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Natural Ways to Protect Yourself Against Tick and Mosquito Borne Illnesses

Sprays and chemicals, even sprays as good as my Bug Me Not Spray and candles need to be augmented with sensible additional protections when in areas where diseases spread by insects is a problem. 

A great post by Karen Somers “Repel Mosquitoes With Clothes Rather Than Chemicals”  describes how she uses clothes to protect herself from bugs.

Carefully Choose Clothes BugsawayEx-Officio

    • White or Light colored; Flies and mosquitos are attracted to dark colors. Yes, lights will get dirty but better grubby than buggy
    • Made of Synthetic Material; Special material made for the outdoors can be light weight and difficult for bugs to penetrate. There are other benefits to choosing synthetic in outdoor situations too, including UV protection and the way these materials handle water. If you simply can’t bring yourself to wear synthetic or nylon or these choices aren’t right for the situation (High Tea in the Tropics) you can try linen – the tighter the weave the better (hold up to light ask yourself how easily will a  mosquito be able to stick it’s stinger through it.)
    • Extra large and baggy; Make sure all the clothes you wear fit loosely. A mosquito has an easier time getting through material that is tightly stretched against skin.

Wear a Wide Brimmed Hatpetervaccomacken

 Mostly to hold the net as described below but also to provide protection from bugs and sun..

Use a Head Net

This is a net that fits over the hat and can by easily lifted up or down. I would say people who use them get very passionate about how great they are and how much they help. REI has one selling for $9.95. I’ve read that this guy Peter (on right) is making the best ones:

Wear Gaiterswhite gaiters

These are similar to leg warmers or spats. They go between the show and the pant, protecting your ankles and keeping bugs from getting in under your pants or into your shoes.  White or light colored gaiters aren’t as common but I found some at Racing the Planet-although they are a bit : pricey.  I would probably try making my own if I had the time and materials.

Choose Closed (non-meshed) Boots or Shoes

Wear Gloves

Choose gloves that are that are light-weight, light colored and loose fitting. Some people buy their shirts with sleeves long enough to cover their hands. I would consider using something around my wrists over my gloves and shirt to close off any path for bugs to get up my arms or into my hands. Maybe try hair bungees or sweat bands. I have some nifty reflective Velcro gizmos for bike riding that is meant to protect pants from getting caught in bike chain that I would try around my wrists.

Karen mentions she chose a RailRiders brand large long-sleeved shirt made from synthetic material that was tough, lightweight and provided UV protection ( and lose full length nylon pants

As a last resort, might want to consider washable clothing infused with the permethrin – a chemical bug repellent that stays IN THE CLOTHES even after washing.

Use Screens and Mosquito Nets

For Tents, while sleeping and even hanging out if possible.

Avoid Being Near Water at Dusk

This is the time mosquitos come out in flocks. This is true, I didn’t actually  KNOW this until I was enjoying a nice picnic on a Lake Winnipeg beach and saw a black mass coming towards us from over the water, sort of like a Steven King novel. As the cloud reaches the shore it turns out to be made of  thousands (millions?) of very hungry relentless mosquitoes all wanting a taste of us! yikes!

Avoid untended grass, bush and forests.

Ticks hang out on the end of branches, leaves and grasses waiting for an animal (or human) to brush past them, at which point they hop on for a ride and a long term home.

You May Also Try Eating

  • Onions and Garlic as well as leeks, chives and other great tasting things that contain Allicin, toxic to bugs but not us!.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – some people suggest that drinking this helps make you smell less attractive to bugs.
  • Foods high in B-1 Vitamins or Supplements like Sunflower Seeds, Beans, Fish like Trout and Tuna, Nuts, Edamame and other Soy products, Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemongrass
  • Grapefruit – contains Nootkaton, supposedly repels mosquitos
  • Chile Peppers –  contains Capsaicin which bugs don’t like
  • Yeast extract like Marmite or Vegemite.
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