Nothing can disturb your pleasure of the great outdoors more than being pestered by myriads of mosquitos and other flying nasties. Not only is it unpleasant being bitten by these insects, the range of diseases carried by flying insects and ticks can include (depending upon the location you are travelling in) various internal organ damaging infections such as Dengue Fever, Bubonic Plague and Malaria. All of these things can result in permanent damage and even death if not treated in time, so it makes very good sense not to get bitten in the first place!
Types of Insect Repellent
There are a number of types of insect repellent, some of which are well tested and proven to work and others which are maybe a little suspect. These include:
Naturally Occurring Compounds
these include essential oils like Citronella, Myrtle Leaf oil, Catnip oil and Neem oil and are generally pressings of leaves or seeds of plants. All of these compounds and more contain active ingredients which have been shown to have a marked repellent effect on flying insects.
Man-Made Repellent Chemicals
These include DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) which is a chemical developed as a pesticide in the 1940′s and Icaridin (hydroxyethyl isobutyl piperidine carboxylate), a later development by the Bayer chemical company which is said to give all of the benefits of DEET based insect repellents without the irritation which can be a side effect of placing DEET on the skin.
Ultrasonic Insect Repellents
These are devices which generate very high frequency sound to repel insects. These sounds don’t have an effect on the Human ear as they are far outside of our vocal range.
Both natural and man-made insect repellents rely on active ingredients which repel insects, some are well tested, having been used in affected countries over many Centuries, with the man-made repellents being more effective (hence why they were developed).
There is still speculation as to whether the high frequency insect repellent devices actually work as tests carried out so far show that some have no effect at all. It’s probably best to stick with tried and tested methods if you are travelling out in areas where mosquitos or ticks are prevalent.
New Ideas – How About Sweaty Feet?
An interesting study into what attracts flying insects came up with surprising results… Mosquitos, gnats and other biting insects love sweaty, smelly feet!. It appears that the chemical found on sweaty, smelly feet is a natural draw for a whole host of biting insects, so a good excuse to go for that dip in the lake every morning when on camping trips. Interestingly, the chemical found on stinky feet is also found in certain smelly cheeses, so stay away from the Limburger and in fact any blue cheeses!
The Best Solution to Repel Biting Insects
If you’re looking for the best way not to get bitten then combine a high quality DEET based insect repellent with fine netting over head and hands. Make sure other flesh if exposed is well covered in insect repellent. This will give you the best chance of not being bitten so you can spend your time outdoors enjoying yourself!