Bug bites.

Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 10:43:43 EDT
From: Craige Roberts <croberts.MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU>
Subject: Wildcrafting and mosquitoes

I'm trying my hand at a little wildcrafting (strictly non- endangered species) here in central Ohio this year, and have a problem that some of you might be able to advise me on. It's been an extremely wet year (around 9 inches more rain than normal to date), and the mosquitoes are incredibly thick. I was out in the woods Sunday morning, and even though I wore a long sleeved shirt, long pants, hat, bandana, and an herbal mosquito repellent (Green Ban, with the usual essential oils), I really got swarmed. Besides being rather unpleasant, I came back with the sides of my face and wrists rather swollen, even though I don't scratch the bites. I don't mind some discomfort and inconvenience, but this was pretty daunting. I wonder if any of you veteran wildcrafters have any advice before I brave the woods again. I know there have been a number of postings about mosquito repellents, but this seems to go beyond repellent. Sweat a little bit and the oil is diluted, and they're all over you again.

Craige Roberts

From: Margot Dale <mdale.UMCE.UMEXT.MAINE.EDU>

Living in Maine where the mosquito is mistaken for the state bird we have the same problem you mentioned. I have to garden fully covered in order that I am not overwhelmed by black flies and mosquitos. I wear a mosquito net hat and several of my friends wear the full net jacket with hood.

Since I garden organically, I do not wear insect repellents in the garden.

They seem to thrive on most repellents anyway. So I made a salve to use after the bite. The sooner applied, the more effective. It doesn't "cure" the bite but helps with the pain and itching. I combine oils made with plaintain, chickweed, comfrey, self-heal. Thicken with beeswax and add some essential oil of rose. Works for me and my grand-daughter as well as friends and other family members.

From: Jackie Mcfadden <jmcfadden.MAIL.MILLIKIN.EDU>

In the past few years, I have made a water/oil base spray with a teaspoon of the following:

eucalyptus oil
pennyroyal oil
citronella oil

I mix with 3/4 water and 1/4 baby oil in a regular size spray bottle. A little bit goes a long way. I know in some instances pennyroyal can be toxic, but, I don't use enough for it to be that strong. When first applied, odor very strong, however, not unpleasant. For sure the mosquitoes do not like it.

Although, the other day I was being eaten up while mowing the yard and broke off a couple of leaves of my "mosquito plant" citronella geranium. I rubbed it all over my arms, legs, neck and face and not one mosquito for at least an hour.

Once you have been bitten, try taking the homeopathic remedy ledum. I took 1 dose the other evening and within minutes, the itching was gone and didn't return.

Happy gardening!

From: Jackie Mcfadden <jmcfadden.MAIL.MILLIKIN.EDU>

Forgot to mention, it works great on pets also. We've have used it on our basset hound (who lives outside) for the past few years and never a bother with any types of critters; fleas, mosquitos, gnats, etc.

From: Lucy Cronin <ldcronin.VENUS.CAMBRIANC.ON.CA>

I live in Northern Canada, near James Bay, and the black flies are really bad, not to mention the mosquitoes. I use tincture of poplar on the bites;

I don't use repellants either, since none seem to be effective. The tincture can be easily made from the buds of the Populu tremulus as they appear in early spring.

From: Peter Gail <PETERGAIL.AOL.COM>

Don't have much of an answer for keeping them from biting, but jewelweed will take care of the itches and swellings almost instantly when applied. With all the rain, the jewelweed stands in Northern Ohio this year are incredible. Just rub the juice from the stem on the bites.

From: "Patricia A. Bush" <vicpat.USA.PIPELINE.COM>

I live in New Jersey, by the shore area. Lots of skitters and other bugs. I have found that if I take a whole clove of garlic, chop it up and then swallow it with a bit of juice, that the bugs ( and everyone else) leave me alone. I also take Brewer's yeast on a daily basis and that is supposed to keep bugs away. And if the buggies are very bad I light a few citronella candles, stick them on a paper plate and carry it with me.

From: Kathy M <ZDULU.AOL.COM>

I've got to tell all the mosquito victims this strange repellant action i experienced the other day.

I was on a forest sanctuary walk with 10 young sweating children in the 85 degree heat last week (here in the n.east) and all the children were getting eaten alive. (None of us wore any repellant)

It made for a short, fast walk. Well, that morning after my shower I had applied all over my skin some almond oil. The kind recommended by Edgar Cayce. Not one mosquitoe bit me nor was interested but certainly bothered the 2 children holding my hand. i'm just writing this because it is strange and may work.

The almond oil was used for after-bathing skin treatment, i did not expect it to work as a repellant!

From: Doris Tuck <dlt.JAKE.HQ.INTERLINK.COM>

If I remember to begin taking a B1 a day or so before going to the delta (a popular mosquito resort here in northern California) I don't get bit. It works for many other people, too, but does not seem to work for all. And I am apparently not as attractive to mosquitoes as some people, which might make B1 more effective for me.

I don't know what it does, but someone here probably does. Some people give me an expression that looks like they think it's all in my mind, and maybe it is, but it works for me and that's good enough. I do notice that, when I take the pill just before I leave home in the morning, my hands smell kind of like yeast by the time I get to work. I think I have read or heard that it makes you smell bad to the mosquitoes. That's OK with for me.

Anyway, they're cheap and easy to get. Unless someone here has some warning that they are dangerous to you or something, it might be worth a try.