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lila5583 Jun 21st, 2003 03:09 PM

Bug Repellant other than Deet?
Just heard of Bite Blocker repellant, and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insectrepellant. Has anyone heard of or tried them? Supposed to work well, spell OK and not be toxic

FlyFish Jun 21st, 2003 03:45 PM

DEET is about as non-toxic as anything else we smear on our bodies and it's really the only chemical that has been clinically shown to have anything more than marginal effectiveness. There seems to be this body of old wives' tales that have developed about DEET, and none of it is true. Use it only when you need it, use the lowest concentration that works for the conditions you're in, put in on your clothing rather than your skin if you can, and don't worry about it.

Patty Jun 21st, 2003 04:03 PM

I've been using Burt's Bees lemongrass insect lotion lately. Seems to work OK. I find that even high concentrations of DEET aren't effective in certain areas of the tropics. When I was in Belize, I used a 95% DEET product everyday and still came home with lots of bites.

GoTravel Jun 21st, 2003 04:11 PM

May I just add that Skin-So-Soft does not work.

Jon_Eric Jun 21st, 2003 04:35 PM

I sure wish I could remember what I used in Australia yrs ago, but it certainly seemed to do the trick. Now that I think on it... it may have only been effective on Blowies(flies)
I bet certain things only work well against certain insects, thus the Belize problem Patty encountered where the insect population is likely multiple. Years ago my Parents lived in Argentina and Venezuela and we'd go down during school breaks but I dont remember it really being a problem there except Spiders, but then we're talking spiders that cast a shadow and leave footprints! YIKES! Good old fashioned OFF seems to work okay around here, Louisiana and we're no stranger to insects and when I go to New England each summer I'll use OFF and thats only if I remember to take it. Maybe certain body types or chemicals in our bodies make certain products more or less effctive also?

philsbert1 Jun 21st, 2003 04:49 PM

Consumer Reports May '03 has a good, short article on insect repellents. Their #1 choice was 3M Ultrathon formulation with DEET. An independent review letter for physicians, The Medical Letter, recently reviewed the subject and also suggested Ultrathon...the brand name of of the U S Army Extended Duration Topical Insect and Arthropod Repellent (or EDTIAR). The DEET is contained in a long acting polymer formulation which prevents its rapid evaporation and somewhat lessens its absorption from the skin. There is a new product with the chemical picaridin (brand---Bayrepel, Autan Repel, et al) that is not yet released in the US, but soon to be, which may be as effective as DEET. Permethrin is a chemical available to spray on clothes, which is effective against ticks and mosquitoes. Applying that to clothes and the Ultrathon to the skin may be your best protection. The Medical Letter did not find any substance to the plant oil based (citronella or eucalyptus) compounds. Caution...the DEET can damage synthetic fibers and plastics on cameras, bags, etc.

philsbert1 Jun 21st, 2003 04:56 PM

Note: the worry with DEET initially was in re to toxic reactions (encephalopathies, particularly with children), but that has been shown now to be very rare, particularly when used at lower concentrations. Even in small children it's now recommended for use (in concentrations of 50% or less). Some people will still get slight skin irritations from it. It's also kind of sticky/gummy. But nothing seems to be as effective, at least until the picaridin gets released here in the US.

rb_travelerxATyahoo Jun 21st, 2003 06:56 PM

It may not work as well as Deet, but something I do is carry a small bottle of chlorine bleach. After I shower, I put a couple of teaspoons of bleach into maybe a quart of water, and wash myself with it. "Yuck", some of you will say, as I don't like the smell much either, but it's something I read, tried, and does seem helpful. And it's sure cheap!

nataliemm Jun 21st, 2003 09:58 PM

Royal Neem worked very well for our extended family of 8 during a trip to Florida last summer. I was actually surprised as I wanted to stay away from DEET too. Not 1 bug bite whole family. It can be purchased through the Yahoo shopping link.

JennyL Jun 22nd, 2003 06:16 AM

My husband can be outside for hours and not get bit, while I get three or four bites within minutes...wish they could figure out what people's body chemistry has to do with it. I use Off Botanicals (which is eucalyptus based) and it seems to work just as well as Off with DEET for me. In a catalog for my dog yesterday, I saw an advertisement for garlic tablets that supposedly repel fleas and mosquitoes from dogs... don't know if that helps humans though, and I think I'll stick with Frontline for him.

Jon_Eric Jun 22nd, 2003 08:04 AM

I was wondering that too, JennyL, because I usually dont have a big problem with this either and God knows Louisiana is not bug free :) I'm fairly dark so maybe dark complected people are more resistant? I dont know, its interesting though. Maybe chemicals counter or add to repellants effectiveness?

Patty Jun 22nd, 2003 08:33 AM

Jon Eric,
It's defintely not the dark complexion! My husband has much lighter skin and always manages to come home with less bites.

Jon_Eric Jun 22nd, 2003 09:22 AM

LOL maybe its a male/female thing than Patty? Actually... that might be.

mscarls Jun 25th, 2003 05:15 AM

The FDA recommends DEET and provides information about using it effectively at its web site on the Nile Virus. I didn't bookmark it so you'll have to use a search engine.

E Jun 25th, 2003 08:22 AM

Philsbert is right on, and I'm going to start looking for Ultrathon for upcoming trip to Belize (anyone know where to find it?) But the runner-up to Ultrathon in Consumer Reports, just fyi, was Backwoods OFF. CR rated repellents in terms of length of effectiveness, so if you're only going to mow the lawn, Ultrathon may be overkill, as it's supposed to protect for at least 8 hours. A cheaper, milder repellent might do.

Anonymous Jun 25th, 2003 08:31 AM

One natural approach that works for us is to take supplemental B vitamins. The extra that your body doesn't need is secreted in sweat as well as in urine, and apparently makes your skin less attractive to mosquitos. I average one or two mosquito bites per year and never use any other repellant.

Jon_Eric Jun 25th, 2003 04:56 PM

Anonymous, oh my God... I take vitamin B all the time! Maybe thats the secret afterall because as I was saying to Patty above I dont get attacked by bugs that often at all. I thought it might be the dark skin vs light skin or male vs female etc but maybe it really is the vitamin B! :)

djkbooks Jun 25th, 2003 05:23 PM

In my experience, none of the repellants really work very well, if at all. Better bet is to be well covered with clothing.

As for women being bitten more than men, think hairspray, perfume, and all those heavily scented toiletries that attract the biting buggers.

Due to fragrance allergies, I'm confined to unscented products. My husband gets bitten, and I rarely do.

"Skin So Soft" by Avon is a total myth. Everyone I've ever known who "swears by it" gets bites galore and declares that they'd have gotten even more bites without it. We just returned from a cruise in Russia all during which there were the occasional mosquitos. The "skin so soft" folks were the loudest complainers with the largest welts.

ezron Jun 25th, 2003 06:20 PM

Heard a new one yesterday-------take a dryer sheet of fabric softener(Bounce etc) and tuck it in your belt. The people said they have been doing it for years and it works. Anyone else ever hear of this ??

theladyjess Jun 25th, 2003 07:40 PM

When we go camping we have garlic bread every night with dinner, and seldom have any bites. It works, you'll end up with dragon breath, but when you're camping, no body really cares.

Also, avoid using heavly fragrenced soaps, lotions, etc.

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