33 Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away While Camping: Myths Busted!

I recently went on a backpacking trip to the Uinta mountains with my family, and although the mountains and meadows and forests stunning, one downside to the trip were the mosquitoes.

As soon as we got to the campsite, we were swarmed with mosquitoes. The kind of swarming where you have dozens of mosquitoes competing for your eyes and ears. That high-pitched mosquito whine is very disconcerting, especially when you hear it, constantly. Fortunately, it was so beautiful and amazing, that it overshadowed the mosquito problem.


There’s always DEET, right? DEET is a chemical that is effective as a mosquito repellent, but it is also a neurotoxin that is thought to block mosquito scent receptors (although no study is actually conclusive on how DEET works). There’s a lot of concern about whether DEET and other repellants are dangerous–because of this, I wondered what natural methods to repel bugs were out there and decided to do some research.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

As I’ve researched, I’ve noticed that many sources have the same information, but none talk about how effective these natural bug repellent methods really are! I don’t want to send you into the wilderness with 10 types of essential oils unless they actually work! So, I’ll be busting myths along the way.

  1. Mosquitoes
    1. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
    2. Geraniol Oil
    3. Catnip Oil
    4. Garlic: Effective for Vampires, and for Mosquitoes
    5. Indian Prickly Ash Essential Oil
    6. Thyme Oil
    7. Leave the Bananas
    8. Blame the Beer
    9. Mosquito Nets
    10. Long Pants, Long Socks, Long-sleeve Shirts
    11. Sealing Tent Zippers
    12. Clove Oil
    13. Neem Oil
    14. Citronella
    15. If You Are an Identical Twin, Bring Your Twin as a Decoy
    16. Personal Oil Diffusers
    17. Burn a Mosquito Coil
  2. Ticks
    1. Nootkatone
    2. BioUD
    3. Check Your Friend’s Blood Type
    4. Avoid Danger Tick Zones
    5. Avoid High Tick Population Seasons
    6. Wear Long Pants Tucked Into Your Socks (Embrace Frumpy)
  3. Ants
    1. Diatomaceous Earth
    2. Wear Ant Armor
    3. Watch Your Step
    4. Mint Oil
  4. Bees
    1. No Drinks for the Bees
    2. Hide Your Food Trash
    3. No Sudden Moves
    4. Stay Away From Flowering Trees
  5. Gnats
    1. Avoid Stagnant Water
    2. Use Mosquito Repellent for Biting Midges


“I love mosquitoes” -Nobody

Mosquitoes are the bane of most camping trips. I love camping, but it’s a pretty big downer to have mosquitoes trying to enter your eyes, nose, ears, and get at your waist where your shirt meets your pants.

There are lots of methods of repellent, and what’s difficult about this is that different types of mosquitoes will respond differently to different methods–so you will have to experiment with the mosquitoes in your area.

A note of caution. Even though these chemicals come from plants or other recognizable sources, they can still be dangerous. For example, some undiluted essential oils can cause irritation to your skin. Always exercise caution in applying anything to your skin or around your eyes. This advice is not endorsed by the FDA and should only be considered to be from the personal opinion of the author.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

Also one of the few essential oils approved by the EPA, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) has varying success rates in different studies. In this study, OLE had a 95% effectiveness (compared to DEET… this means that they got a couple of bites) for 3 hours. While the DEET in comparison lasted 7 hours with 100% effectiveness. (source)

You can find mosquito repellants with OLE in Cutter mosquito repellants: check out some here on Amazon.

In another study, OLE (called by its active chemical in the study: PMD) showed no effectiveness difference between itself and DEET, lasting from 6 to 8 hours (source)


Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) is not the same as Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. The repellent part of OLE is a chemical called PMD. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil has PMD only in small quantities, so these two should not be confused. (but I don’t blame you if you were confused since it’s basically a rearrangement of the same words.)

Geraniol Oil

Geraniol can be put in a bug spray, but it is also put in candles or as an essential oil which can be diffused.

In the same study examining the repelling powers of citronella, Geraniol was found to have a 50% repellency rate for mosquitoes when using a candle but had a repellency rate of 97% for a diffuser. (source)

Geraniol oil is commercially successful, meaning you can easily find it at Walmart. It is harvested from the essential oils from multiple plants and is a natural alternative to DEET.

In particular, the Cutter brand sells many natural mosquito repellants with the primary active ingredient being Geraniol oil. (see some at Amazon).

