Effective mosquito repellant?

I am the favorite food of a mosquito.

In a room with 100 people & one mosquito, the little bugger will find me & bite me – repeatedly – and leave everyone else alone. When I step out into the Great Outdoors, it’s like throwing chum into shark infested waters. If I come back with less than a dozen bites, it’s been a good day.

I’ve tried a variety of chemical repellants with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, the more toxic-sounding the ingredients, the better it works. I know it’s not good to slather that stuff on my skin, but if that’s what it takes to keep hiking from being a bloodletting, so be it. 

  1. If you’re bug bait like me, what repellants work for you? (…and no need to mention citronella, skin-so-soft, essential oils or Deep Woods ‘Off’ – mosquitos plow headfirst through those.)
  2. Has as anyone had any success with those ultrasonic mosquito repellent devices?

Thanks in advance,



  • Comments (13)

    • 4

      i’ve been the target of the mosquito’s wrath my whole life as well. i did a google search and found a website with some reasons why mosquitos are attracted to some more than others.

      it says that people with o type blood are twice as attractive than a type blood and our bodies secrete something that tells mosquitos which type we have. 

      mosquitos can sense carbon dioxide. i am a heavy breather and so that probably is why they come and visit me so much

      mosquitos seem to be attracted to darker colors like green, black, and red. wear whites, tans, and other light colors to avoid them.

      there are things in our sweat that attracts mosquitos as well.

      and probably the biggest contributor on why i am a target is that mosquitos are attracted to those who drink beer. guess i’m always going to be susceptible because that’s something i can’t give up.

      • 3

        Interesting – thanks for digging that up. I’ll research more.

        I was on an elimination diet once & that had the pleasant side-effect of not making me so attractive to mosquitos. So I think it might also have to do with something I eat. However, I was never able to isolate what it was.

        In the meantime, if you see a guy in the woods wearing white, holding his breath and carrying a bottle of wine – that’ll be me. 🙂


    • 3

      I have O blood type. Thanks to too many years of smoking I am a heavy breather. In my personal experience mosquitoes (and pretty much all stinging insects) like white, red, orange and other bright colors. I wear dark green, dark blue, and gray outside and they leave me alone (biting flies, unfortunately, like the darker colors). As for beer, I drink at least two 18 packs a week as I work outside every chance I get. I will also be soaked with sweat within minutes of stepping outdoors if it’s over 80, which is often in mid-Mississippi. I don’t use repellants, and I am rarely bitten by skeeters.

      I think it has to do with one’s own body chemistry. If my non-drinking wife with her A blood type is outdoors with me for even a minute, she will get eaten alive. My oldest son, also a drinker and heavy sweater, is immune to the critters like I am. My youngest son can’t be outdoors for five minutes without getting bit multiple times. 

      Another interesting note: If I do get bitten, a small welt and itch will last about five minutes, while my wife will get half dollar sized welts and itch for days. Crazy!

      • 1

        guess it depends on the person then. 

    • 3

      The song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by the artist Skrillex was observed as a mosquito repellent due to its low-frequency vibrations. The scientists also found that mosquitoes exposed to the song had sex “far less often” than other mosquitos without music. – Source

      You just need to carry around a boom box when hiking through the woods.

    • 4

      I’ve had good experiences with wearable mosquito nets. (I use Coghlan’s Bug Jacket and Bug Pants: note that the jacket has a built-in hood.) They don’t cover the hands and feet, though, which can be an issue: thick gloves and boots might help.

    • 3

      Two things I’ve found very helpful:

      1) A fan, particularly an oscillating fan (which is admittedly not so great for carrying through the woods, but perfect for a deck or a picnic). It’s not because the fan blows away the mosquitoes – it’s because the fan disperses your breath. And your breath is how the mosquitoes find you; the fan makes it much harder for them to target you. I’ve discovered that if I have an oscillating fan on my back deck I don’t even need insect repellant (and if I have guests, I use two fans, one on each side).  

      2) Permethrin on your clothes (should never be used directly on your skin; NEVER use around cats – until it is completely dry, it is toxic to cats and will kill them. Read the label!). I actually think it is a best practice to treat your BOB clothing with permethrin at the beginning of each season to protect you against both mosquitoes and ticks. Read up on how to store the clothing to keep the permethrin effective longer (dark bags, wash on gentle, hang to dry – UV light and abrasion make it wear off more quickly)  I typically hike with long sleeves and long pants, pants tucked in to my socks – if you choose the right fabrics that’s more comfortable even when it is hot – and then I only need to put insect repellent on my wrists and neck. 

      • 1

        I hadn’t thought about a fan working by dispersing your breath. Good to know!

      • 1

        Thank you. I’ll try the fan to see what happens. I’m not familiar with Permethrin, so I will research that too.

    • 2

      With no bug repellent, I usually get about 5 times as many mosquito bites as my wife and daughter, and my son gets 5 times more bites than me. Currently I am using “Herbal Armor” spray for myself and “Ben’s 30% DEET wilderness” spray for my son, and these seem effective without irritating our sensitive skin.  One really important trick I just figured out a month ago after many years is that I have to smear the bug spray on evenly like sunscreen instead of just spritzing here and there.  

      • 1

        Thank you – I’ll definitely check those out. FYI, I was cautioned recently that DEET will dissolve some types of plastic, notably the earcups on ear protection and also linoleum.

      • 2

        It definitely will! I sprayed some DEET on my feet before donning some open-toe Chaco’s, and it melted some of the shoe and left black marks all over my feet.  The next time I waited for the spray to fully dry before putting on the sandals and it was fine.  The label does warn about this but people are notoriously bad about reading labels.