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Mosquito Protection that Works

deluxestogie

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#1
There's a lot of misinformation out there on "organic" and "natural" insect repellents.

What Actually Works

  1. Clothing: Shoes, socks, long pants, baggy long-sleeve shirt, hat. (In hot weather, sweaty, baggy clothing will cool you more effectively than tighter fabric or no clothing.)
  2. DEET. Use at least 25% DEET. Higher concentrations don't work any better, but its effect lasts longer. (I routinely use a 40% DEET solution that I spray onto my hands, and then rub onto all exposed skin except my face. I then wash my hands thoroughly, since DEET will dissolve some plastics [like a computer keyboard, or the plastic lenses of my spectacles]. It lasts about 5-6 hours.)
  3. Picaridin. Works as well as DEET.
  4. On an open porch, an oscillating fan (or box fan set on high) prevents mosquitoes from navigating to your skin. Over 5 mph of wind is more than their fragile wings can manage.
  5. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and at dusk. They prefer shady areas, rather than direct sunlight.
For small children, keep the DEET concentration below 25%.

Some data:


Data Source: https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/15/1/140/2583458

CDC said:
Repellent Efficacy

Published data indicate that repellent efficacy and duration of protection vary considerably among products and among mosquito and tick species. Product efficacy and duration of protection are also markedly affected by ambient temperature, level of activity, amount of perspiration, exposure to water, abrasive removal, and other factors. In general, higher concentrations of active ingredient provide longer duration of protection, regardless of the active ingredient. Products with <10% active ingredient may offer only limited protection, often 1–2 hours. Products that offer sustained-release or controlled-release (microencapsulated) formulations, even with lower active ingredient concentrations, may provide longer protection times. Studies suggest that concentrations of DEET above approximately 50% do not offer a marked increase in protection time against mosquitoes; DEET efficacy tends to plateau at a concentration of approximately 50%. CDC recommends using products with ≥20% DEET on exposed skin to reduce biting by ticks that may spread disease.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow...ion-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods
What Does Not Work

  • Citronella, either as a skin repellent or a candle/torch
  • Lemon grass extracts
  • "Mosquito Coils"
  • Most popular "organic" or "natural" repellents on the market
  • Tobacco smoke (otherwise I would never get mosquito bites--ever)
  • Tight, thin clothing (NO YOGA PANTS!)
Bob
 
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#2
Toscanos work pretty good.
I disagree about the smoke. In my darkroom at work, I just have to close the door and take a few puffs and in a matter of seconds they all scatter to the wall and ceiling where it becomes really easy to squish them.

I also recommend having a hose on the tail pipe of any running vehicles so the exhaust is further away. They seem to be attracted to either the gases or the heat.

I find it funny that the patch is worse than nothing at all.
 

deluxestogie

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#3
I'll have to try a darkroom. I've compared mosquito assaults with and without tobacco smoke in the Cascades wilderness, the Colorado Rockies, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the beaches of Santa Barbara, the backstreets of Barcelona, the bayous of the Florida panhandle, and the finest neighborhoods of Khartoum. I've never documented a deterrence of mosquitoes (or gnats) by tobacco smoke. Maybe they just like me.

Mosquitoes are attracted from a substantial distance (like 10 to 50 meters) by CO[sub]2[/sub]. It's only when they get close to an animal (that would be me) that they become picky about skin aroma.

Bob
 
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#4
I have noticed regional variance in the determination of mosquitos. In India, they are very resolute, and their bites are much more raised, itchy and long lasting. In northwest Ontario they are big and dumb. In Alberta they are hard to catch but they are definitely adverse to smoke of all kinds.
 

Charly

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#5
I agree with ChinaVoodoo about smoke beeing repelent, but it only works in closed areas or when there is no wind at all. Well, at least smoke is beter than nothing in my garden (I checked this a few times already).
 

Jack in NB

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#6
My pipe used to give me significant relief from skeeters and blackflies.

They've been a lot more annoying since the pipe's been on the shelf.
 

deluxestogie

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#7
There do seem to be differences in sensitivity by mosquitoes to various sources of smoke, as well as differences among particular species of mosquitoes. The article below is an example.

