Wildflowers, Sunsets and…….BUGS!
I know, I know, we are in the National Forests and it’s summer time, what should I expect??
As I write this Blog…
we have been on the road in our RV for seven weeks . We have been in four states with more to come. The majority of our time has been spent in the National Forests in campgrounds or “boon-docking” (out in the forest away from a populated area). We have seen some beautiful country that includes snow capped mountains, mountain rivers and streams, wildflower filled meadows and wide open spaces. Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? You know what else comes with this??? BUGS!!
It was a wet winter in most of the Western United States and so it’s been a late spring and the bugs are out in force. In Durango Colorado we had biting gnats, in Wyoming we had swarms of mosquitos and in Montana we have biting flies! The good news is, mornings are usually “bug free” because it’s been cool (down right cold in Wyoming!) Mid-morning until around 7pm is prime bug time so we usually head out somewhere “bug free” or in the later afternoons we have a screened in enclosure that we can sit in to enjoy snacks and reading time. You make do in nature!
Hiking and fishing
When we have been out hiking or fishing during the daytime we do have some sort of “repellant” on to keep them at bay. My body does not like mosquito bites! Ed is over them in one day but by the second day I’m swollen up with a large, itching welt and it lasts for three days. So, needless to say I’m a paranoid person around mosquitos (high count was fourteen bites…ugh).
As you can imagine I’m not a fan of the typical repellents loaded with DEET. Anything we put on our skin absorbs quickly into the body and into the blood stream. So, I’ve done some testing on this trip to see what works for mosquitos! As far as the biting gnats and flies, the best we can do is get inside or head to a non-bug area because these guys don’t seem to stop without the heavy duty DEET repellent.
I know a lot of you are going to be outside this summer and may be facing some bug issues like us so here is what I’ve found works and the percentage and time it seems to work.
First Choice – Baobab Butter
This is a moisturizer made by the Nuskin company (full disclosure, I’m a Nuskin rep and earn a small percentage when you purchase this product). It is made from the Baobab tree of Africa. It works about 75% on mosquitos (I’ve caught a few landing that I relish squishing 🙂 and for about one hour or until scent is diminished ( unless it’s a “swarm” then I head inside). I love the smell and the moisturizing effect too! (side note, .25 cents of every jar bought goes back to the indigenous peoples of Africa to keep these trees sustainable.) Click here for more info http://chrismckee.nsproducts.com
Second Choice – Essential Oils
There are many “recipes”…
for essential oils blends to use as repellents. These work about 75% for about one hour as well unless it’s a “swarm”. Here are some common oils to use with 4oz. of witch hazel and 4 oz. of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle with 40 drops of a combination of oils. I use Nuskin oils because of the purity, click here for more info http://chrismckee.myepochoils.com
- Lavender Oil 10 drops- this is the most versatile of all essential oils and has many benefits on the skin. This can also be used on the skin after a bug bite to soothe itching.
- Lemon Oil 10 drops- this should be applied AFTER sunscreen as citrus oils can make you more susceptible to sun burn.
- Peppermint oil 10 drops- this is one of the oldest used oils and has wonderful properties for many things including bug repellant on plants and animals.
- Citronella oil 10 drops- you may be familiar with citronella candles to repel mosquitos and that helps as well as adding the oil to you natural bug repellent.
- Tea Tree Oil 10 drops- from the Australian tree this is a medicinal oil and I have used this after I’m bit and it seems to relieve itching and accelerate healing.
Third Choice – Natural store bought repellents
We have tried several “natural” repellents and the results are about 50% for 2 hours. Use for moderate mosquito exposure they work pretty good but not for the “swarms”! I actually don’t trust “Natural” on a label most of the time because there are many “natural” substances that can be harmful!
Final Choice – DEET spray
Have I used some DEET spray? YES! I hate to but I hate mosquito bites more. Cover up with long sleeve shirts (unless it’s too warm). Spray your clothing, not my skin. Never spray your face or neck. When possible use one of the above suggestions instead. DEET is a know neurotoxin and I HATE using it but after suffering for day’s with fourteen mosquito bites I succumbed 🙁
The bottom line is, I LOVE being outside in the mountains and bugs are part of summer. We realize that we have to share this great outdoors with natures critters as well! We hope you all are enjoying some fun in the summer sun and nature and as bug free as possible!
See you down the road…