Three Ways to Keep Biting Bugs Away

   07.10.17

Three Ways to Keep Biting Bugs Away

Summer is here and so are the bugs. It seems like every year I get bit by a couple of ticks. Sometimes I get a tick walking around the farm, other times while hiking through the woods.

Several years ago I had two tick bites a few inches above my left ankle. The bites developed into an open sore that were each about the size of a pencil eraser. As men typically do, I did not want to go to the doctor and just treated them with over the counter antibiotic cream. Around six weeks later, they finally started to heal.

Another time I was not so lucky. After a tick bite I developed a high fever and spent a weekend in the hospital receiving intravenous antibiotics.

In the case of tick bites, prevention is truly the best medicine.

Let’s spend a few minutes talking about ways to keep biting bugs away, and not just ticks. For this article I want to include a video from Darwin on the trail who does an excellent job of talking about biting bugs where he hikes at.

Darwin on the trail does an excellent job of talking about mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies.

Deet

Regardless of all the bad things people say about deet, it is effective in keeping biting bugs at bay.

As I write this article, I am 49 years old and have have been using deet based products since I was a child. During the summer, my brother and I would go to Granny’s house for a weekend. While we were there, we would get covered in deet before we played in the creek.

When I was a teenager, my buddies and I would go camping in a patch of woods next to a marsh.  Cans of Off were always brought with us.

If deet was a real problem wouldn’t it have shown up after 40 years of use?

The Center for Disease Control says to use something with at least 20% DEET to prevent ticks.

Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.

Clothing

Mosquito head-nets, long pants, long sleeve shirts, high top boots, tube socks, wide brim hats… etc.

When hiking in warm/hot weather, there has to be a happy medium between protecting yourself from bugs and overheating. In the summer of 2016, I went on a hiking trip. It was so hot, I had to go shirtless for most of the trip. Thankfully, I did not get any ticks.

My personal setup:

  • High top boot, like a combat boot.
  • Tube socks.
  • Long pants.
  • A breathable short sleeve shirt.

Just before heading out to the woods, I pull up my pants legs to about the knee, then spray the tube socks and boots with deet. Sometimes, I tuck the pants leg into the boot.

The vast majority of my tick bites have been around the ankles and on the back near the kidney area.

A hat will help keep deer and horse flies off your head.

Permethrin

In all honesty, I do not remember hearing about Permethrin until I watched the video by Darwin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has been registered with the EPA since 1979.

Permethrin has been registered by the EPA since 1979. It is currently registered and sold in a number of products such as residential indoor and outdoor insect foggers and sprays, treated clothing, flea products for dogs, termite treatments, agricultural and livestock products, and mosquito abatement products.

According to the CDC, 0.5% permethrin is effective on keeping ticks away.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin.

I am going to order a bottle of Permethrin and use it on my next hiking trip.

Biting Bugs

It is not just the inconvenience, but also the disease issue that we should be concerned with. There are a handful of diseases that can be transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes.

Bugs do not have to ruin a hiking or camping trip. A little preventive medicine goes a long way.

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