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Looking for a more natural, deet-free solution to keep mosquitoes and no-see-ums at bay? Warmer weather and longer days are fast approaching, and we’re excited for the start of another great season. But with the onset of spring comes one specific challenge that we have found to be a painful nuisance, especially here in Florida – bugs! No-See-Ums especially – and mosquitoes – have been munching on us, and we have the itchy, red welts to show for it.
Also known as biting midges, No-See-Ums are a major nuisance along the Gulf Coast of the Unites States, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. These tiny, flying insects are so small that you cannot see them. They can even get through mesh insect screens! The major medical issue associated with them is an allergic reaction to the bites.
Mosquitoes, of course, can be found all around the world, of course, especially near open bodies of water. In North America, they are less prevalent in hot, dry states like New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. But, they can be found just about everywhere else. Somehow, we seem to find ourselves attractive to them no matter where we go. Like right now while wintering in Florida! These pests can truly make life miserable, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors.
In our attempt to take back control from these nasty bugs and avoid getting covered in itchy red welts, we asked our RV Love community for help. We were inundated with replies sharing some of your best secrets on how to keep these bugs at bay – natural, less toxic treatments preferred. We rounded these great recommendations up, to share the most popular products shared, in this post. Keep this list handy and be prepared for your next RV or camping trip!
Top 10 Tips for Dealing with Mosquitoes and No-See-Ums (Naturally)
1. Skin So Soft by AVON.
This deet-free bug guard was recommended to us by several of you, so we know it must be good.
According to Jerry M, “It’s been used in the South to keep no-see-ums away for years, but now Avon finally got approval to sell it as an insect repellant.”
2. Thermacell Mosquito Repellent.
This no-spray device creates a 20′ mosquito protection zone. So as long as your device is nearby, you don’t need to worry about spraying yourself. It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery which is USB- rechargeable. *Please note, this item contains a warning about not using it around pets or water where there would be fish. Although EPA approved and DEET free, keep the lantern away from uncovered food during operation and avoiding directly inhaling the vapor. Allethrin is highly toxic to fish, bees and cats.
Mike and Sandy V. say, “We bought a product called Thermocell on Amazon. It works well if there is not a breeze. And if the breeze is strong enough the bugs usually aren’t quite as bad.”
This family-safe bug spray made of natural cedar oil and is free of toxins, so it’s safe to use on pets, kids, and even plants!
Robin G. says, “I live in Florida and know what you mean about the no-see-ums and mosquitoes! Dreadful beasts! I use, and SWEAR BY, Cedarcide!! It’s NON-TOXIC and will not only repel the buggers, but will KILL a host of bugs!! SAFE for kids and pets, too!! Great products. Any of the sprays are good. If you don’t mind smelling like a hamster cage, as I call it, it’s well worth it!”
4. Iguana Oil.
This special outdoor survival formula is made from 100% natural substances by a small business that started in Florida, so you know that they are serious about stopping bug bites!
Allen says, “Iguana Oil for bug bites. Started right here in Jupiter, Florida, by a woman whose son was unable to tolerate Deet. It contains eucalyptus oil, and is both a repellent and itch soother. It does take a lot, and you will smell like a hippy, but it’s environmentally friendly. Happy trails!”
5. Ranger Ready Repellent.
There are two types of Ranger Ready available. One uses picaridin, which is a safer alternative to deet, and is the body-worn repellent. The other uses permethrin, and is applied to clothes, gear, and tents.
Candance G. says, “I live in Florida and Ranger Ready Repellent works great for no-see-ums!”
6. No Natz
A deet-free bug repellent that is made from botanical oils such as rosemary, lemongrass, geranium, citronella, olive, and coconut oils. This small, family owned business is committed to creating a product that repels gnats, mosquitos, and no-see-ums.
Charles says, “Get some ‘No Natz.’ It’s made by a family in Georgia. Essential oils mostly. Smells good and really works. Money well spent!”
7. Eucalyptus Oil.
A great option for those of you who are looking for a homemade, natural remedy. *Eucalyptus is toxic to animals, so be sure to keep away from your furry friends.
Mark P. recommends: “In 4 oz of water, add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil and 20 Drops of lemongrass oil. Put in a spray bottle and spray yourself down with it. It works!”
