Monday June 6, 2016
Summer has arrived which means it’s time to explore the great outdoors! But, as you pack your bikini, flip-flops, tents and rucksacks, remember that you are a walking meal for hungry swarms of midges and mosquitoes. Midges in Scotland can cause havoc for hikers and holiday-makers and foreign mosquitoes carry diseases such as Chikungunya, encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria and now Zika virus. There are plenty of theories on how best to repel unwanted insect attention, but here are our favourites:
1. Disgust them with DEET
DEET, or diethyltoluamide, was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 to protect soldiers travelling to insect-infested areas. Mosquitoes and midges exposed to it are unable to locate people or animals because they cannot detect the chemicals we breathe out. Trek 100 is available in a range of strengths suitable for specific climates and conditions. So to throw biting insects off their trail, keep a bottle handy on your travels.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
But literally, don’t sweat at all! Mosquitoes absolutely adore the scent of lactic acid which is secreted from your glands when you break a sweat. One whiff of body odour and they’ll be all over you. Obviously if you’re outdoors, hiking or camping, sweating cannot be avoided. So to mask the scent, throw biting insects off your trail with a spray of TREK.
3.Stink them out
It has long been said that if you eat enough garlic, midges and mosquitoes will steer clear of you. This technique can work since the odour of your breath masks the smell of carbon dioxide you exhale. The sulfur compounds emitted through your skin provide added protection. There are few studies to back up this technique however, and the likelihood is you’ll end up repelling more people than insects!
4. Make a cocktail
Many DIY recipes have been used through the ages to repel mosquitos but this one stands out: some people recommend making a repellent mixture using base of grain alcohol and adding some oils of basil with juniper, palmarosa, citronella, rose geranium, rosemary, myrrh, cedarwood, pine and lemon. This is not to be consumed, but left out in a container in the area you might be enjoying a tastier cocktail in…
5. Avoid bananas
Yes really. Eating bannanas has been known to make people more prone to bites from mosquitoes and midges. The theory goes that when your body processes the banana, the scent comes out on your skin and makes you more attractive to biting insects. So when you head off on a hike, choose to snack on apples or oranges instead.
6. Cause them turbulence
With their tiny wings, midges and mosquitoes struggle to fly in winds any stronger than 5mph, so if you’re planning an excursion, keep an eye on the weather. If there’s a breeze, you can avoid attack. Alternatively, mess with their airspace with a hand-held fan or confuse their sensors with a spray of insect repellent.
7. Stop them in their tracks
In some parts of Scotland, midge swarms can get so dense that the best solution is to block their route to you altogether. You can do this by wearing a net over your face so that they have absolutely no chance of biting you. Our Midge-spec head-net is made with mesh that is so fine that midges have no way of penetrating it. It is also spacious enough for a hat or cap to be worn underneath, to keep it out your eyes. For tropical travellers, our pop-up hat provides added sun protection and folds neatly into a carry-bag.
8. Dress to unimpress
Wear light clothing and make sure you have long sleeves and trousers for areas where ticks might exist. Studies show that mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colours, making those wearing light clothing less of a target. Also, light clothing makes it easier for you to see if you’ve picked up any ticks or other insects while walking outdoors. If you are going to an area where midges will be a problem, consider some additional accessories such as a midge jacket or head net.
9. Play the long game
Midges and mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, but some such as the Asian tiger mosquito, feed during the day. To avoid being caught out, why not wear one of Mosi-off bands on your wrist or ankle. The adjustable bands are treated with dry micro-encapsulated DEET and slowly release a repellent vapour seven hours a day, for up to 14 days. This makes them particularly handy for two-week holidays, and sets your mind at ease if you’re prone to forgetting repellent application.
10. Get rid of standing water
Midges and mosquitoes are masters in the art of multiplying, and only need a teaspoon of standing water to provide a home for their eggs. By making sure there are no stagnant pools nearby, you can reduce the likelihood of beasties hatching around you.
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