Insect Repellent

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
Hi folks. Well, I know it's winter, but prior planning is always a good idea.
What is the best insect repellent for Scottish/UK use? I get eaten alive every summer.

I did research the medical literature on this a year ago, and found nearly all the research has been done on Anopheles (malaria) mosquitos rather than the Scottish midge. One Scottish study found Mosiguard (natural ingredients) possibly slightly better than DEET. DEET appears best for mosquitos.

I don't like DEET much - it never works for me and irritates. I think the British Army stuff is DEET and on one exercise I was stupid enough to put it on my Tam O Shanter and it dripped in my eyes every time it rained after that....

I've seen some Scandinavian product on the Woodlore website, and also seen a WW2 era product called DiMP. So far I've found Autan best, but I've heard its formulation has changed. Any ideas?
 

bigjackbrass

Nomad
Sep 1, 2003
470
3
Leeds
On the non-DEET side I have had some success with "Green Ban Double Strength Herbal Insect Repellent," which is often sold in health food shops. The manufacturer is at Mulgum Hollow Farm, P.O. Box 986, Nowra, NSW 2541, Australia. Main component is citronella, so don't expect miracles with midges, but it held off the dreaded Maine blackfly quite well.

Unfortunately I've lost the details of a product I used in America which was especially good. Think it might have been made by Sawyer (can any American reader help with this?) and featured a time-delay release of DEET. I'll hunt around for the full details, because I'm sure I must have written it down somewhere.

Incidentally, the best thing I can recommend is a headnet.

You can always make your own. This was Nessmuk's recipe, reproduced from "Camp and Trail" by Stewart Edward White:

Oil Pine Tar -- 3 parts
Castor Oil -- 2 parts
Oil Pennyroyal -- 1 part

"It is most effective. A dab on each cheek and one behind each ear will repel the fly of average voracity, while a full coating will save you in the worst circumstances. A single dose will last until next was time." (Camp and Trail page 75)
 

Gary

New Member
Apr 17, 2003
2,603
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from Essex
Nordic summer is very similar to that recipe from Nessmuk. It work well enough and is excellent against THE DREADED MIGDE - also it wont melt your compass.
 

Rob

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I am waiting to trial some non DEET, non citronella hippie friendly stuff next year.

I do a lot of work near Oban, and the comany involved has to issue insect repellent as part of the Quarry's P.P.E. The guys nearly mutinied last year when they ran out. My good aldy is also on the "Insect Favorite Menu" - so I will be persuading her to take part too.

If it works, I will put on a recommendation. In the mean time - try not to scratch :wink:
 

ally

Forager
Oct 15, 2003
109
0
lincoln
i take the kids camping near glencoe most years and as usual we are bestered with the wee blighters, the local warden swears by avon skin so soft, yeh i know but don't laugh too much, bought some (woodland fresh) and i bloody works a treat AND isa got lovely soft skin to boot!!!! :wink:

oh and i get to smell like a tree too :lol:

sj took it on her morocco trip and had similar success, give it a try, even if it doesn't work for you you'll end up smelling gorgeous
 

george

New Member
Oct 1, 2003
627
6
57
N.W. Highlands (or in the shed!)
Hi Folks

I live in the NW Highlands and work outdoors and every year I have to face the little beasts for 3 or 4 months. I've never yet found anything as effective as DEET for stopping them biting.

There's some interesting research being done around Bog Myrtle however, which may or may not come up with interesting results but traditionally it's been used to dye baby clothes to stop insects biting.

My other half, who is an ecologist/ethnobotanist swears that Bog Myrtle oil works for her (doesn't seem to work for me though).

I swear by head nets, I'd never go out in midge season without one. I hate rubbing chemicals on my skin if I can help it, but sometimes they get so bad I have to resort to the old DEET - appears to stop them biting but you still get the irritation of them swarming in your face.

By the way they say that if you don't scratch the bites for around 10 minutes then they (the bites) will go away - works for me.

Sometimes however the only thing that keeps me sane in a particularly bad year is the other traditional cure - whisky. It doesn't make them stop biting or make the bites go away, but after a couple of large drams at the end of the day somehow they dont seem so bad! :lol:

George
 

mmcniven

Full Member
Nov 1, 2003
139
1
51
Paisley
Ye i have also heard that the avon skin cream is meant to work really well i bought a bottle last year but as yet havent tried it, one which i swear by in scotland is Herbal Armour i got a bottle years ago and havent been able to find it since but it works really well in Scotland, doesnt stop the midges landing on you but stops them biting which can only be a good thing.

Michael
 

Wendi

Member
Jun 2, 2003
15
0
Ontario, Canada
I was out on field trips in late spring/early summer at the height of black fly season. I used lavender scented spray and it seemed to work really well. Not sure how you men feel about smelling like a flower. Of course I've also found that if you can keep from swatting at them (easier said than done) they won't bother you so much.

Funny thing about DEET, a few years ago there were loads of reports flying around about how harmful it is. Not to use it on children, the fact that it eats plastic etc. But now that everyone over here is panicking about West Nile Virus (carried by mosquitos), DEET is being pushed as the recommended insect repellent! It's even in the provincial fact sheets about the virus. My conspiracy theory is that West Nile was introduced by the DEET manufacturers :shock:
 

Hoodoo

Full Member
Nov 17, 2003
5,302
13
Michigan, USA
Wendi said:
My conspiracy theory is that West Nile was introduced by the DEET manufacturers :shock:
Makes sense to me. :-D

I have used Avon Skin So Soft for many years now and it works really well but the strange thing is that sometimes it works and works well and sometimes not at all or barely. This dovetails with what I've read from others as well. So I would not rely on Skin So Soft alone but back it up with DEET, a head net, and/or other products. Now that Lavender spray sounds interesting... :super:
 

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
2,252
6
49
Glasgow, Scotland
I've found the 'Lifeventure' Expedition (?) spray you can get in places like Cotswold Camping, Blacks, etc, does actually work against just about anything. It doesn't melt your watch (in my experience) and is effective for about 6-8 hours.
 

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
Thanks folks. I've heard of using Avon skin-so-soft and might give it a go (I'm told its pretty cheap).

There were a few reports of DEET toxicity in kids, but I think it involved liberal application of 100% DEET.

Agree on headnets. I bought one at the Game Fair at Scone this year. Ideal.

I think I'll try the Nordic Summer stuff when it's back in stock.
 

maddave

Full Member
Jan 2, 2004
4,177
33
Manchester UK
ally said:
i take the kids camping near glencoe most years and as usual we are bestered with the wee blighters, the local warden swears by avon skin so soft, yeh i know but don't laugh too much, bought some (woodland fresh) and i bloody works a treat AND isa got lovely soft skin to boot!!!! :wink:

oh and i get to smell like a tree too :lol:

sj took it on her morocco trip and had similar success, give it a try, even if it doesn't work for you you'll end up smelling gorgeous
Yup !! The Avon Skin So Soft moisturiser, woodland scented in the tub is fantastic. I was doing support for a bunch of adventure racers in scotland this year, and while they were counting their midgie bites by the hundred, I had none. The midges did land on me occasionally, just never took a bite. The crafty thing is that mountain men (to keep up our macho image you understand) simply call it "triple S". But like Ally says. This stuff is the Mutts Nuts!! :cool: