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Do any of you know of any non-horrible-chemical-based mosquito repellents that actually work? I've tried the one put out by Burt's Bees and it's pretty useless. (as an aside - I started out using Burt's Bees lip balm and hand lotion years ago when this one little country store in Va Beach sold it. It was bizarre to me that they started popping up in salons and stuff and that they've now changed their whole look and feel to a point where you wouldn't think it was the same company. Anyway...)

I'm not sure where else to look. I know in theory things that should work but I haven't really found anything that's easy to obtain and that anyone has real experience with. I literally end up with 5 or more mosquito bites just from taking the dog out to pee real quick. If I'm out for longer than a minute or two I can be assured of a good 20 minutes of insane itching once I get back in.

I've been putting on long jeans to do yard work because I just can't take all the bites I get otherwise. And doing yard work in 90 degree heat with that lovely mid-atlantic humidity is just balls.

On a completely different note, I finally made a follow up appointment (that I should have had a month ago) with the doctor. So by this time next week I should be even MORE medicated than I am right now. heh.

Technically my doctor is a nurse practitioner. Do I refer to her as "doctor" or as "NP" or what? Is there a proper title for that?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
I've heard decent reviews of Avon's Skin-So-Soft, which happens to function as a bug repellent as well.

I'm fond of The More DEET The Better, because tests have shown that that's what works.
Sep. 5th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
I'm fond of not killing my pets because I can't nut up and deal with a few bug bites.

Now I remember the skin so soft stuff. I might look into that.
Sep. 5th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
I suppose if I was being licked by pets between application and washing one's skin, I'd be concerned about that.. but that isn't generally the case. :)
Sep. 5th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
The moment I walk in the door three cats and a dog are on me, touching me, rubbing up against me, licking my hands, etc. And DEET can cause neurological disorders in pets if an appreciable amount is absorbed. Our pets don't live outside or in their kennels. And if my dog can transfer the oils from poison ivy to me by rubbing against me after she's been exposed to it why wouldn't she pick up pesticide from me after rubbing against me. (and she's a groomer so anything that gets on her fur eventually ends up in her mouth). It's not a hysterical "I've read too many websites" thing. But we don't even use basic insect sprays in or around our house because of the potential effects on the dog and the cats - not to mention ourselves.

Even if it weren't for the pets I don't feel comfortable applying a pesticide to my skin. I wouldn't roll around in a weed killer - I won't spray DEET on my skin.

If it works for you, though - cool

Sep. 6th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
On the other hand, an effective insect repellent can prevent a host of insect-borne diseases--it's a tradeoff. (Same applies to insecticides applied to the animals and lawns--have to find the ones that are safe enough for the animals while still toxic to the insects.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
First let me just say again - if DEET based products are what work for you and you're happy with them then *great*. I just don't feel comfortable using them. Sort of pointless arguing over a personal preference.

I never said that repellents made specifically for pets were out of bounds. I said that I didn't feel okay putting a pesticide on my skin - especially given then amount of contact my pets have with me. And there is a WORLD of difference between a DEET based repellent and a flea and tick repellent made specifically for cats and dogs. First of all one of them isn't known to cause neurological disorders through exposure.

The actual chances of me or my pets contracting malaria, Lyme disease, or West Nile are so small that it's hilarious trying to figure them out. Once I give up my home and decide to live in a tree on the Congo I'll take insect-borne diseases into account more seriously. As is stands where I live and my general lifestyle make the chances of actually contracting a disease from insects ridiculously slim. If (or the dog) get a tick, I'll take it off within 36 hours. I'll watch for any Lyme disease symptoms. I'll destroy mosquito breeding grounds. I'll look for non-toxic repellents. I won't coat my skin and clothes in a chemical like DEET.

Personal preference.

I looked it up - between 1997 and 2002 (can't find earlier numbers and don't care to look further) there were 4 reported cases of Malaria in Virginia. 2 of those happened in 2002 and were highly publicized, reported on national news, etc. They found a small puddle of water with mosquito larvae that were carrying a fairly weak strain of Malaria.

And Lyme disease is a pretty big deal in northern VA. Loudon Co. gets something like 20 times more reported cases than the rest of the state. The chances of getting Lyme disease are greatly reduced if you just check for and remove any ticks early. I don't know about you, but every time I've ever had a tick I've gotten it off of myself and my dog well within that 36 hour time frame. And I think I've had a tick twice in my life.