Personal Experience:

We have some mosquito repellant I just linked to on Amazon with Geraniol Oil and I can tell you that it is better than nothing, but it’s not as effective as DEET. We have the really nasty tiger mosquito in our area and I’ve found that wearing the Cutter repellant is around 30-50% effective while DEET is 100% effective.

Catnip Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Catnip essential oil is super cool! It can be hydrogenated and used as a lotion or a spray, and it has fantastic mosquito repellent properties. In fact, it is one of the few “natural” substances certified by the EPA. For some mosquitoes, the repellent was effective for about 8 hours! (source)

The study showed that catnip oil at 15% concentration was most effective and lasted the longest.

If you’re choosing between essential oils to try as a mosquito repellent, you should try catnip oil. This is a 100% undiluted essential oil here (check it out on Amazon). (Make sure to dilute it before using it)


A commonly touted “myth” is that catnip oil is 10x more effective in DEET. In many studies I looked at, though, DEET still lasts longer and is more universally hated by more species of mosquitoes. This study, in particular, found that catnip oils effectiveness ranged dramatically. It’s definitely worth a try to see if it works on your brand of mosquito in your area…

Personal Experience:

We actually tried this. I bought catnip oil and mixed it with other oils (and a carrier oil) and I can tell you that Texas mosquitoes don’t seem to mind catnip one bit. It’s actually a VERY smelly oil, too. Not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely not in a good way either.

You basically have to mix it with other oils that smell okay and are less stinky for it to be bearable.

As far me, I’m still on the hunt for a DEET alternative.

Garlic: Effective for Vampires, and for Mosquitoes

Study Supported Methods:

Garlic, when applied to your skin actually has significant repellent power. Several studies show that garlic oil acts as a repellent to several different species of mosquito (source). Woohoo! Natural repellents for the win!

One downside to this method is that you smell like garlic, which isn’t exactly the smell people associate with words like romance.

Another issue is that the length of time of effectiveness is short. In the above study, the garlic oil repellent only lasted for almost an hour (although other studies report longer repellent times with different types of mosquitoes). Your mileage may vary. I’d go with a less stinky and more repellent method, personally.

Where to Find it:

You can find garlic in any grocery store in the United States, and in many herbal shops you can find garlic oil or on Amazon.


One long-standing myth you’ll see everywhere is that by eating garlic, mosquitoes will be less attracted to you. While this is true of people, it is not true of mosquitoes. This myth was probably propagated by Italian chefs, and by the garlic pill industry since the evidence suggests that eating garlic has no effect at all as a mosquito repellent (source).

One caveat is that the study admits that perhaps more time needed to pass for the garlic to take effect. Another is that not all species of mosquito were tested. Also, it’s unknown whether there’s a tipping point where it will only make a difference if you eat a ton of garlic.

As someone who knows, it’s a dangerous thing to eat a proverbial ton of garlic, for other non-mosquito related reasons. In any case, you can skip the garlic pills before going outside on your camping trip.

Indian Prickly Ash Essential Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Zanthoxylum Limonella (also known as Zanthoxylum Rhetsa, and also known as Makaen) is a specific type of tree of the Zanthoxylum family. The essential oil of this tree can be combined with mustard oil to make a mosquito repellant. At 30% concentration, the limonella essential oil in a mustard oil base was effective at repelling mosquitoes for 5 hours (source).

5 hours is pretty good! If it means you don’t have to smell like DEET, this could be awesome!

Another study, however, showed that a Zanthoxylum Limonella mixture only provided 2 hours of complete repellency (source).

Where to Find it:

I was only able to find essential oil of this specific type of plant here from this UK site here. Otherwise, you can find essential oils from trees in the same family listed as Zanthoxylum, or sometimes Xanthoxylum essential oil–it’s unknown whether other plants in the same genus will have the same effect, though. Another name for Zanthoxylum Armatum oil is Timur or Rutaceae.


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Thyme Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Thyme oil, in one study, offered protection against “blood-starved” mosquitoes for 2 hours. (source)


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Leave the Bananas

Study Supported Methods:

You may have heard when you were growing up to not eat bananas before you go outside because they attract mosquitoes.

This is one of those things that doesn’t sound like it could possibly be true. One study ventured to find out, and they found out that it is actually legitimate!

