Mosquitoes and other bugs

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thorsten
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Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:19 pm

Camping in Norway involves often obnoxious amounts of biting black flies (Simulium yahense) during the summer and autumn as well as mosquitoes, depending on where you are. On occasion you have to even abandon places because they come in amounts which form a layer on you and your gear (as descirbed here: [1]).

While I read often about different products I would really like to know your personal experiences and possible countermeasures with this kind of bugs. I am not a big friend of "chemical warfare" and do not enjoy using chemical products on my skin to a greater extend. It is ok for 1-2 evenings, but if you are on a trip for a week and your skin becomes "funny" it makes you think a bit. And often these products are just plain useless or do not hold what they promise.

What worked best for me so far is long clothing, standard pharmacy insect repellent on the hands and a headnet. But that is not really something you want to run around in a whole evening.

What are you using as countermeasures and itch-relieve?

[1]: http://www.thorstenschilling.org/2010/0 ... es%C3%B8y/

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Raider » Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:09 am

Take Vitamin B before going into the infested area. Make sure it has B1 in the mix and take for at least a week but preferably longer beforehand to give it a chance to get right into your system.

It won't stop you being bitten but it will reduce it and minimise any reaction to the bites. Your metabolism has a lot to do with it. I don't suffer any effects but my partner used to react severely but now hardly has any reaction at all.

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thorsten
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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:34 am

Hm, snopes [1] and wikipedia [2] seem not to be very fond of the vitamin B theory. Results seem to be inconclusive regarding vitamin B(1). Plus, I am not sure that large doses of one vitamin (from which I usually do not suffer any deficiency) does not more harm than good.

[1]: http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/skeeters.asp
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_repellent

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby adventuretess » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:01 am

Thorsten
I gave up on products containing DEET after the glands in my body swelled during an extended trip in Far North Qld (home of many biting things carrying nasty viruses). I was wearing long pants and shirts which offered some protection but I figured if my glands were swelling from such a small amount of the product supposedly protecting me, it was not something I wished to continue using. It also destroyed my gear so I looked for more natural protection.
I tried natural based commercial products and Vitamin B with limited success, although it works for others as Raider suggests. Then one of my paddle buddies introduced me to his homemade repellent and while I was initially sceptical - it worked!! On some trips you must re-apply it a couple of times but I have found this to be the best & least damaging (to me & my gear) product for me. I also take anti-histamine in my first aid kit just in case I am bitten and react badly - not usually the case, but I prefer to be prepared. Some people start taking anti-histamine before & during trips to decrease any allergic reactions to bites. When nothing works and the insects are relentless, you might just have to be in your tent for the evening, which would be disappointing in your beautiful environment. Good luck with your search.
Tess

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Seabear 1 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:43 pm

Thorsten

Whenever I visit a region where I know I will get eaten alive, I take the bug shelter. I own an Integral designs 3m x3m pyramid that does the job well. Here's the link http://www.basegear.com/integral-designs-bugamid-bug-shelter.html . The funny thing is whenever I've packed it, I've rarely had to use it. Here in Queensland, Australia the mosquitoes and sandflies can be horrendous and the pyramid is a far roomier option than cooking and hanging out in your tent. The visibility is also very good and doesn't ruin the view. I realize this solution doesn't protect you from the moment you step out of your boat, but once setup offers a chemical free solution.

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thorsten
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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:54 pm

I consider the bug shelter, or making something like this myself. Might be the easiest solution. I really wonder what these masses of insects live of here, since we don't have any big mammals at our latitude, except humans and the occasional sheep. And in areas with a high concentration of insects you do not find humans usually (except they decide to camp there).

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Steve767837 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:16 pm

A lot of insects can live on plants in the absence of blood. In fact it's only the female mosquito that bites us, the males are strictly herbivores and the females just need us to feed their young.

As far as keeping them away, I've seen a mixture of baby oil and Dettol used to keep sandflies away. The guy using it swore by it, I didn't hang around long enough to find out if it worked or not.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:05 pm

Worth experimenting with. Some kind of fluid that you could cook up on a camping stove for steam which repels biting insects would be nice (something along the insect repelling candles, if they work then).

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby fer » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:46 pm

fires with lots of smoke keeps the mosquitos at bay, and I remember somone once told me of a specific herb the gives a bit of smoke and reppels them but I don't remember the herb.
I was told also that the ultrasound repelents are good but never tried them so I can't say and to confess the truth I am a bit skeptical about them.
Another option is to wear what the honey collectors use :-)

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thorsten
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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:54 pm

Often sitting like this [1] is necessary here. Looks almost like bee keepers outfit :) Not very comfortable, the herb thing would be nice :)

[1]: http://www.thorstenschilling.org/wp-con ... G_2292.jpg

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby haresfur » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:20 pm

Not bathing helps. :twisted: Especially if you smoke yourself by the fire.

I used to work with a fellow who thought repellant was for babies. It's really hard to hold a conversation with someone who's bald scalp is covered with mozzies turning into little red balloons. I also used to work with a helicopter pilot who wouldn't let you back into the machine until you stood under the rotor to have all the mosquitoes blown off.

I use DEET if they are really bad. I knew people who used to use mesh jackets that were soaked in repellant so you didn't have to put it directly on you skin. The trouble with blackflies is that it keeps them from biting but doesn't seem to keep them from landing so you think they are chowing down. I think that mosquito bites go away faster once you are acclimated. But probably the best you can do is to try to keep them from driving you crazy.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Raider » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:47 pm

All I can tell you thorsten is that vitamin B works for my partner who used to suffer badly. Swelling and sores / ulcers for weeks after being bitten. She has been taking vitamin B daily for a few years now and no longer suffers any reaction to the bites. There are no side effects. She still has only one head and the standard issue of apendages and organs all in perfect working order. :lol:

I am luckier. I have been exposed to sandflies and midges every weekend since early childhood and seem to have developed the antibodies from that early age. I get a bite and it is gone in 10 minutes. :)

Sounds to me that your research is incomplete. ;)

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Seabear 1 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:01 pm

Smoke is extremely effective but in most National Parks where I paddle, fires are not allowed or you must bring your own milled wood so not an option. Our European brothers may not have this issue.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:19 am

Raider wrote:All I can tell you thorsten is that vitamin B works for my partner who used to suffer badly. [...]

No hard feelings, but as a scientist myself I must say that this is anecdotal evidence :) You cannot exclude that this effect is attributed to any other factor or just pure coincidence. Which is of course good for the person, I mean whatever helped her :) Maybe she got immune right when the vitamin B treatment started?

To cite from the abstract published paper found here [1]: [...] We extended this work with the use of larger samples of human subjects and with Anopheles stephensi as the test organism. We tested whether ingestion of vitamin B supplements under various regimens affected the attractiveness of volatile skin components transferred to glass vials. Although there was substantial and consistent individual variation in attractiveness, we found no effect of vitamin B supplementation.

I am no physician thus I won't make my own study, but I trust the scientific community, and vitamin B does at least in this study show no effects. :)

[1]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16033124

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Steve767837 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:45 am

But in that study, they didn't test the mossies on people. They had the subjects (people) take various vitamin B supplements, or vitamin C as a placebo, then got them to roll a clean glass vial between their hands for two minutes. The vial was then put in a container with the mossies. That just show's that the subjects aren't exuding something from their skin that stops mossies landing on them.

As they say in the discussion, "lack of contact between the mosquito and human skin in our assays might cause us to miss a contact repellent or attraction inhibitor that is not transferred to the glass vials. Further work will be needed to eliminate this possibility."

They also say it's surprising there haven't been more studies done. I agree.

