnat is single-handedly responsible for the fact that I never learned how to play tennis. Apparently, the holes in the netting for mosquitos isn't enough to keep out the no-see-ums. Does anyone have any advice about where to get patio netting that is sufficient to keep out the no-see-ums? We'll have a nice balcony patio when we move, and I'd like to be able to keep them out so we can actually use it when the weather is nice. We can't add screening because it's a rental, and I don't want to pay a lot because we won't be there more than a year or so.

Spanish Moss and the Red Bugs:

Spanish Moss is beautiful hanging from the trees, so leave it there. Don't touch it unless you want to be bitten by red bugs (chiggers). I always thought that the method was to cover them in nail polish to suffocate them, but was wrong:

Many home remedies for chigger bites are based upon the incorrect belief that chiggers burrow into and remain in the skin. Nail polish, alcohol, and bleach have been applied to the bites to attempt to "suffocate" or kill the chiggers. But because the chiggers are not present in the skin, these methods are not effective.

Treatment for chigger bites is directed toward relieving the itching and inflammation. Calamine lotion and corticosteroid creams may be used to control itching. Oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), may also be used for symptom relief.
Here's a link to a Wikipedia article on insects repellents that might give you some ideas or remind you of some methods. How about some ideas about how to prevent and treat ticks?
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:49 AM
Location: The South
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When you shop for screen look for the finest mesh available. It will cost more than coarse mesh.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:23 AM
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The easiest way is to stay indoors and ignore them when you are outside. They are a fact of life like the sun rises in the east. I don't like the idea of things like DEET and sprays being put on the skin, especially on children.

The golfers swear by pinning a sheet of dryer fabric sheets to their hats, shirts, etc. Some will rub the sheets on their arms and face.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:20 AM
74 posts, read 288,781 times
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So far what I've found is that the finer mesh is more costly. I wonder if I can make something to put up rather than buying it already made.

I don't want to and can't stay inside at those times of the year because I have a small child. And I can not ignore them. That other relative and I will end up covered in welts while others around us are hardly bitten. It's something about our body chemistry because I use all unscented products and rarely ever use perfume anymore.

And you're right about the sprays. Not just the alcohol like the guy in the video mentions, but you also inhale it that way, too.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:27 AM
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Also check your shampoos, hairsprays and lotions for fruit extracts in the ingredient list because those attract bugs. I have different perfumes (bath and body works) for the winter vs. summer. In the summer i use the vanilla bean noel (from christmas) and in the winter is when i use the fruity scents like blackberry vanilla and cotton blossom.

Also, I think that the avon skin so soft does just drown the bugs because i can cover myself with it and then after a few hours I'm spotted with dead black bugs that i have to wash off when I come inside. "You can see the results"!! Fun!
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:38 PM
74 posts, read 288,781 times
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My products area all pretty much unscented. But then even so-called unscented products can legally have fragrance in it to "mask" the scent of other chemicals. You have to get specialty products to get really unscented products. Still, I know I'm always less scented than everyone around me. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe they're attracted to my natural scent, which they can't smell on people doused in perfumes. Never thought of it that way before.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:31 PM
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Your funk is yummy to bugs! Hahahahaha!
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:55 PM
74 posts, read 288,781 times
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I think it is! But it's really because I'm just so sweet.

Maybe I need to load up on the thiamine and the garlic as suggested.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:41 AM
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If you have kids, it a good idea to use Skin so soft, but do not use the one with the SPF in it. Sun block needs to be applied more than once during most outing, and the extra bug deterrent is unnecessary. Just get separate bottle of sunblock and spend 5 more minutes greasing the kids down
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Old 06-20-2011, 06:09 AM
74 posts, read 288,781 times
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Originally Posted by mccarley View Post
When you shop for screen look for the finest mesh available. It will cost more than coarse mesh.
Are there specific stores, like outdoor gear stores, where I should look, or just fabric stores? I might look online, too.

I don't need it until fall. And I'm starting to think that if the ones custom made are so expensive (for a one or two year use) then if the mesh on those tents can come off and be hung, too, then I'll buy a tent and have both uses.

Still thinking on this one until fall. Suggestions welcome.

Also, I'd like to get the black netting. It looks better and is easier to see through.
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