Anyone that has ever spent time outdoors understands all too well what a menace mosquitoes can be. Aside from inflicting maddening aggravation, mosquitoes may also carry various life-threatening diseases and parasites.
Protecting yourself from mosquitoes will go a long way to preserving your mental health as well as your physical health, but in the middle of an SHTF situation over-the-counter mosquito repellent might not be available, and that means you’ll have to improvise.
Will mud work as a mosquito repellent? No, it won’t work very well, or for very long. Though mud has long been prescribed as protection against various insect ( especially mosquito) bites throughout the ages, the protection level it offers is minimal. Additionally, mud is prone to washing away, drying out, flaking off, and generally losing effectiveness in short order.
There are other complications that make mud a bad choice as a mosquito repellent. We will talk about that, as well as provide you with some options both natural and man-made for cutting down on your mosquito encounters while out in the field.
Mosquitoes Can Defeat Mud
Mosquitoes are shockingly well-adapted to their preferred method of feeding. You probably already know that mosquitoes have a long, thin and needle sharp mouthpiece that they use to pierce the skin of their victims before extracting their blood.
This body part is called the proboscis, and although it is incredibly fine and quite fragile, it is still more than capable of reaching your skin through a thin layer of mud.
Consider this: Mosquitoes can defeat fur, hair and even thin clothing so a thin layer of mud will not pose much difficulty for them. You might be thinking that the obvious countermeasure in this case is to slather on an even thicker layer of mud.
A substantial layer of mud will prevent the mosquitoes from drawing your blood through it, but it will do nothing to deter these persistent parasites.
The mosquitoes will simply search for a place on your body where the mud has worn thin or your skin is exposed entirely and try to bite you there.
Your Mud Won’t Last as Long as You’d Like
Mud is only mud when it is wet. When it dries out, it is dirt. Dry dirt will not stick to your body in any thickness that will afford you reasonable and continuous protection from mosquitoes.
Sure, slathering on the mud when it is good and wet might furnish you some short-term relief from blood sucking mosquitoes, but it isn’t going to last.
As you move and begin perspiring the mud will start to lose its grip. Where it gets thin, mosquitoes will congregate and bite. Even when you are sitting still, mud will dry out naturally on its own, and do so faster and hot or dry conditions.
When the mud dries it will begin to crack and flake, falling off and creating substantial chinks in your armor. Then, you guessed it, the mosquitoes will pounce.
Mud Is Pretty Nasty
It might seem that staying clean and keeping mud off of your body is the very least of your problems when you’re in the deep country or just in the middle of a survival situation, but I must remind you that mud is, much of the time, full of all kinds of nasty things you don’t want on your body.
Especially if you have any cuts, sores or other open wounds, this is a fast track to allowing germs into your body, potentially inciting infection.
Infections of this type are usually trivial in our society thanks to modern medicine, but you might not have any access whatsoever to modern medical care in your situation.
Ask yourself if it is really worth the risk. Hiding from the Predator is one thing, but slathering your body with mud for marginal protection against mosquito bites is another.
Beat the Mosquitoes another Way
There are several other, better ways to beat mosquitoes without using mud. Your best all-around solution is simply to use bug repellent, but as we said earlier the premise of this article is that you either don’t have it or cannot spare it. In that case you have two broad options to defeat them.
You can repel them, meaning keep them away so that they do not bite you or do not try for long, or you can stop them, usually by blocking off access to your skin or employing various methods that make it difficult for mosquitoes to detect you in the first place.
Blow them Away
Mosquitoes are incredibly tiny with an equally slight, fragile build. They are lackluster, slow flyers and vulnerable to all kinds of airborne hazards. In fact, they are such poor flyers that a stiff breeze is more than enough to remove them from your vicinity entirely.
If it is possible to generate a breeze using a fan or other means that can be enough to clear your personal airspace of mosquitoes by making it too difficult for them to fly.
One alternative is to make camp in a place that enjoys a steady, stiff breeze. You’ll notice that the mosquitoes have seemed to vanish as if by magic.
Conversely, any location that is screened from the wind, like deep woods or jungle, will have noticeably more mosquitoes pestering you.
Avoid Mosquito Territory
One little known fact is that certain species of mosquitoes can travel for surprising distances in a day’s time to find food, even though they fly very slowly. They make up for it by flying steadily and continuously.
That being said, most mosquitoes won’t travel too far from where they spawn, and mosquitoes lay their eggs in still, murky water. The farther away you camp from water, the fewer mosquitoes you are likely to face.
Consequently, the wetter an area is, the more water that is retained on the ground, and the more bodies of water nearby the more mosquitoes you will face. If you have any choice in the matter camp as far away from these places as practical.
Use Mosquito Netting
Mosquito netting is an invaluable tool for keeping these biting critters off of you using no chemicals. Mosquito netting is also convenient, reusable, and easy to deploy when you need to get some rest free from fear that you’ll be eaten alive.
Mosquito netting is nothing more than an ultra-fine, lightweight mesh that is far too small for mosquitoes to fly through.
So long as the mosquito netting is set up in such a way that there is even a single centimeter of standoff distance between it and your skin, mosquitoes will not be able to touch you or bite you.
Wear Light Clothes
Mosquitoes are surprisingly good hunters, capable of homing in on prey using a variety of finely tuned sensory apparatus.
Mosquitoes initially start zeroing in on their prey by following their exhaled carbon dioxide. They do this for animals, as well as people.
Once they get a little bit closer, they can start detecting the thermal signature of their prey, and once they are on final approach they rely on their vision.
It has been scientifically tested and confirmed that mosquitoes home in on dark contrasting colors far more readily than they do bright, light colors. If you want to avoid a few mosquito bites you should wear light-colored clothing.
Smearing mud all over your exposed skin will only furnish marginal protection against mosquito bites. Mud does nothing to repel mosquitoes, and in any place where the mud is thin or has begun to fall or wash away, mosquitoes can easily home in on it, and bite you with little fuss.
If you are sitting in one place, and are desperate to keep mosquitoes off you, you might consider covering your skin with mud, but it will have to be thick, and you need to continually reapply it if you want to keep the bloodsuckers off of you.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.