The study found that those who eat bananas had significantly more contact with mosquitoes than those who didn’t. It didn’t matter how many bananas they ate, just that they had eaten bananas. For those lucky people who aren’t attractive to mosquitoes, eating bananas had little to no effect. (source)


You might have heard that bananas attract mosquitoes, but you might also have heard that they actually repel them. Thanks to this study and others, we can dispel that as a myth.

Blame the Beer

Study Supported Methods:

It turns out that at least for mosquitoes that are carriers for Malaria, that they are much more attracted if you’re drinking beer! (source)

This may not come as surprise to many of you, but your suspicions that the mosquitoes are also looking for a drink are finally vindicated.

If you want to give the mosquitoes less of a reason to come visit, leave the keg at home on this camping trip.


The funny thing about this is that one myth out there is that beer actually repels mosquitoes. This myth was definitely started either by pranksters or by mosquito infiltrates.

Mosquito Nets

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Mosquito nets come in many different forms. Some act as a helmet that you put over your head so you can walk around the campsite and avoid getting mosquitoes in your eyes, others are called “bed nets”, and are suspended enclosing you in a bed. Others are nets that you can suspend around you and your campsite.

The holes are small enough that mosquitoes can’t pass through but you can still see (okay) outside the net.

In the trip I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the mosquitoes were so bad that my brother and his sons wore mosquito nets while the mosquitoes were out, and we were all jealous. We had mosquitoes fluttering about our faces while they had some protection. The nets aren’t exactly ideal since your vision is obscured and they get in the way, but these can be the perfect thing in those sorts of situations.


No myths! It’s simple physics to the rescue. I guess if someone said that wearing a bug net over your face made you feel super cool and that they were really comfortable, then I suppose those would be myths.

Long Pants, Long Socks, Long-sleeve Shirts

Common Sense Supported Methods:

There’s not much to say about this one, just that wearing long clothing that covers your arms and legs is covering the attack vector for mosquitoes. It’s one of the easiest, natural ways to avoid getting bit.

This means that you will only need to put mosquito repellent on your hands, your face, between your pants and your shirt (on your hips), and your ankles.

You might be feeling: long pants, long socks, and long shirts are so hot! That is fair… but wearing lightweight pants, like pants made out of parachute-like material, or long-sleeve shirts designed to wick away moisture from your body are not a bad compromise.

A word of caution, though. mosquitoes have a way of biting through very thin clothing, so, if you get bit even when covered up, that’s something to think about.


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Sealing Tent Zippers

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Mosquitoes and other bugs can climb through a gap between zippers like this one

If you are sleeping in a tent and mosquitoes are a big problem, then one thing I’ve had to do is seal all entrances to the tent. In particular, I remember that mosquitoes (sand flies actually, which behave similarly and are also called biting midges) would actually fly in through the gap between the zippers in the door of the tent.

Placing a tiny bit of tissue between the zippers before going to bed proved to be effective for me in keeping the bloodsuckers out.

If you have multiple doors or an electrical port as some tents have, then you may have a little bit extra work to make sure no entrances that a mosquito could fit through are accessible.


None that I know of.

Clove Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Clove essential oil, in its undiluted form, can actually harm your skin if you directly apply it, which is exactly what these scientists did in this study.

I’m grateful for them, though, since they found that clove oil was 100% effective for 2-4 hours after application.

The study also looked at 37 other essential oils and they determined that clove oil was the most effective of them all.


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Neem Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Neem oil has a bit of a buzzword feel to it, it’s been used for shampoo, bug repellent, an herbicide, a fungicide, and I’m sure more methods than I’m aware of.

Neem oil is a skin irritant and needs to be handled with care (as are most undiluted plant oils), in fact, the EPA has not approved this as an insect repellent for that reason. Several studies in India (with scant details, honestly) show complete protection from mosquitoes for 12 hours (source)

The repellent is not very strong, though. In one case, neem cream was effective for 4 hours with only 68% effectiveness. The bites were at least less than they would have been. (source) In another article, neem oil showed up to 100% protection from certain mosquito species (source).

Still another study showed that burning neem oil with kerosene was effective at deterring only certain species of mosquitoes (source)

So, this one is controversial. There are a lot of factors to consider, so I would keep an eye on this one and wait till products that are safe to use are made.


I could go on about neem oil and how it is called the miracle plant, but there is a lot of controversy on it, so I’ll let that one go to your own research sessions.


