23 Ways to Prevent Bug Bites in the Wild

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
  • CO2
  • Metabolic rate (high resting metabolic rates are more attractive)
  • Heat
  • Movement

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Don’t Eat Bananas female mosquitoes bite and they love sugar. It’s said that when the body processes bananas it attracts the mosquitoes.
  3. Eat Garlic to repel ticks and mosquitoes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Deet Repellents of at least 15% DEET will provide protection from insects for about 90 minutes.
  7. Avoid Scented Hygiene Products as some people believe that smelling like flowers will attract bugs that are attracted to flowers.
  8. Catnip Oil was proven to work 10 times better than DEET as an insect repellent according to a study done in 2001.
  9. Citronella Candles work only for short periods of time. It’s the smoke from the candle that keeps mosquitos away.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. Vanilla Extract (Clear) and Olive Oil combined into a spray can be effective in repelling mosquitoes and it’s an all-natural method.
  21. Citronella Soap used when bathing or showering can help give you an odor that will repel mosquitoes instead of attracting them.
  22. Picaridin is similar to the chemical compound found in pepper. More natural than DEET. Levels of about 20% picaridin should be effective.
  23. 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.

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7 thoughts on “23 Ways to Prevent Bug Bites in the Wild”

  1. Wear clothes treated with permethrin. Wear long clothes and a mosquito net over your head. Don’t wear blue, they seem to like it.

  2. The BEST method I ever learned to stop a mosquitoe or Red ant itching is to spread a lil [Clear nail Polish] on the red bump, takes about 15-20 mins for the worst ones to gradually die down, but it works Great. U can let it dry for 10 mins & put a 2nd layer on it.
    An old boy who grew up in Florida with mosquitoes taught me that one, I carry 6 lil bottles of it in my Van/Pocket door.
    I asked him WHY does it work so well?
    He said: The polish Drys up, makes a lil film over the bite & SHUTS OFF THE OXYGEN TO IT, will stop itching.

    Josh Holliday [Blowing Blues-harmonica in Orlando], moving to Oregon in 2019, Whoopee on the Farm !

    1. Baking soda paste is an instant cure for fire ant bites. Sensitive toothpaste can act as a poultice and help with the pain as well. 😉

  3. When I’m working in my garden and the gnats are really pesky I use vanilla extract dabbed all over my exposed skin. Seems to keep them away pretty good.

  4. I live in a wetland area in NC. On various days you can be carried off by either biting flies or Mosquitos so I’ve found these tested methods and I would go crazy with out them plus a few others.
    1.one liquid garlic sprayed around the yard or area your in to keep them at bay.
    2.dish soap, warm water placed in a spray bottle will kill anything with an exoskeleton!! even palmetto bugs roaches etc shoot them with a full stream flip them over there wings on the back give them protection.
    It drops… Flies Mosquitoes Wasps Ants etc.
    If I walk out the back and they are swarming around a light or the door I can clear the whole area in minutes.
    and so my preference: spray bottle 16 oz.. warm water, 1 oz.dish soap, 1 oz. white vinegar ( not that dollar tree brand that is toxic) why smash a fly when you can catch it in the window mist it. watch it drop.easy clean up.plus it a great cleaner and air freshener.

  5. Can you not simply apply mud to your skin to add a layer of matter between your flesh and the jaws/whatever to prevent the animals from being able to reach your skin?

    Also, what about garlic cloves, can they be rubbed on your skin to provide for a scent barrier?

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