Any bug repellent that really works, especially for the gnats at night?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Daughter does sports in summer so I'm out there with hub swatting bugs in the evening with all the other parents and we're talking about which bug repellent really works...if any do. Any suggestions for a strong one? I feel like dinner sitting out there!!!
  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Deep woods off is my go to, nod I wear long sleeves, socks, pants etc.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Avon Skin-so-soft lotion/oil.

    Not officially a bug repellant, but it seems to work as well as anything else we've tried, and you can even use it on your face.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I found some organic stuff that is deet-free so I can use it on Inky. I'll look it up when I get home. A few years back I had some that was lemon oil & eucalyptus oil and it was AWESOME.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I do have info. Had a fairly detailed post but J came in demanding something she was told to wait on, and somehow I ended up on a totally different page. I know it saves works in progress but I have zero idea how to find it and if i tried right now I am too annoyed and would end up throwing the computer through a window. I HATE having that happen and I HATE knowing the computer has savedsomething but it cannot be found. Attempting to find it piles too much annoyance and my reaction is not a good thing. I will type a bit of what I had.

    First, if ANY bites are irregular, or larger than a dime, get medical attention. Irregular means asymmetrical. These are signs of serious allergic reaction and are not something to joke with. If this is new to you, do NOT take benadryl and go home or go somethere alone. You can be in huge trouble when the benadryl wears off. Always have benadryl wtih you in the summer for this reason. We get a lot of this here from people who are visiting or who are in their first summer. For some reason they react badly to our mosquitos. I have had four people I know end up in the ER with anaphylaxis and one almost died. She refused to listen when I told her it was serious that she had over a dozen bites that were very large (1-2 INCHES diameter, very unusual), irregular an bright red. Any one of those symptoms (many, large, bright red, asymmetrical) was a bad sign, and all of them was life threatening. She took benadryl and ignored them. Until it started to wear off and her throat closed and we had to call 911.

    I found an article reviewing types of repellants and insecticides for mosquitoes and it was very interesting. Natural products don't last as long and need to be reapplied every 30-60 min while commercial products work for 2 hrs at peak. Commercial products have dowfalls in that they are often very harsh and hard on our bodies, esp in the long run.

    We have all heard how effective DEET is. Interestingly, the active ingredient in catnip essential oil is TEN TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE at repelling mosquitos. Catnip is a mint, very safe for humans, makes cats go nuts for you, and is sold at most health food stores and online. It is on my shopping list now! Dried catnip also makes a tea that is amazing for upset tummies and colic.

    I have posted about NEEM oil before. It is all natural, highly effective, not expensive, beneficial to our bodies and great at killing and repelling mosquitoes and many other bugs (have yet to find one it is not great with, incl fleas and lice). Neem has been effective against malaria in lab studies also, at least as effective as quinine. Not that many of us have this issue, but it still is interesting.

    Neem doesn't smell the greatest,in my opinion, but in India a homemade mixture of coconut oil and 1-2% neem oil is proving very effective. At that concentration, the smell would not be bad at all. It would be 2 cups coconut oil and 1-2 tsp neem oil. (1 cup = 16 T =48 t. 100 t = a bit more than 2 cups. 1% = 1 t). You can use other oils, coconut is just easily available in India. Neem can be found online and isn't expensive. Some health food stores also carry it.

    Other essential oils can be added or used instead. Be aware that many are NOt designd to be used directly on skin, so diluting in a carrier oil (almond, grapeseed, even canola works) is a very good idea or you can have skin irritation esp after being in the heat with straight essential oils on your skin.

    Effective options include:

    cinnamon (cinnamon leaf oil kills mosquito larvae)
    lemon eucalyptus

    Vanilla is effective BUT artificial vanilla is an ATTRACTANT. Be aware of this. Extract is fine, oil is not necessary.

    Garlic is effective whether eaten or applied as juice.

    When possible, use food quality oils. Often they are cheaper. look for clove, cinnamon, etc... in the candy making area of Michaels, hobby lobby, etc.... Clove oil is also often avail in the dental area as it is very effective on toothaches (so are ground cloves or whole cloves though whole ones are sharp).

