Insect Repellents For Hunters
Answers About Insect Repellents
Why should I use
repellents while hunting or outdoors in general?
can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry viruses such as Lyme,
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and
virus that can cause serious illness and even death. Using insect repellent
allows you to continue to play and work outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito
and tick bites.
occurs in temperate forested regions of the northeastern, north central, and
Pacific coastal regions of North America.
It is spread by ticks in the areas.
Mountain wood tick can be found in the following states: Idaho,
North Eastern California, Middle and Eastern Oregon,
Middle and Eastern Washington, Western and Middle Montana, Middle and Western
Nevada, Utah, Western and Middle Colorado, Northern
Northern New Mexico
West Nile disease is spread by mosquitoes and is
spreading rapidly across the U.S. by birds.
When should I use Insect repellent while hunting?
anytime you are going to be outdoors during active insect seasons.. Even if you
don’t notice mosquitoes and/or ticks there is a good chance that they are
around. Many of the mosquitoes that carry virus bite between dusk and dawn or in
shaded forested areas during the day. Ticks carrying viruses bite day or night.
If you are outdoors around these times of the day, it is especially important to
How often should repellent be reapplied?
In general you
should re-apply repellent if mosquitoes are trying to bite or anytime you are in
the woods where disease carrying ticks live. Always follow the directions on the
product you are using. Heavy perspiration or getting wet from dripping rain may
mean that you need to re-apply repellent more frequently.
How does insect repellent work?
Female insects bite people and animals because they need the protein found in
blood to help develop their eggs. Mosquitoes are attracted to people by skin
odors and carbon dioxide from breath. The active ingredients in repellents make
the person unattractive for feeding. Repellents do not kill mosquitoes.
Repellents are effective only at short distances from the treated surface, so
you may still see mosquitoes flying nearby.
Types of Insect Repellent
Which mosquito repellents work best?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using products that have been
shown to work in scientific trials and that contain active ingredients. By using
products which have been approved by the Environmental Protection (EPA)
according to label directions there is less risk of risk to one’s health. The
two of these which have been registered with EPA are: DEET and Picaridin.
Picaridin is proven to be as effective
as DEET, but is more pleasant to use because it has a light, clean feel and is
virtually odorless. Picaridin is marketed exclusively as Cutter AdvancedTM
Insect Repellent. The product is now approved in every state except New York and
approval there is immanent.
How does the percentage of active ingredient in a product relate
to the length of protection it gives?
the more active ingredient a product contains the longer it provides protection
from mosquito bites. DEET is an effective active ingredient found in many
repellent products. A 2002 study by Fradin and
Day indicates the following:
DEET provided an average of 5 hours of protection
• 20% DEET provided almost 4 hours of protection
• 6.65% DEET provided almost 2 hours of protection
• 4.75% DEET provided roughly 1 and a half hours of protection
examples represent results from only one study of one product but may provide an
indication of how other products will act.
What is Permethrin?
products are recommended by the CDC for use on clothing, shoes, camo nets, and
camping gear. It is highly effective as an insecticide and as a repellent.
Permethrin repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and clothing
thus treated can retain this effect after repeated laundering. Permethrin
should be applied following the label instructions. Some clothes are available
pretreated with permethrin.
repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be
outdoors or carry it with you for reapplication.
That being said:
Just because the EPA approves of a
pesticide doesn't mean it is safe. It has pulled nearly 100 pesticides off the
market that were previously available to the public. Many of the pesticides
available right now haven't been around long enough for us to know if they are
dangerous or not in the long run.
Natural Insect Repellent Options
natural products based on cedar oil and citrus oils are also available.
Something to remember is most animals do not like the odor of citrus fruits
therefore will not be attracted by them. Also in most wooded areas of the U.S.
citrus in not a naturally occurring odor.
based repellent Oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD), is also registered with EPA. Two
recent scientific publications, indicate that when oil of lemon eucalyptus was
tested against mosquitoes found in the US it provided protection similar to
repellents with low concentrations of DEET. I.e. it is less effective than high
concentrations of DEET and Picaridin. It may not be as effective against very
aggressive mosquitoes and ticks.
Neem - A completely natural organically
grown insect repellent available from: mercola.com
– Inexpensive splash-on, when dry mosquitoes do not
like the otherwise pleasant small. Isopropyl Alcohol. Carry with as sweat will
remove the protection over time.