Study Supported Methods:

Citronella is used in a variety of methods, but perhaps the most common are candles, diffusers and cream or spray that you put on your skin.

Candles are one of the least effective ways to use citronella, with a repellency rate of only 14%.

Diffusers do much better with a repellency rate of 68% (source)

Citronella as an insect spray is not deemed very effective. However, in studies where citronella was combined with vanillan (from vanilla), the effectiveness is much stronger. (source)


One myth is that citronella candles actually prevent mosquitoes. They are statistically more likely to do so than nothing at all, but that’s as far as their effectiveness goes–there are far better options (even better candle options).

If You Are an Identical Twin, Bring Your Twin as a Decoy

Okay, this isn’t a real way to prevent mosquitoes… but I just thought it was so interesting I couldn’t pass up telling you about it. Ever notice how some of your friends seem to be some sort of mosquito magnet and get 10 bites within a few minutes while you get no bites at all? (real talk: I am that friend… sigh..)

In this study, identical twins exhibit close to the same level of mosquito attraction than non-identical twins. This means it’s possible that whether mosquitoes are attracted to you or not is in your DNA.

If nothing else, you can always bring that friend of your’s that always gets those mosquito bites camping with you.

Personal Oil Diffusers

Study Supported Methods

I thought this was super crazy when I learned about this, but there is a type of device that you can wear that diffuses essential oils, and it actually works to repel mosquitoes! You don’t have to apply anything to your own skin! In one study, participants went into an enclosure with 1500 mosquitoes (EEK! That gives me the creeps), and the personal diffusers worked at around 95% efficiency (I’m not sure if that means that they got 75 bug bites or what…) (source)

In any case, it was much better than nothing.

Terminix makes one of these called the AllClear (check out the details on Amazon if you’d like to see what it looks like), and it diffuses a little packet of a blend of repellent oils (lemongrass, cinnamon, peppermint, geraniums). You just clip the diffuser onto your person, and it is powered by a couple of batteries to fill the air around it with the essential oil.


The same study demonstrated that mosquito wristbands were not effective in the slightest. I knew that was too good to be true.

Burn a Mosquito Coil

Study Supported Methods:

A mosquito coil is a spiral often made from pyrethrum powder, which is a flower from the daisy family.

There’s not a ton of evidence to show its effectiveness, but this study shows that they at least lessen the number of bites.


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Ticks are just a fact of life. These scary blood-suckers attach to your skin and creepily hang on until they are engorged. Ticks grow in size so much they literally have to roll away once they’re full.

Besides the creepy factor, ticks are notorious for being carriers of disease, both viral and bacterial. It turns out that the baby ticks, called nymphs, are even more dangerous than the adults since they are so small. The smaller the tick, the harder time you’ll have finding them.

Many of the natural repellents that work for mosquitoes also will work for ticks, and just like any mosquito repellent, what works for one species of mosquito might not work as well for another. Garlic, clove, catnip, geraniol, citronella, etc.

I’ll share a couple of natural ways I found while researching that are specific to ticks.


Study Supported Methods:

Nootkatone is a chemical that is found in Alaskan Cedar trees as well as in the skin of grapefruit. It also sounds like an instrument from a Dr. Suess book. Which is a bonus.

Nootkatone was used to treat coveralls and showed to be 100% effective against repelling ticks for 3 days (source).

This is incredible! A repellent that lasts more than 8 hours is something to take notice of. One concern with nootkatone is whether it can be harvested responsibly. A company called Evolva claims their artificial Nootka shield, which is manufactured in labs. They argue it is a more responsible way to get the benefit of this natural occurring chemical. You can check out more on their website, here.


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Study Based Methods:

The chemical 2-undecanone is usually produced synthetically, but can be harvested naturally from the oil of rue, and also occurs naturally in several fruits and wild tomatoes.

In this study, BioUD was shown to be as effective as DEET in repelling ticks. While in another study, BioUD was shown to be even more effective!


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Check Your Friend’s Blood Type

Okay, okay, I admit, it’s probably too late to do anything about it. Except perhaps you could bring all your friends who have Type A blood types, as they tend be bitten by ticks more. (source)

This is useful information in two ways, you could use your friends as bait, or you could leave your friends at home to avoid getting attention from ticks.

Avoid Danger Tick Zones

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Unlike mosquitoes, ticks aren’t nearly as widespread. Although they can be found in many, many locations in the United States, only some locations have high concentrations of ticks.

