One of the best places to spend time is in the wild outdoors. But along with all the beauty that Mother Nature provides, humans must also contend with the insects that make the wild outdoors their home. Insects that sting, bite, or otherwise make their presence known to humans can ruin an otherwise perfect day and in a survival situation, they can really make things worse.
Mosquitoes are attracted to:
- Lactic acid
- Type O Blood
- Metabolic rate (high resting metabolic rates are more attractive)
Drinking alcohol and exercising both raise metabolic rate and make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Movement and sweating will make you more attractive to mosquitoes.
But have no fear, there are a number of ways to prevent bug bites in the wild. We’ve listed them below.
- Avon’s Skin So Soft with an active ingredient called IR3535, is considered a biopesticide repellent by the EPA. It works, but in most cases will only provide protection for about twenty minutes.
- Don’t Eat Bananas female mosquitoes bite and they love sugar. It’s said that when the body processes bananas it attracts the mosquitoes.
- Eat Garlic to repel ticks and mosquitoes.
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil can help ward off ticks and mosquitoes. It’s a very effective chemical. Not safe for kids under 3 years of age. Can cause skin irritation and problems with vision so keep away from eyes.
- Seek Shelter or Keep an Insect Net in your bug out bag to keep mosquitoes from being able to get to you. Exercise indoors and shower before going outside.
- Deet Repellents of at least 15% DEET will provide protection from insects for about 90 minutes.
- Avoid Scented Hygiene Products as some people believe that smelling like flowers will attract bugs that are attracted to flowers.
- Catnip Oil was proven to work 10 times better than DEET as an insect repellent according to a study done in 2001.
- Citronella Candles work only for short periods of time. It’s the smoke from the candle that keeps mosquitos away.
- Get Your Vitamin B to alter your scent and keep mosquitos away. The Mayo Clinic suggests that 75|-150 mg of Thiamin (Vitamin B-1) could be enough to get mosquitoes to leave you alone.
- Find the Breeze (Use a Fan) and point it in your direction. Mosquitoes cannot fly in breezes over 1mph. In the wild of course you’ll need a solar powered fan.
- Protective Clothing can keep mosquitoes off of you or at least prevent them from biting if they land on you. Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to cover exposed skin. Light colored clothing will blend into the surroundings and make you less noticeable to mosquitoes. Clothing should be tight not loose and should be smooth, breathable fabrics that are tightly woven. You can also buy clothing treated with permethrin which is a proven insect repellent. Look for brands such as Nobitech and Insect Shield. Or buy permethrin spray and treat your own clothing.
- Use Soybean Oil Repellents which work a little better than products containing 7% DEET but not as well as products with 15% DEET. The difference is that soybean oil repellent is all natural and much safer.
- Avoid Mosquito Havens when you are camping or in the wild. Things such as areas with standing water where female mosquitoes (the ones that bite) lay their eggs. Around your home, empty standing kiddie pools, tires, buckets, or anything else that has filled with water. Avoid bushes, long grasses or tall weeds.
- Times of Day can also affect mosquito behavior. They generally feed as the sun is rising and just before it sets in the evening. This is because humidity goes up and the breeze dies down, perfect flying weather for mosquitoes.
- Mosquito repellent plants are one of the ways to prevent bug bites. Basil is said to be toxic to mosquito larvae. Rosemary can be burned, and the smoke will help repel mosquitoes. Lavender repels flies, moths, and mosquitoes. Peppermint kills some bug larvae and repels adult mosquitoes. Marigolds work to keep mosquitoes and aphids away. Marigold roots are believed to repel a type of roundworms called Nematodes.
- Bat Boxes are one of the great ways to prevent bug bites. Bats eat bugs and can be very helpful in keeping the bug population low. Bat boxes can be built around your home or property to encourage bats to live in the area.
- Vicks Vapor rub ® when rubbed on exposed skin can be very effective at repelling mosquitoes. The only problem with this method is that the smell of menthol may be unpleasant for you and those around you. If
- Cinnamon Leaf Oil has been said to be a natural insect repellent. Combine cinnamon leaf oil with a small amount of water and spray or apply to the skin. Most bugs don’t like the smell at all. If they do land on your skin, the oil can be deadly for certain insects.
- Vanilla Extract (Clear) and Olive Oil combined into a spray can be effective in repelling mosquitoes and it’s an all-natural method.
- Citronella Soap used when bathing or showering can help give you an odor that will repel mosquitoes instead of attracting them.
- Picaridin is similar to the chemical compound found in pepper. More natural than DEET. Levels of about 20% picaridin should be effective.
- Make Your Own Insect Spray by combining lemongrass oil, vanillin, citronella, and peppermint oil. It’s safe and can be more effective than products with 100% DEET.
What doesn’t Work
Contrary to popular belief, mud doesn’t do a very good job at mosquitoes away. Here’s why.
How to Treat Bug Bites
Although many of the ways to prevent bug bites in the wild are effective, chances are one of the little buggers will get to you at some point. Fortunately, there are a number of great ways to treat bug bites too.
You can use a variety of different natural herbs and plants such as lavender, aloe vera, cinnamon, tea tree oil, calendula, and basil to treat the itchiness. You can also use heat or ice to ease the swelling and pain of bug bites or stings. Witch hazel combined with baking soda can be effective as a treatment for bug bites as well.
No matter where you are, you can prevent bug bites fairly effectively if you plan ahead. With the list of ways above, you should be able to find something that can keep the annoying little pests away from you, so you can either enjoy that backyard picnic or focus on accomplishing the survival tasks you need to get done in the wild outdoors.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.