Repelling biting insects from the area around your face & neck

Midges are not a problem where I live. Though they might be in the areas around Cranberry Glades or Dolly Sods, which have a lot of flora and fauna more commonly found farther north at higher latitudes. Such as Canada. A gift left behind from the last Ice Age.

I do have one of those Sea to Summit fine mesh head nets to keep at bey mosquitoes or gnats. Though I must admit I have only used it a couple of times for its intended purpose. And has more frequently been used as a convenient container for wild mushrooms.

The small mesh size of head nets are almost as annoying as the bugs.

Would you believe there is a way to repeal biting insects from around your face and neck using a large mesh net? Or have you heard of or used this method yourself?

A month ago on youtube, while researching Andrianov compasses, I discovered the YTC of Yurgen - охотник (the Hunter). A couple weeks ago he posted a fishing video demonstrating this method.

The narration is of course all in Russian. But I asked him. - What is the blue liquid you dipped the net in?
100% способ защиты от мошки |
Рыбалка в удовольствие | Секреты бывалых
100% way to protect against midges |
Fishing for pleasure | Secrets of experience

  • I jumped to about 6:30 from the start of the video.

His reply was - Solar Oil.

But what is Solar Oil ?
An internet search finds a lot of Solar Oil used for manicures. Another type is oil for Solar Lamps ( think kerosene but made to use an oil that has a more pleasant smell). A third Solar Oil I found was oil for diesel engines.That seem to be a popular name for that type of product in India and other parts of Asia. One more was diesel fuel made from algae, and called Solar Oil by the developers. I’ve ruled out the finger nail solar oil, but one of the other types remained candidates for what Yurgen the Hunter was using.

Today Lars {Danish guy living in Russia] at Survival Russia posted a video on the same topic. Uncharacteristically for his videos he beat around the bush a lot, and never got round to doing a demo. But he states straight out to use diesel fuel. Hmm, not sure I’d want a net with dry diesel fuel hanging round my face. However, it may not be any riskier to one’s health than bug bites or the stuff in some insect repellents applied to the face near your eyes.

Black Flies | How To Prevent Them From Biting You
•May 14, 2020

Something a little different . Maybe worth trying if you live and fish where this sort of thing is a big annoyance.

Reading through the comments to the Yurgen - охотник video I noticed several references to using vanilla extract as a natural insect repellent. I had also not heard of that before.

You can find several online articles in English how to make it. But it is basically pure vanilla extra, without sugar or alcohol added, mixed 1 to 1 with water. Some recipes added other aromatic oils. And applied to the skin. Perhaps it would also work applied in strong strength to the net, and last longer than the 45 minutes or so when applied to the skin. Ready made sprays can be purchased at stores. [BUGGINS brand Natural 0% DEET Vanilla Mint Rose Insect Repellent is one option].

Here is one recipe [there are many others]:

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Interesting read. I’ve never used one of those head nets, but admittedly, I probably haven’t fished where I needed to. I don’t recall often getting swarmed by black flies. Usually using a gaiter to protect my neck and a little bit of strategically placed Picaridin lotion (I like the kind made by Sawyer) works to keep buzzing, biting things away from my head. But when it doesn’t work, it definitely doesn’t. Which is definitely a nuisance, and sometimes a pain.

Would love to hear other folk’s experience/recipes for success.

A few years back Rob Worthing wrote an article for Tenkara Angler that I more or less use as my guide. Figured since we’re talking bug repellent, I’d share.


Солярка- это дизельное топливо. diesel fuel

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As a folk remedy It {a net shopping bag soaked in diesel fuel and hung to dry } seems to be a widely promoted method in Russia. Though I can not find it described on any English language website.
Avon Skin So Soft lotion is one folk remedy I had heard of before - but forgotten about people advocating its use years ago.

"100% way to protect yourself from fishing midges

"[ And so, I’m telling you a 100% way that will help to fully protect against midges.
We need a shopping bag “string bag” from the USSR and a little diesel fuel.

All we need is to soak a string bag in diesel fuel for several hours and dry it in the sun. After that we put the dried string bag on our heads and not a single midge will even fly close to us.