Out of the 7 tick species listed on the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), 5 of them have a presence in the Southeastern United States. Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, parts of Texas, etc. All of these locations should have extra care taken. Remember though that some ticks live in the entire country (the brown dog tick, for example), so it’s good to always take care and take precautions when you are out in the country.


One prevalent myth is that ticks should remove themselves from your skin and shouldn’t be taken out by force. So people use a lighter or nail polish to make the tick remove itself. This is a potentially dangerous myth! The important thing to do is to remove the tick as soon as you find it. If you are going somewhere where ticks are an issue, you should always take a pair of tweezers.

Use the tweezers to pull the tick straight up from your skin, do not twist or squeeze the tick as its mouthparts might stick in your skin and cause infection. If you cannot remove the mouthparts, let the skin heal and watch for unusual reactions on your skin. (source)

Avoid High Tick Population Seasons

Common Sense Supported Methods:

My friend went on a camping trip to Arkansas in the Summer of 2016, and then later that year I went with him back to Arkansas in the late Fall.

That summer, they constantly had to do a tick scan and remove ticks that had found their way on to their bodies. Ticks were everywhere! (and leeches)

When we went in the fall, the ticks had all but vanished. None of us had any problems.

When you’re planning a camping trip, take into account the tick population of the location as well as the season. If you are going into tick season, think about ways to prepare your clothes and your skin against ticks. You’re at the highest risk for getting bit by ticks in the spring and summer (source).


“If I get bit by a tick, I might get Lyme’s disease.” This is not a total myth. Unfortunately, many dangerous diseases are carried by ticks, but your risk for Lyme’s disease depends on the area and the type of tick.

Furthermore, it can take a significant amount of time, ranging from 2 hours to 96 hours) for Lyme’s disease to transfer from the tick to you.

The key thing to prevent infection is to avoid bites if you can, and to constantly examine your body to make sure you don’t have any stowaways. If you find a tick, don’t hesitate and use tweezers as described above to remove the tick asap.

Wear Long Pants Tucked Into Your Socks (Embrace Frumpy)

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Protecting Against Ticks by Tucking Pants into Socks

This method is also effective at repelling mosquitoes, except it’s more important for ticks. Unlike mosquitoes that can fly at you from every direction, when you’re out walking, you often will pick up ticks from the ground, and so if you don’t give an easy way for a tick to come from the ground to your skin, you have that much better defense against picking them up.

Since ticks have to usually march over your clothing to get to your skin (if you’re wearing long pants), treating your clothing with some chemical protection (see the Nootkatone section above)


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Ants are different in what they want than mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquito and ticks want you! While ants often are scouring the area for food or are protecting their nests against your gigantic shoes.

When you’re camping, ants can be an annoyance, and even a danger depending on the species (such as fire ants). When you’re camping, you’re now in ant territory. What are some natural ways to keep the ants away while camping?

Diatomaceous Earth

Common Sense Supported Methods:

food grade diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous Earth, or DE, is one of the most natural substances you can find. Diatoms, or fossilized remnants of tiny sea creatures make up DE. These diatoms are made up of amorphous silicon dioxide. Forms of Silicon make up a quarter of the earth’s crust! So, it is an extremely common substance.

DE can act as an anti-caking agent, and is often used in powdery foods. In fact, you can eat food-grade DE by itself. By yourself.

I mean… you can if you want to. I won’t ask you to do it. Supposedly, though, there are some health benefits there.

Anyway, the interesting thing about DE is that it is microscopically poky for insects. It dries out the insects exoskeleton really quickly. Because of this, insects try to steer clear of diatomaceous earth.

Many kinds of DE are even made to be rubbed on dogs and cats to prevent ticks and other critters from latching on to an animal. As long as DE stays dry, it can remain effective.

Creating a moat of sorts, or a protective barrier around your tent is an easy and minimally impactful way to protect yourself from ants. Once you’re leaving, make sure to spread the DE around to not show signs of it being there.


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Wear Ant Armor

Common Sense Methods:

There’s not really ant armor per se, but remember those long pants and socks that we talked about for ticks? These also can come in handy when you’re trying to stay away from ants, as well.

Ants have to march up your shoes, socks, and pants if they’re going to have any luck biting you. This gives you more time to lightly brush them away so you don’t get bitten.