One more subject to go, then I'll be a scientist too :ugeek:

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby thorsten » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:24 pm

To be honest, I am happy that I am not in medicine and can deal with hard facts :). Nevertheless, just to quote some random person on the internet:
Don't get me wrong. B-1 is an important vitamin and is good for your heart and nervous system. But the US RDA for B-1 is 1.5mg. To take 100 times that amount daily because of an urban legend is really unwise.

Even if the worst outcome is that it is just a waste of money.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Pete L » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:48 am

Up on Fraser Island a few years ago I was was given the the tip on Avon's BugGuard. Its got citronella in it and its kind to the skin. It seemed to work well on sandflies and mozzies (if you wear long sleeves, trousers). I had some DEET as a back up but didn't have to use it.

I still use it although I've never had to buy it. Seems all the women I know still have an Avon Lady and get me some whenever they order!

Pete.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby Raider » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:59 pm

Yeah Pete, Fraser is an excellent proving ground for effects of the bites of mozzies, sandflies, midges and march flies (did I miss any?) :) I agree that the citronella based alternative is the preferred option if you must put something on your skin. However, we use sandalwood sticks strategically placed to catch any breeze and they do a good job as long as you stay within their influence.

I just checked the label and the one we take has 75mg of B1 and lesser amounts of the rest of the B group. I don't know how much of it is absorbed but obviously it is enough to prevent the severe reaction.

Raider

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby shalaB » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:55 pm

As we know, mosquito is a common insect in the family Culicidae (from the Latin culex meaning midge or gnat). Mosquitoes resemble crane flies (family Tipulidae) and chironomid flies (family Chironomidae), with which they are sometimes confused by the casual observer. Mosquitoes are a vector agent that carries disease-causing viruses and parasites from person to person without exhibiting symptoms themselves. The metropolitan blight known as the Asian Tiger mosquito has invaded U.S. cities. The Wall Street Journal states that species Aedes albopictus, which is known for its black-and-white striped body, is as new to the U.S. as is it is “vicious” and difficult to kill. Unlike most mosquitoes, the Asian Tiger bites during the daytime. Like most mosquitoes, it can spread illnesses like dengue fever. Urban bloodletting: Beware the Asian Tiger mosquito. The principal mosquito borne diseases are the viral diseases yellow fever, dengue fever and Chikungunya, transmitted mostly by the Aedes aegypti, and malaria carried by the genus Anopheles. Though originally a public health concern, HIV is now thought to be almost impossible for mosquitoes to transmit.

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Re: Mosquitoes and other bugs

Postby jeromecorey » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:47 pm

I'll be honest—I've never been a huge fan of camping. It's not that I have anything against nature, I'm just partial to showering and sleeping in my own bed. In fact, the only part of camping I've ever really enjoyed is sitting around a campfire. Outdoor fires are perfect for socializing and cooking hot dogs, but they're also great at helping remove one of camping's biggest annoyances. Smoke is a natural insect repellent, but there are also a few things you can add to your blazing fire to make it even more effective.

Sage isn't just good for cooking; burning a bundle of it can help keep insects away, and it has a pleasant smell, too. If you're camping, chances are you'll be able to find some variety of sage around; there are over 15 different varieties native to California alone.

Another herb called lemon balm can be rubbed onto skin or thrown into a fire to repel bugs, especially mosquitoes. Lemon balm can often be found in the wild, but if you don't want to search for it, potted plants are commonly sold, and you can sometimes even find fresh or dried leaves at health and natural food stores.

Most of us have burned citronella candles before, but a lot of people don't realize the summer staple takes its name from a plant. You can burn citronella leaves in an outdoor fire for a similar effect, as well as bark from a cedar tree.

One thing you might not wanna burn? Toilet paper. Last year, a Texas man accidentally started a fire that burned 53,000 acres because he didn't want to leave any litter behind. His intentions were noble, but probably not worth the $2.7 million fine. :mrgreen:


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