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1994 Dec;25(4):771-5. said:
Smoke as a form of personal protection against mosquitos, a field study in Papua New Guinea.
Vernède R1, van Meer MM, Alpers MP.

Abstract
Smoke from burning different kinds of vegetation or wood is often used as a cheap personal protection measure against mosquitos during the evening. To test the efficacy of smoke, a comparative field trial was conducted in the Wosera District, Papua New Guinea. Repellency of smoke from burning wild mango wood (Mangifera spp), leaves from betelnut (Areca catechu), wild ginger (Alpinia spp) and coconut husks (Cocos nutifera) was assessed using man-biting catches. A mosquito species and smoke specific repellency was found. Anopheles karwari was repelled by coconut husks (66% CI 17-86%), ginger (69% CI 25-87%) and betelnut (84% CI 62-94%) leaves. Culicines were repelled by mango wood (57% CI 6-80%), coconut husks (62% CI 18-83%), ginger (75% CI 45-88%) and betelnut (64% CI 22-84%) leaves. For Anopheles koliensis no repellency due to smoke was found. In combination with untreated or impregnated bed-nets, smoke may contribute to a reduction of mosquito transmitted diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7667730
Of course, these are just "back yard" wood species that can be easily collected if you live in Papua New Guinea. While you and I aren't likely to encounter the Anopheles species that were tested, Culex sp. are quite common.

Other studies show that building your fire indoors works better.

Any researchers who might have wished to publish data on the benefits of tobacco smoke have been officially disappeared.

Bob
 

CobGuy

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#8
I've always said that Deep Woods OFF was the best and that the Avon stuff was useless ... glad to see results that agree with my direct observations! :)

When I was a kid, they would come through in the evening with a "fogger" ... big truck spraying a cloud of chemicals.
 

deluxestogie

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#9
Unfortunately, "Deep Woods OFF" is just a categorical brand name encompassing many distinct products with differing DEET concentrations. Their 25% preparations are claimed to be effective "up to" 6 hours. The graph in the first post suggests that at a mere 4 hours, nearly 5 times as many mosquitoes will ignore the OFF, compared to immediately after application.

If your habit is to be exposed to mosquitoes for, say 1 hour, then any of these DEET preparations are fine. If you will be out there for at least several hours, then go for a preparation with more than 25% DEET.

Bob
 
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#10
I hate the smell of DEET. I rely on sleeves, campfire, and smoke. If I was working up north, I might just wear a net hat. You need them for the black flies too
 
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#12
One time, I ran the exhaust from my work truck through a hose underneath a rack of pipes. The exhaust lingered under the pipes and the area filled in with millions of mosquitos. I then put a little turbo fan nearby, blowing into a filter that I made out of rags. It collected so many mosquitos that the fan eventually stopped, and I had to scrape them out with a knife. I probably got two ounces of mosquitos. Terrible smell.
 

ciennepi

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#13
For Chinawoodoo: do you have a photographic darkroom?
I thought I was the only one on the forum to still use film, developer, enlarger and paper!
 
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#14
For Chinawoodoo: do you have a photographic darkroom?
I thought I was the only one on the forum to still use film, developer, enlarger and paper!
Sadly, no... er, kinda. It's an x-ray darkroom. Manual processing (Agfa chemicals), huge negatives, but no enlarging or printing of any kind.
 

ciennepi

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#18
To keep it analog I should print 100? 1000? 10000? photos (how many are the members of FFT?) and send them by post.
I know better ways to spent my time ;)
 

deluxestogie

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#20
To keep it analog I should print 100? 1000? 10000? photos (how many are the members of FFT?) and send them by post.
I know better ways to spent my time ;)
FTT Members: 3,926
At €0.85 per standard letter from Italy to the US, you should be able to get them to each of us for about $4000. Thanks for offering.

What if it's a scan of an analog of a guy looking at an x-ray?
He should be wearing long sleeves, to protect against mosquitoes!

Bob
 
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