National Forest workers rub this on their boots and
paint legs, works well but has not been tested to determine if it will spook
Marigolds in the Yard -
Plant marigolds around the yard, the
flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in that garden
also to help ward off bugs without using insecticides. Harvest the leaves and
flowers and whip them up in a food grinder with 50/50 water rubbing alcohol let sit for a week in the
refrigerator then filter through a coffee filter into a clean plastic jar. Spray
this liquid on as you would any spray and let dry. Mosquitoes hate it and it is
all natural. (If allergic to Marigold this might not work for you)
Military Choice -
Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half
with alcohol. Avon now makes a insect repellent based on this formula. Deer
might consider the smell an alarm though.
20 drops Eucalyptus oil
20 drops Cedar wood oil
* 10 drops Tea Tree oil
* 10 drops Geranium oil
* 2 oz. carrier ( such as Jojoba or Alovera )
Real Vanilla –
You will need real vanilla such as sold in Mexico (if
you live close to the border go get it or get a friend to bring some back). It
can also be found at health food stores and some big chains. Cut half and half
with water and use any other repellent. Test the mix one small area for skin
sensitivity, if it passes use just as you should any other chemical.
Deer might think this one is food and
come looking for you.
– Partially fill a jar with a mix of mint
herbs such as catnip, spearmint, pennyroyal and fill the rest of the way with
apple cider. Set on shelf for a couple of weeks and shake often. Filter and use
the liquid as other products. This one should not spook deer as they smell the
ingredients in the woods.
Pyrethrum Based Products –
It is a commercial natural extract of the marigold plant. It is very safe for
use around children and pets but it is quite expensive.
Always read the directions on the insect repellent container if using commercial products If your
skin reacts to an insect repellent with redness or rash, discontinue use, wash
treated skin, and then call your local poison control center.
If insect repellent or insecticide gets in the eyes flush with
water for 15 min. and consult health care provide To reach a Poison Control
Center near you: 1-800-222-1222
When you go to a doctor, take the repellent with you.
Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
People can, and should, use both a sunscreen and an insect repellent when they are
going to be in the sun. Follow the instructions on the package for proper
application of each product. In general, the recommendation is to apply
sunscreen first, followed by repellent. The CDC does not recommend using pre
mixed products that contain sunscreen and repellent.
insect repellent you are using does not prevent a tick bite it is best
to remove them with tweezers only (bent, "needle-nose" tweezers are best).
Grasp them with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently
pull. Do not squeeze
their bodies; do not use alcohol, nail polish, hot matches, petroleum jelly, or
other methods to remove ticks. These methods may cause their gut contents along
with the Lyme or Spotted Fever disease bacterium to be injected under the skin.
Good hunters always keep a log with information from every
hunt. this is not only good for scouting use. If you get a tick bite this log is a good place to record the date and
type if you know it. This date might be valuable for the doctor later on if some
kind of reaction or infection occurs.
Chiggers (Red Bugs)
Chiggers are the larvae of harvest mites.
Like ticks and spiders, mites go through three biological stages in their life
cycle: Mite larvae hatches from eggs and , develop into nymphs then adults.
Nymph and adult harvest mites feed mostly on plant life, but in the larval
stage, many of the are parasitic to animals. Chiggers are picked up from grass.
They depend on the animal to gather the protein it needs grow to the nymph
Chiggers do not burrow under your skin, as
many people believe; they feed on the fluids in skin cells. Instead of burrowing
to a blood capillary they attach themselves to a skin pore or hair follicle and
inject a digestive enzyme that ruptures the cell walls. The enzyme hardens the
surrounding skin tissue. The whole process irritates the skin, causing an itchy
red bump that continues to cause discomfort for several days. Chiggers are many
times they are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Because they can’t be
seen people think they got under the skin.
Chiggers are attracted to concealed, moist
conditions, so they tend to attach to skin under tight clothing, such as socks
and underwear, belt line, or in concealed areas of the body, such as the groin
and the armpits. Wear loose clothing to decrease the chance of chigger bites
when in the woods, fields or other infested areas. You should also take a shower
as soon as you get home from an outdoor expedition, to remove any chiggers
before they attach to your skin. One cap full of Lysol in a tub of water seems
to kill red bugs.
In North America, disease passage to
humans is not a risk, but chigger bites easily get infected when scratched. You
should keep the irritated area clean and refrain as much as possible from
Anti itch compounds such as Itch-X help
alleviate the chigger itch pain.
Chiggers are initially repelled by the
same insect repellents as other parasites.
If you have a favorite DIY based repellent – or any other subject –
and we will share it with the world of hunting.
There is a lot of good information on commercial
on the repellents safety page.