Due to the recent increases in biting insect populations in different areas I wanted to write a bit about how insects behave when in large groups (relative to insect repellents).
A few years ago a co-worker took my 'Skeeter Skidaddler on a mini-expedition with two friends to Baxter State Park (where Mt Katahdin is located). His compatriots brought along two DEET based products. When they set up camp they were assaulted by swarms of Black Flies, and in that situation none of the products seemed to repel the bugs. Bummer!
This story always troubled me since I thought (watch out there) that my repellent was "supremo-extraordinaire". But the part that DEET didn't work either gave me some clues. Still I had no ready explanation, and this gave me some sense of doubt when touting the wonders of my products.
In 2012 I read an article which addressed the behavior of insects when they are in large numbers. (click the link) And this Wiki (clickable). Biting insects attempt to feed in order to mate and deposit eggs. What is termed a "blood meal" is very rich in protein and flying, biting insects use mammal blood as nutrition to help them create the next generation of their kind.
Large populations of flying, biting insects stop paying any attention to offensive ingredients or vapors. They become maniacal about feeding as they compete with the swarm to feed. In a sense they become a "super bug" as a group and are in a frenzy to feed, mate and propagate.
So, as a caveat, let me stay that there are situations where no repellent will work well. I'm not sure what to do about that, except to avoid those few situations if possible.
The first peoples in New England used smokey, green wood fires in their villages in order to create a zone of protection for their dwellings. Part of that protection came from the large amounts of Carbon Dioxide and some Carbon Monoxide given off by the smoldering fires. Since flying, biting insects use their antenna to detect CO2, it makes sense that these smokey fires confused the heck out of the bugs. Kind of like a primitive "Mosquito Magnet".
Not sure if that's a practical tool for folks hiking (I think not). But it does give one another perspective on how people through the ages have tried (with varying degrees of success) to repel biting bugs and swarms of same.
I do believe that 'Skeeter Skidaddler works extremely well in almost all situations and even beats DEET in terms of effectiveness, fragrance (obviously) and economy. I am so strongly convinced of my products effectiveness that I have added a 100% satisfaction guarantee for online orders. (This may be expanded to all sales but I have to figure out how to do the charge backs.)
My commitment to you, my dear customers, is to give you the best natural insect repellent and fragrance in one. When I come across information which might inform your buying decisions, I will share that without hesitation!
Allen Pollock, ( Owner of Gentle Breeze Farm, LLC located in Windham, Maine )
Gentle ponderings & ruminations on life and living