Bug repellant (skeeters, fleas, gnats).


Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: bug bite problems
From: leigh.nbi.com (Leigh Melton)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 15:09:24 EDT

I am one of those miserable folk who react to bug bites and stings with a vengeance. Mosquitoes and fleas are particularly bothersome to me, because they itch so badly they actually hurt. Living in the South it's almost impossible, short of becoming a shut-in, for me to avoid exposure to bugs.

When I am used by a flea or mosquito for a quick lunch, the area swells and turns a very deep pink, and begins to itch like crazy almost instantly. I could even live with that if I had to, but after the itching and swelling are gone, discolorations are left on my skin which are unattractive. It takes about a year for these discolorations to fade, just in time for the next bug season.

I talked about my problem with an MD once and he gave me the sterling advice of "use an insect repellent." I've had little success with any of the ones I've used (and it is hard to explain why you smell of OFF instead of Chanel No. 5 at work, too). No suggestions were forthcoming on itch relief either, so I assumed one of the OTC preparations. I used Lanacaine and Caldecort and after a few minutes any relief I had gotten was gone.

I try to be scrupulous about keeping bugs away from me, but when they *do* get to me, what should I do to avoid the discomfort and discoloration they cause? Any suggestions on how I can get rid of the discolorations I have? I've even tried Esoterica, which I believe is for "liver spots" and seen little difference.

So, to sum up, I suppose what I'm asking is: how can I discourage insects from being attracted to me, how can I deal with the itching when they do bite me, and what can I do about the discolored spots on my skin? I can't seem to find any commercial preparations which work on any of those three problems, and herbal remedies would undoubtedly be better for my general health anyway.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

From: Suze.Hammond.f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Suze Hammond)

I've read that in Europe, the Germans (who love to camp and hike) eat lots and lots of common parsley before the outdoor season. It makes them smell bad to bugs, so they say. I've also read that the Romans used it during and after banquets, to do away with breath and body odors.

From: conrad.richters.com (Conrad Richter)

A recent report suggests that alcoholic yarrow (Achillea millefolium) extracts are very effective mosquito repellents, about equal to 20% DEET. Apparently, the use of yarrow comes from an old Lapland tradition.

From: shal.loc.gov (Stephanie A. Hall)

: I am one of those miserable folk who react to bug bites and stings with

Garlic does help. I haven't had any luck with brewer's yeast. Pennyroyal is another repellant to try. You can get pots of it in many garden nursuries -- it is sold as a ground conver. Avoid eating bananas -- mosquitos are attracted by them and by many perfumes. A non-herbal but also non-toxic repellant many people swear by (Including the US Army, I am told) is Avon's Skin So Soft. You have to really cover yourself in it though -- but you can dilute it with water so as to cover yourself with it more effectively. I had to go out into a mosquito-infested area this summer as a teacher in a college course and all the teachers and students used the skin so soft and survived. good luck.

From: jworkman.eri.erinet.com (Lisa)

I've used chamomile tea to repel gnats. Don't know if it works on skeeters. You make a strong cup & dab it all over yourself with a washcloth. Can try adding some marjoram & basil, too. Tea tree oil works well for me on bug bites. Kills the itch on spider bites for me, anyway. Smells nasty, though--cross between eucalyptus & moldy hay. Don't know how to get rid of the bumps, I just wait for them to go away.
hope this helps.