The string bag will become a little oily and of course there will be a smell of diesel fuel. But, believe my friends, the smell of diesel fuel is a flower compared to the wild midge that gnaws you. In addition, the string bag is perfectly blown (?) and does not obstruct the view, unlike the mosquito net. With this method of protection, no midge dares even fly close to you.

Well, if the smell of diesel fuel disturbs you greatly, then you can fold the string bag onto the peak of the cap. The only thing, in this case, some midges can still attack you. The most important thing now we can do our favorite thing and not a single midge does not bother us.

Store string bag in a plastic bag. Then the vapor of diesel fuel will be stored and it can be used many times. …] "

Specifically an " Авоська " , (Avos’ka), [string bag]. Or a “perhaps-bag”

Anyway, the Russians have a reputation for making many things that were; simple, sometimes roughly made, but often very effective.

I always find it interesting to discover how different cultures or societies, go about solving problems or finding solutions to problems. :smiley:

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and this is a special handle for carrying maybe (knitted bags):laughing:

Japanese fly coil.

I have tried nets but feel they impede vision to much for fishing or enjoyin nature.

I use permethrin for ticks bit only have one outfit treated.

Picaridin works pretty well but have found my lips will numb if it finds them. I always joke that my legs start twitching too. I only use that stuff as a last resort…same with deet.

One thing that i have been using on a regular basis is cedar oil. 100% natural and i will spray my clothes and hat with it. Sometimes spray or rub in my hair. It will stain as any oil will and the effectiveness has a window of only a few hours…but i prefer it over the stronger methods.

I mostly use this stuff.

But have bought the concentrates too. Just have not experimented with them yet as they need to be dilluted.

So far I’ve not had a problem in Western Washington State with ticks but Permethrin is effective (100% protection per the linked article) for repelling-killing ticks on clothing and dogs. It’s also very effective against mosquitoes and better than DEET for biting flies.

Eight years ago I was fishing a high lake shortly after the meadows melted out. In the evening as I was heading back to the car and the mosquitoes were horrendous. I had used the last of my repellent earlier in the day but I had headnet in my pocket. I put the headnet on over a Boonie that kept the net off of my face and the effect was immediate and wonderful. I pulled my hands up into my shirt sleeves and dashed back to the car.

The following year I bought a 24 oz bottle of Sawyer Permethrin (0.5%) for $16 and sprayed my clothing. It was totally effective for around 2 months and a few washings, but I was only able to treat a couple of shirts, and trousers and had to buy a second bottle to get through the summer.

I used the Sawyer Permethrin for a couple of years, then in a camping Hammock forum I read about using Martin’s Permethrin (water-based, 10%) (Martin’s Permethrin on Amazon).

At that time it cost around $20 for 16 ounces. The price is 30% higher now :frowning_face:. I diluted it 1:20; 1 ounce in the empty 24 oz Sawyer bottle which makes the Martin’s mix about $1.75 for a 24 oz bottle at the current price. After treating my socks, trousers, shirt, handkerchief, hat, and my hammock cover around the zipper I went on two four-day high lakes trips in July. I only had a problem on bare skin after zipping off the trouser legs. Sitting-lying in the treated hammock was an oasis. I carried a one ounce bottle of Picaridin (doesn’t damage synthetic fabrics, fly lines) and I only had to use a small amount over both trips.

Again, Permethrin is 100% effective against ticks per the linked article.

One note on the use of permethrin. In the liquid form, it is HIGHLY toxic to cats. Supposedly it is safe when dry; however, as someone who owns a couple of cats, I don’t want to take the risk.

I’ve read that supposedly it is not toxic to dogs, but we have two of those as well and I don’t want to risk them getting sick or dying either.

Thank You Peder for bringing that up. Yes, Permethrin is very toxic to cats, and I hadn’t heard that was only when in a liquid state. However the instructions on the Martin’s 10% bottle say it’s safe for use on dogs when diluted with water to 0.5% for flea and tick protection.

And I got very nauseous on one trip when using a different brand concentrate diluted with water to 0.5% that still had its petroleum base off-gassing VOCs for a few days after it was dry to the touch.

