Mosquito repellant on the down low
June 30, 2018 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Mosquitos love to bite me. Despite being blood type A and normal weight, I get 10x more bites than anyone I know. When I'm spending time outside, I wear deet. However, I am averaging 6 bites a day from getting in and out of the car, the random bug that snuck into my building/office. Is their a body wash/natural repellant that can help?

Mosquitos just love me. On the plus side, if I stay near my child, he doesn't need bug spray. However, in a meeting last week, the two mosquitos in the room flocked towards me and bit me repeatedly on front of senior management. Please help me make it through any day without getting multiple bites. I'd been living in relatively bug free Montana but now I am trapped in big filled but safe Miwdest. I am not supposed to wear perfume/But spray at work because. However, what I wear will not likely impact the product the facility makes. I'd like to remain close to scent free.

I hear things like Thyme eucalyptus cologne inhibit hug bites. Maybe their body wash does? Can youbrecommemd a not very stinky fix to the constant bites? My dad has the same issue. I wonder if I have a genetic issue that causes me to make more CO2 or octenol than others. Either way, I get an order of magnitude more bites than more people and it is impacting my career to be itchy. Please recommend ways to keep them at bay.
posted by Kalmya to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am similarly attractive to mosquitoes and don't know why (luckily, I spend most of my time in California now, so I don't have to deal with mosquitoes often). If you're inside, the thing that is most helpful for me is sitting in the path of a fan, because mosquitoes are pretty weak at flying. Maybe you could even use one of those small fans that plugs into a USB port.
posted by pinochiette at 6:53 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

NPR just updated / republished this article on repelling mosquitoes today. Lemon eucalyptus and a Victoria's Secret perfume had some scientific results.
posted by Fig at 6:55 PM on June 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

Science could probably come up with a better skin mosquito patch by studying me. I would bet I attract a way higher %.
posted by Kalmya at 7:12 PM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also worth considering that you may just be reacting worse than some - do you already take daily allergy medicine? If not, it might be worth trying. It won't necessarily make them bite you less, but it could help make you react less.
posted by brainmouse at 7:40 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could try eliminating sugar from your diet. There is some evidence that mosquitoes are attracted to people who have a high sugar diet because the sugar changes the bacteria on their skin, and the mosquitoes can sense that type of body odor.

You could try carrying a small fan around and using that - mosquitoes are very weak flyers and the breeze will discourage them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:46 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Completely unscientific tips I learned after working in forestry and having my sanity checked on a daily basis from hordes of bugs:

-Consume less sugar and potassium
-Don't wear red
-The less scent products the better, ie. deodorant, perfume, cologne
-Watkins kicks Deet's ass

There was one old hippy guy I worked with once who made his own out of eucalyptus, lemon and gin, swore by it, but I don't imagine walking around smelling like gin is great for work in an office.
posted by mannequito at 12:41 AM on July 1, 2018

Avon skin so soft unscented bug spray and sunscreen. I have used this and found it works well. The active ingredient is picaridin, which is not smelly.
posted by medusa at 3:29 AM on July 1, 2018

I'd wear the Cutter lemon eucalyptus or the Off Deep Woods with 25 % DEET and if anyone at the office complained, I mention that I am concerned about West Nile Virus and have experienced bites in the office recently. This is a health issue.

Also, you might check out permetrin as a spray or wash for your clothing. I does nothing on your skin, but it gives an amount of protection on clothing (do not use it on underwear).
If you check out clothing that is advertised as "bug repellent," it usually has permetrin on it. It also must be renewed after a number of washings.
posted by TrishaU at 3:35 AM on July 1, 2018

I’ll add vitamin B to the not-scientifically-validated list. Before I was diagnosed as deficient and put on supplements, I had the same super-attraction you’re describing. The summer afterwards, I wondered why it was such a low mosquito year... and then that’s how it’s been every summer since.
posted by daisyace at 5:43 AM on July 1, 2018

I am a mosquito magnet, and I live in South Florida. One thing that works for me is to take Benadryl as soon as I notice I've been bitten. The other is to treat bites with heat as soon as I notice them (If at home I have a very hot shower, but in an office setting the way to do it is to get a cup of coffee, put a metal spoon in it for a minute, then press the hot spoon on the bite.)

No amount or variety of repellent has ever prevented the mosquitoes from biting me to start with.
posted by Daily Alice at 8:57 AM on July 1, 2018

OP, I can totally relate. No matter where I go or what I try, I always end up with a million mosquito bites, and significantly, significantly more than anyone else around me.

Here's a good list that breaks down the myths. The two biggest things that attract mosquitos are 1) body heat and 2) carbon dioxide.

So, not only do dark clothes NOT attract more mosquitos the way everyone thinks, but science tell us that black clothing (not white!) can actually keep us cooler in hot, windy weather - and in turn make us a little less enticing to mosquitoes:

What this means is relatively straightforward: black clothing absorbs sunlight and the heat radiating from your body, but if it is loose-fitting, and there is wind, the wind convects the heat away faster than it is absorbed. White clothing reflects sunlight, but also reflects internal heat back towards your body, so the net effect under identical conditions is less cooling than if you wore black. While it’s true you don’t often find fluffy black animals in deserts, you don’t find many white animals, either–typically you find animals that blend into the background. So it appears that if heat gain and camouflage are in conflict, the need to avoid predation outweighs other considerations. On the other hand, desert-dwelling nomadic people such as the Tuaregs wear loose-fitting black clothing, and have been doing so for a very, very long time. If there were an advantage to wearing white clothes, you’d certainly expect they’d have figured that out by now. (link)

Again, note that the above applies for *hot but breezy/windy* conditions. Hot and wind-free conditions are another matter. However, I've heard others say they do have a lot of success with avoiding mosquitoes than when they stick to lightweight, loose fitting clothes. Anecdotally, I've found this to be true for myself.

Other things that help:
- Avoid eating excess calories that will cause your body to produce extra body heat
- Do more mindful, deep breathing to regulate the amount of CO2 in your system

I wonder if you are also like me in that you may have hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). This makes it extra challenging to avoid mosquitoes - see this publication from the Laboratory of Entomology in the Netherlands.
posted by nightrecordings at 10:08 AM on July 1, 2018

> Watkins kicks Deet's ass
From the Watkins link you provided:
This lotion works to prevents biting insects such as mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums, deer flies, and ticks.
  • Contains 28.5% DEET.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:55 PM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am a mosquito magnet and I have found really good results with picaridin spray. Look for an unscented one. The Repel brand Tick Defense (also for mosquitos) smells faintly like air-popped popcorn (to me, anyway) while you apply it.
posted by jenjenc at 4:40 AM on July 2, 2018

Here to say that b1 supplements worked anecdotally. They're not super pricey so it'd be so fairly cheap check to see if they help you
posted by theRussian at 4:27 PM on July 2, 2018

A new, deetless repellant is PiActive, excellent to repel ticks as well as mosquitos and other insects, with no odor.
posted by Enid Lareg at 10:54 PM on July 2, 2018

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