Watch Your Step

Common Sense Methods:

Ants were at the campsite before you, which gives you the advantage of being able to scout out your campsite before putting down your tent. An easy way to prevent issues is to look at the area where you’ll be hanging out carefully before setting up your tent or putting down your camp chairs. Avoid ant hills and trails while setting up, if possible.


One myth is that bigger ants bite worse. This is somewhat true, but not always. The size of the ant matters less than the species. Carpenter ants, for example, rarely bite humans, and pose more of a threat to your house than your hand, because of their ability to burrow through wood.

Mint Oil

Study Supported Methods:

Mint is used in several applications of insect repellent, and in the case of ants, mint is actually toxic enough to them that continued exposure will actually kill the ants. Mint still has been noticed as an effective repellent as well. (source)


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Bees / Wasps

You gotta be nice to bees. They do so much for the world and they’re super vital to the ecosystem. It’s very understandable to not want them around if you’ve ever experienced a bee sting. It’s a scary and terrible experience! There are a few things that can be done.

No Drinks for the Bees

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Bees aren’t out for you–they are only on the lookout for nectar or sugar that they can take back to their hive. If you want to avoid bees hanging out with you, don’t leave out any sweet drinks. Even empty sweet drink containers will draw bee and wasp attention. Dispose of your sweet drink containers as soon as you are finished.

Hide Your Food Trash

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Put your garbage in a bag in your car. Bees are looking for food (especially sugary food), so putting your trash in a place inaccessible by bees will help prevent them from visiting you.

Perhaps putting your food in a your car isn’t an option–if you are in bear country, then there may be additional precautions you have to take. Check out our article on stowing food away to be protected against bears here.

If you’re lucky, you might be at a campsite that has trash receptacles so you don’t have to hold on to your trash.


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No Sudden Moves

Common Sense Supported Methods:

The honeybee is the only bee that has to die when it stings someone. If a honeybee is flying around, know that it has a major incentive to not sting you. Any threatening behavior to a bee will cause it to go into protection mode, though, so the key is to act cool.

In fact, if a bee is attracted by your shirt color and has landed on your arm and won’t leave you alone, then you can very gently brush the bee off your arm and it generally will get the hint.

The key is to not jump or tense up when a bee lands, as sudden moves might put them in their fight mode. Remain calm, sway a bit, wait a bit, and brush off the bee if necessary.


An extremely common saying is that perfume and brightly colored clothing attracts bees, even though there is no evidence to support this claim. (source)

Stay Away From Flowering Trees

Common Sense Supported Methods:

If you’ve ever heard that low hum from a flowering tree, then you understand how many bees can fit in a tree. Hundreds, maybe thousands of bees in a big flowering tree or bush. Although you can’t always hide from wildflowers, try and avoid any flowering bushes or trees.


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Gnats / Midges

Gnats or Midges have an annoying habit of acting like they want to eat you, but really they just want to fly around your face taunting you. Gnats don’t bite, so they aren’t really harmful, but they certainly can drive you nuts!

Unfortunately, because gnats aren’t looking for you necessarily, bug repellents won’t work the same way. There’s not much to do except find places without them (which may be difficult).

Avoid Stagnant Water

Common Sense Supported Methods:

Gnats mate and lay eggs in pools of stagnant water, similar to mosquitoes. Their presence could be completely seasonal, and completely dependent on the environment.

It’s strange, though… you can’t always predict if there will be gnats. I’ve camped near some lakes and didn’t see any gnats but plenty of mosquitoes. And then at other lakes there are no mosquitoes, but there are gnats. There’s no hiding from bugs it seems.


Gnats don’t bite! Okay, yeah, I just said that gnats don’t bite, but a gnat just means a non-stinging fly, and it turns out there are a certain species of gnats called “biting gnats”, where females will actually bite. The biting midges are also called “sand flies” in parts of the world.

Use Mosquito Repellent for Biting Midges

Study Supported Methods:

Biting Midges (or sandflies) are repelled by many of the same chemicals that repel mosquitoes, although they are repelled by a varying degree (just as different species of mosquitoes are repelled in varying degrees).

In this study, oil from neem and chinaberry plants were shown to have equal repellency effects for 8 hours.

In this study, a Geraniol candle closer than 3 meters had over 60% effectiveness for sandflies. It’s likely a geraniol based repellent would work as well.


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Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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