I spray my clothing with the diluted water-based Martin’s until it’s saturated, outside in calm wind conditions. It dries on nylon and polyester “technical” outdoor fabrics within a few hours. But after that one trip where I was sickened I now then let the clothing dry on hangers in the garage for several days before using.

I know someone who got sick from it as well. I also understand it works well. However, I personally have a hard time justifying the use of a product that’s that toxic to any animal. The level of safety for human use concerns me too.

Besides, they said DDT was safe at one point as well and we all know the history of that (if you don’t, look it up).

Permethrin is great stuff. However, like @Peder stated, it is toxic to cats in its liquid or wet form. You can buy Permethrin based products for flea and tick control on dogs but you should never use it on cats. Farmers use it on all sorts of animals and even spray down barns and stalls with it. I have read some things saying it may be toxic to birds as well. For us, the biggest concern is that the EPA states that Permethrin is highly toxic to fish. I wet wade and was worried that Permethrin treated pants would kill fish. I did a lot of reading to find out if it would be an issue. I finally concluded that treated clothing does not pose a risk. The problem arises when treating your clothing or gear near water. It can be carried by the wind and contaminate the water. So, if you live near water think twice before treating your gear in your back yard.

The wife and I hate using chemicals if we can avoid it. We live in the woods and between the tick and mosquito born diseases and the fact that we have children, we choose to treat all of our clothing.

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Gee, after all the toxicity warnings, a large mesh to be hung round your face that has been soaked in diesel fuel and allowed to dry in the sun before use - isn’t sounding as bad as it once did. :thinking:
But that was only for insects round your face.

The other insects being discussed can crawl up your ankles or onto an arm as a branch is pushed aside.

Looking at binocular websites the other day I saw something I had never heard of before.
Lymeez 3D Mesh Tick Gaiters Gets most positive reviews from the Birder Tribe.
The idea is like a battle ambush. The mesh slows down the rate of travel of the tick. Thereby prolonging the time the permethrin treatment has time to knock them off.

The subject of permethrin treatment came up once before, either here or on the tenkara-fisher forum.
I recall finding the company Insect Shield , in Greensboro, N.C. Send them your garments and they will treat them with permethrin or other insect repealing substance. The cost was low, the claimed two big benefits were: they deal with the toxicity while the chemicals are in liquid form. And garments treated by their process would effectively repeal insects mush longer than garments self treated at home. Longer time, through a larger number of laundry cycles.

" How long will Insect Shield protection last?
The repellency of Insect Shield apparel is EPA-registered to last through 70 launderings, the expected lifetime of a garment…"


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I don’t think the 0.5% Permethrin mix (dries into tiny crystals on the fabric’s outer surface) is what made me sick. 10% Permethrin cream and lotion applied directly to the skin is prescribed for scabies for up to 2 weeks. I think what made me feel ill was that brand’s petroleum VOCs off-gassing.

I wonder what diesel fuel on a head net would do to me? Then again I spent 7 yrs on the flightline maintaining weapons system avionics on NORAD fighter interceptors and developed a fondness for the smell of burning JP4 jet fuel, so probably nothing :slightly_smiling_face:.

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REI sells a head covering net pre-treated with InsectShield. Very effective, no nasty smell. Best of both worlds combined into one thing. Comes in a small travel pouch, a lifesaver when I was in Alaska.

Hmmmm :thinking::thinking:. I grew up in a farming family. No one did that or used it on anything. In fact, I never learned about it until I was an adult.

All I know is that black flies, no-seeums, ticks, sand fleas, and mosquitoes suck (actually and figuratively speaking). When I was in Seebumuk, Maine the no-seeums and black flies ate me up to the point I looked like I was a leper. The mosquitoes in British Columbia near some of the interior lakes will suck you dry. I had to use Old Ben’s 100% Deet which is extremely oily and tacky. I also found out that it doesn’t play well with the finish on your fly rod. Vladimir’s recommendation sounds really interesting.

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This thread has gone full circle. Yurgen the Hunter’s Russian folk remedy recommendation to soak a large mesh net in diesel fuel, hanging it dry in the sun before using it to repel black flies from around your face, and neck area. Is where this thread started.

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These are not my recommendations, this is David found on the Internet. :smile:

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Sorry Vladimir, I thought you had mentioned it. I think I need new glasses to see better.

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