I'm sure there are plenty of other diseases that I should be fucking *shattered* over like... West Nile or Denge Fever or some other thing. And the CDC still recommends DEET based repellents and that's fine.

If I contract West Nile or Malaria you can feel free to point, laugh, and feel superior.

Sep. 6th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
Holly's nuts
My mommy and i have tried the regular Skin-So Soft. It was definitely better than nothing, but wasn't as nearly as good as DEET-based products. They now have a Skin-So-Soft plus Picaridin, which should be effective. Picaridin probably passes your toxicity requirements and is used throughout Europe and Australia. You should be able to find Picaridin-based products at any drug store.

The CDC and a few other (seemingly independent) sites recommend oil of lemon eucalyptus as a natural repellent. It costs around $5-$6 per 4-oz. I'm not sure about regular drug stores, but wilderness/camping stores would definitely carry it.

As for the Nurse Practitioner, my understanding is that they usually go by their first name (or Ms. LastName). I have heard that some places they are called "doctor," but that's rare. I do caution against calling them "Nip"...especially if they're Japanese.
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
dammit, my cover is blown...
Or Mr. LastName. Ahem.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: dammit, my cover is blown...
heh, since she is female, I didn't even think about it.

You disgustingly presumptive MAAAAN
Sep. 6th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
See, i'm more pedantic about my own posts than anyone elses...
I let myself sleep at night after i reread your original post and noticed that you called her a "her."
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Holly's nuts
I've read up on oil of lemon eucalyptus and was going to track some down.

I recently began using this bug killer (along with other well known things like diatomaceous earth and boric acid I've been researching ways to kill things without killing my pets) that uses d-limonene as its primary insecticide. And the stuff is stupidly effective.

I had an ant trail in the house (happens a lot in Northern VA) and I won't have a commercial pest control person come in and spray because the cats get *everywhere in the house, every little nook and cranny and the unfinished portion of the basement (exposed beams, access into the walls) is where their litter boxes are. So traditional "spray poison in the walls" shit is not okay with me. This bug spray not only killed the bugs on contact, but after spraying their trail with it they haven't come back. It's working as a repellent as well as an on-contact killer. And this is after a few weeks of putting the cat's food in a moated bowl and scrubbing down the cabinets to remove sent trails and changing the lighting patterns and all this other crap done to no avail.

So anyway - now I'm actually willing to give the non-DEET based insect repellents a try since something natural and food grade actually *worked*.

Sep. 6th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
if you do find one, let me know. i've kind of given up and use shitty deet stuff that i know does damage but...i walked to the car and got 10 bites on my knee. i just don't know what to do anymore.

we are going to set up traps, with fans and catchers, that are apparently amazing at scooping up the fuckers and reducing their numbers.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
See, I was looking into those too, but am totally lost on what to get. No one around here uses them. Apparently we're both just blessed with an abundance of lactic acid and none of my neighbors have that problem.

It's bad enough that I've started throwing on jeans to take the dog outside to pee. I've been miserable.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
my friend mel picked up some of these:

but we haven't actually, you know, put them together and used them. but, mosquitoes are terrible flyers, so the concept is good.

and this is diy, and looks like it would trap flys too:

we can't help being so damn delicious.

i've heard that the 'attractant' variety of traps are very hit or miss, in that different populations are attracted to different levels of co2 etc.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
yeah, we definitely have a variety of mosquitoes here. You can tell the tiger mosquitoes because they're bigger and have white stripes on their legs. They're also the ones that fuck with me the most. Most mosquitoes come out around dawn or around dusk. tiger mosquitoes bite any time of the day. But I know they aren't the only type around here.

I'm going to look into that skeeterbag thingy and maybe some others. I was actually looking at those monster pest control ones that use their own propane tank for power in a moment of "at any price I want them gone". But they're out of our price range, honestly.

Sep. 6th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
i'm not gonna lie, i did find this to be rather alluring:
http://www.megacatch.com/alpha.html and $99 isn't much but.....only if it works.

bugs zappers kill mostly beneficial insects, and I would feel really bad if i was all killing sweet elderly moths, who are just trying to get by on a fixed income....
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
OOh. actually that DIY one - I haven't seen it used for mosquitos but I made one just like that for flies (with a bait in the water) and it works really well and is really easy to make.
Sep. 6th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
we used a weird baggy one from home depot for flies (b/c our yard was seriously infested in LA, it was gross), and while disposing of it was pretty fucking foul, it worked REALLY really well. similar concept to the DIY one (although it used an attractant that was...rank is just not enough to cover it. ew.)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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