8. Bounce Dryer Sheets.
Mike S. recommends: “Rub all exposed skin with Bounce dryer sheets, then put in your pocket. Reapply if you start getting bit again. Knotted pantyhose tops under a hat keeps the no-see-ums out of your hair. Tuck your pants into your socks. And use rubber bands around your wrists over your long sleeves. Good Luck!”
9. Victoria’s Secret Body Spray.
Here’s an unusual remedy that will keep the bugs away, while also keep you smelling great!
Matt T. says, “Please don’t laugh, but Victoria’s Secret’s ‘Amber Romance’ will do the trick like no other. You might make some new friends as well down here in the sweaty South!”
10. Baby Powder.
You may already have some of this at home. It may not work as well if you prefer to show off your tan, but it’s inexpensive and worth a try!
Dee R. says of this recommendation: “I’ve had very good experiences with baby powder for no-see-ums and mosquitoes. Just be sure to cover all visible skin. I think it works due to the fineness of the powder, and I’ve watched the mosquitos look for areas to bite when I have the powder on. Good luck!”
And there you have it! Ten ‘deet-free’ tips for tackling mosquitoes and no-see-ums.
Thanks so much to everyone who sent in their tips and tricks. We’re excited to give a few of these a try this year and avoid being munched on!
If you have tried any of the above suggestions, or have more suggestions that weren’t on the list, please let us know in the comments!
26 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips for Natural Bug Repellents”
What do you recommend for getting rid of scars left behind on legs from these bites?
We don’t have any specific products to recommend for that. Maybe some vitamin E, or other skin health products. Fortunately, we have not had any long term scars from them. Wishing you luck.
Be sure and read the label on Thermacell. There is a warning about not using it around pets or water where there could be fish. I found this information on wired.com
Although the Thermacell is EPA approved and uses allethrin (a synthetic version of a substance found in Chrysanthemums) instead of DEET, warnings include keeping the lantern away from uncovered food during operation and avoiding directly inhaling the vapor. Allethrin is also highly toxic to fish, bees and cats.Jul 23, 2012
Thermacell Lantern: The DEET-Free, No-Spray Insect Repellent
Thank you so much for sharing!
You can also check out Betsy’s Bee Stuff. She makes an all natural bug repellant called “Go Outdoors”. Uses various herbs and oils in a beeswax base. Check her web site
http://www.betsysbeestuff.com. Note: I am her husband so no secrets here.
Hi and thank you for sharing! We will check it out 🙂
99% garlic, mix with water, repels tics, and yard fleas, as well acording to description. Works good for mosquitoes ????Sold on Amazon
Good for vampires, too
Eucalyptus is toxic for dogs be careful using this around areas that dogs may be in contact with
Good to know – thank you for sharing!
I’m glad to see this caveat. I am a professional dog trainer as well as an owner of three dogs of my own. I would have tried this for sure if someone hadn’t warned me that it’s unsafw for dogs.
Some good ones on here for sure! i am big on natural products, its really common sence if you think on it and the essential oils work…the ones spoken of for sure and there are others, sometimes it depends on where you are. But please please don’t use bounce, i promise you its more toxic than you know, do your research and not from the people selling it but from the folks who stay healthy using simple God given whole non modified ingredients. Happy Trails, it is the season!
Thank you! Yes we have started hearing about the toxins in Bounce, need to look into that some more… we haven’t tried it personally as these were all suggestions from our RV LOVE community, but like the idea of using natural products and essential oils. Nature has a cure for just about everything! Happy Trails to you too!
Red cedar is of course natural. It is however a toxin and many people have allergic reaction to it.
Thank you for sharing that!
I have found that”REPEL” found in most stores has no deet, and is an effective repellant…
Thank you – this is great to know!
The picture you posted is a “non-biting Crane Fly!!
Oh geez – really!? Which one – the main image on the blog post with the green background? You are a better bug expert than us!
The one with the white background is a crane fly.
First thing I noticed! Thank you for commenting.
BTW: The insect in the accompanying photo is a crane fly which actually hunts mosquitos.
Oh dear – we had better fix that – thank you! Someone else said the same!
Crane flies are not mosquito predators. That is an urban legend. They feed on flower nectar.