    You can use flowers or even spices if you want. Consider mixing the oils with carrier oil and beeswax to make a solid lotion bar or perfume to rub on,

    I hope this helps some. I posted natural options because I react SOOOOO badly to the commercial chemicals even the 'unscented' ones. I can remember having to flea bomb the house and needing to spend 2-3 nights at a friends while growing up. By my twenties it was 5 days min. We don't do that now. we treat the cat and use neem and citronella in a spray bottle of water. Works shockingly well.

    The initial outlay for essentail oil and neem oil may seem like a lot, but you use a very very small amount. This makes it quite cost effective, in my opinion. My kids and hopefully any grands will not EVER again use commercial lice treatments, much less the rx ones that seem to be needed more and more. Neem works better, faster and does NOT harm them. A small amt mixed iwth shampoo once every week or ten days (less than a teaspoon for long and SUPER thick hair was more than enough, just a dab in the hand, add shampoo, mix into hair that has been shampood and rinsed, let sit a few min, rinse, condition, go.) actually repels and PREVENTS lice from joining the family. thank you stayed lice free through 4 outbreaks in one year, and since we found it has had zero problems with lice. This is in spite of his thick hair and lack of great skills at scrubbing his head until a year or so ago.

    LAST bug note:

    Have you tried the Bite Stick things sold at the store? Little daubbers that look like pens that you dab onto bug bites to stop the itch? THey work really well, don't they? Guess what? They are diluted ammonia. Smell them. Read the ingredients. I keep a small spray bottle around with ammonia and we use that. I have refilled the dauber bottles when we had one, but it gotlost in the move. I won't pay $3 for a new one. I have a similar size spray bottle that had hand sanitizer that I have cleaned and relabeled and keep in my purse instead. Just do NOT NOT NOT try to reuse a bleach pen. A friend of mine was going to do this until a bunch of us reacted strongly. Bleach and ammonia should NOT mix, ever.

    This will take you to the site off the paper I got my info from:
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do gnats respond the same as misquitoes? Misquitoes haven't been as big an issue as gnats up here this year.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Usually, they do. I have a citronella plant on my deck and the only bug I've seen is a carpenter bee.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, thanks all. I'm writing that down and will get some for all of us long suffering parents who have to sit outside and get bitten. I'll just buy enough to pass around. The stuff one of the women has (not sure the brand) doesn't help and smells terrible.

    I appreciate the suggestions. Any others are welcome too!
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Thanks everyone. I was going to post today as well re: mosquitos. I hate the buggers. And I did get a bad allergic reaction to one of the bites. I had to use cortisone cream and take Benadryl tablets. It finally went away (sort of) after about two weeks! The bump was a little bigger than a half dollar.
    And big time itchy. It left a mark on my arm...a discoloration.
    Yesterday, I bought two bug zappers. One for the front yard and one for the back pool area, which is screened in. The back area seems to be doing better...but not so much the front.
    THEN I read on line that the bug zappers are not very effective.
    I bought some stuff at Whole Foods to spray on myself (repellent). It is so so.
    I need HELP!
    Heard a long time ago on Dr. Oz about NEEM oil being good for a variety of things...will likely try it.
    Would love to hear any more ideas re: mosquito protection. Thank you.
    by the way, the electric bug zappers might actually work better for gnats than mosquitos!
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I have always sworn by Muskol. It's a Canadian product, but available internationally I think?

    The first time I used it, I was 7 and on a school camping trip during the height of black fly season. I am allergic to most insect bites, and bugs just love me. On that camping trip I had no allergic reactions at all, for the first time ever. I usually use the lotion, but they also have spray and pump versions.

    It does have DEET, if that's a concern.

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Bug zappers are a mixed solution. The hum actually attracts the buggers... and then zaps them. The result is... more buggers hanging around.

    If you put the zapper at the farthest possible corners from where you enjoy being outside, they may "pull" the buggers out of "your space"...