Sunday, August 18, 2013

The 6 prongs of mosquito defense

There are many flying pests that bite, but the mosquito is the most common one where I live.  It's also the most annoying.  And I am very allergic to its bite.

So, I have a multi-layered defense system that enables me to go outside in mosquito-infested territory, also known as my backyard.

1.  Hide available territory.
Wear long pants and long sleeves (in light colors the scientists say) at dawn and dusk (prime mosquito time).

2.  Chemical warfare.
The mosquito repellent that works best for me is 3M's Ultrathon in lotion form.  I think that this was originally developed for the military, and it is hardcore chemicals.  But it rocks!

3.  Swift action to treat wounds.
I use AfterBite, an easily obtained ammonia based medicine in a skinny applicator.  If I apply it topically on the affected area soon after the attack, my personal anecdotal evidence has shown that itching is reduced by more than 50%.
4.  Repeated wound treatment.
Each evening I apply topical Benadryl to any bite area that continues to itch. (These are typically bites that missed an AfterBite treatment or are directly in contact with clothing that rubs.)

5.  Bandages.
After applying the Benadryl, I apply waterproof bandaids to protect the above mentioned bite areas from clothing or my own fingers.  (By the end of a weeklong Boundary Waters trip, I look like the walking dead covered in tattoo bandaids.)

6.  Oral Medication.  (Only mandatory on camping trips)
Before going to sleep I take oral Benadryl.  I read somewhere that you are not supposed to use the topical Benadryl and the oral Benadryl at the same time, but I do it only for a few days each year, so I figure it's ok.  And if it's not, I'm not sure I want to know.

(Prongs 4-6 ensure a night's sleep uninterrupted by itching.)

There you have it, my personal Star Wars defense system against mosquitos.  Am I missing any steps?  Let me know!


  1. A cautionary tale: Wendy and I didn't have to use any bug stuff at all on the backpack part of our trip. However, last night in the Badlands things were bad. Since we were going to bed soon, we tried this "natural" lemon eucalyptus stick she bought at REI and it was AWFUL (IMHO). I had to hide the clothes it got on away from my other stuff the rest of the trip home so it didn't contaminate anything else. Stay away from that stuff - I would have preferred to have DEET on me and I hate DEET.

  2. I have an allergic reaction to mosquito bites and other bug bites also. Plus they love me. It's so annoying so I understand your dilemma. You, however, have a much better plan to deal with it than I do.
    It's funny I should read this today though as I'm sitting here with about 20 bites on my legs today - not sure what they are but they aren't mosquito bites. Yesterday I wore jeans and I about died from the itching. I wised up today and wore capris so they don't touch the bites.
    Benedryl is my life line this week!