How do you survive the bugs?
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William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
mosquito-resistant clothing on 08/20/2012 16:52:09 MDT Print View

In response to your question about resistance of various fabrics, I've found almost all of the nylon and poly/nylon hiking shirts made by REI (Sahara, mostly) and Ex Officio (Dryflylite, Airstrip, Nomad, Amphi, et al) to be essentially fully mosquito resistant on the east coast, in rockies, and in california. I have one pair of Ex Officio pants that don't do as well. Not sure why, but they do seem lighter weight than my others. If they're pulled tight against my knees and thighs, a small fraction of mosquitoes are able to get through. (I would guess they were getting through at success rate of < 1% per minute of active probing.) Unfortunately, there were about 200 on each leg when I discovered this. :(

In conditions conducive to long sleeves, long pants, and a flats type hat, I only need about four drops of DEET/day for backs of hands, cheeks and neck. You may choose a different skin repellant, or to use a headnet when not eating, but whatever you use, you'll need a lot less of it (and of sunscreen) if you can use a physical barrier as the major approach.

Cheers,

Bill S.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: How do you survive the bugs?" on 08/20/2012 17:15:22 MDT Print View

A couple of years ago, Backpacker magazine did an excellent article in which they did a Consumer Reports-style testing of insect repellents. One of the repellents they found to be very effective (I think it scored second to DEET) was Repel's Lemon-Eucalyptus spray. There's a hiking trail in Pinckney Recreation Area called Losee Lake Trail and it spends much of the time around marshy areas - a good place to test the stuff! I bought some Repel, wore shorts and a short-sleeve t-shirt and sprayed myself with the stuff. The mosquitoes hovered around but never lit on me and I came home with no bites at all. I've been using it since. Repel also has a DEET formula, too, but I really like their Lemon-Eucalyptus stuff. It works for me.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: How do you survive the bugs? on 08/20/2012 23:14:17 MDT Print View

I never use bug dope. I just hike. Around WA and CA if you can keep a 2 mile an hour pace the bugs won't be able to keep up. When I stop I put on my wind jacket, cover my legs, and put on the head net. Some days I have to eat in my tent if I pick a bad camping spot. I avoid using a tarp in the height of bug season. Or at least use a bug bivy with the tarp.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: How do you survive the bugs? on 08/21/2012 16:58:20 MDT Print View

“I am thinking of getting this head net http://www.coghlans.com/products/mosquito-head-net-8941 Does anyone have it? Do you liked it? Any problems with it? Are you using any other head nets?”

It worked great for me over my stiff-brimmed hat. I was not hot in it. I spent 5 days backpacking in the Wind River Range (WY) the 2nd week in July. The mosquitoes were bad. So I used that net every day. However, by the end of the week, the elastic ‘collar’ gave up the ghost. It was well worth the $3 for me though.

All my clothes were permethrin treated. Yes the mosquitoes land on it; but not for long. I never got a bite through my clothes. And actually, the mosquitoes never went-for/landed-on my sandal-laden feet. I’m not sure why.

I do have a sun-block with 20% deet that I used on my hands. And that kept bites from there.

Good luck in your bug prevention program.

-Barry

Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Bug protection on 09/05/2012 00:14:39 MDT Print View

Thank you everyone for your responses. I have learned a lot. Sorry about the late response.

@ Ken and others who recommended www.petersheadnets.com It looks like Peter has great quality nets. I have exchanged some emails with him and I have ordered 2 nets. He is extremely friendly and helpful guy. He answered all my questions.

@ Dan I have googled “garlic rendered/cooked in olive oil” but I have not come up with anything interesting. Any links?
I have also looked at www.mosquitobarrier.com and it says there that Mosquito Barrier does not work when sprayed on people to keep insects away. Mosquito Barrier only removes feeding areas. They offer an alternative though: “Excellent results can be obtained (up to 5 or 6 hours of protection) by using some common household items in a simple mixture you can make yourself! Simply mix 1 teaspoon of soybean oil (available from your grocery store) and one quarter of a teaspoon of Palmolive liquid soap into one cup of water. Mix well and spray onto your arms and legs and wipe on your face and neck.” Hmm... I wonder how that would work. For sure it would be messy (oil and soap?).

I have purchased recently Ex Officio (Dryflylite) long sleeve shirt but I have not tried it yet. I think that maybe I should have bought a bigger size. I bought M and normally I am M. Peter Vacco (the head net guy) recommends a T-Shirt or Merino Wool (which works better) shirt under a nylon/poly-cotton shirt.
Do you guys find a difference in effectiveness between nylon and poly-cotton fabric?

So it looks like that the best defence is: long sleeve shirt, layered with another t shirt, long pants and head net. Additionally there are 3 natural options to try with Repel's Lemon-Eucalyptus spray sounding the most promising.
Thank you.