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How did the American Indians deal with mosquitos?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by SkinnyJoe, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. SkinnyJoe

    SkinnyJoe Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2007
    Did they have some ointment that repelled them?
  2. eb07


    Jul 17, 2007
  3. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    I have read that in the Northeast, they used bear grease for bug protection. The book also mentioned that the practice is probably one of the main reasons natives were though to be "dirty" from the rancid smell.
  4. Stryker D

    Stryker D

    Aug 6, 2007
    -Smokey fire
    -Moved to windy locations in summer and sheltered areas in winter.
    -State of mind
  5. Normark


    Nov 7, 1999
    Hey Guys...

    I understand it was bear grease as well...

    Not too often do I use any form of insect repellant..Only 1-2 times a year will I put it on..They usually don't bother me too much..
    My wife on the other hand..

    Holy Smokes,,she gets eaten alive!!


  6. znode


    May 4, 2007
    Unless you are purposefully doing some reenactment, just use DEET-based repellents. Harmless, time-proven, and highly effective.

    If you are looking at what is effected for informational purposes, this was published in the Southeast Asia Journal of Tropical Medicine:
    10% clove plus 10% makaen oil mixture was roughly able to match DEET in performance against mosquitoes.
  7. hlee


    Dec 5, 2005
    The mosquitos on the Texas coast are a particularly fierce and wind resistant strain, and the Karanakwa Indians used a coat of alligator grease as repellant.
  8. straitshot


    Mar 18, 2006
    One way to deal with a few, and not clouds of them, is to not attract them. I've found light colored clothing, which the tribes didn't usually have, makes them worse. I used to wear white socks while running along the canals and the mosquitos were bothersome. Dark socks made a big difference. It seemed to be a matter of rapid movement of the light color that attracted them. I've never read that but I'm convinced based on my observation.:) Regards, ss.
  9. CitizenQ


    May 5, 2006
    I've heard that CO2 emmission (exhaled breath) attracts them. Is this true or BS?
  10. Marcelo Cantu

    Marcelo Cantu Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2003
    Why, they traded with them of course.:D

    I heard it was bear grease as well.

    I have been using REPEL Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Oil insect repellent this entire season and it works as good or better than any DEET product I've used. It has not chemical smell, is safe on synthetics (i.e. kydex, nylon, etc.), and feels somewhat like that Pinaud stuff the ol' barber used to put on ya. Backpacker did a comparison a few issues back IIRC.
  11. gpdawg


    Apr 13, 2006
    the khanty and other tribes in siberia use smoke.
  12. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Insects can be a real menace-for some!
    I suspect that our natural odour or chemicals in the individual's skin attracts insects or not.Some people are not much bitten or bothered,whereas others(like me) catch hell.Even when I was a heavy pipe-smoker insects plagued me.This year in Scandinavia, a dull wet summer has been paradise for horse and elk-flies and these buggers BITE chunks out of you. I would be interested in any more natural repellants, theories on how our ancestors or native people kept them OFF. I'm frankly dubious about chemicals you spray on your body, safe they all say, yes that's what they said about DDT not so long back!
  13. ejes


    Jul 17, 2007
    That is one way they are attracted to you, along with heat. Not only from breath, but CO2 and heat given off by the skin. The mosquito traps and killers like the Coleman Mosquito Deleto use propane to create this attraction to trap and kill them.

    Several other things in the skin can attract them (lactic acid for one), and nailing down which one(s) you are giving off can be much more difficult, if not futile, than than just applying a repellent: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb00/mosq0200.htm
  14. Gerberblades

    Gerberblades Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    Thats true for African tsetse flies. A friend was over there working on tsetse eradication through sterilization. I asked him how they did it and he replied that they attracted the flies to the Co2 from cattle, caught the flies in traps and then cut their balls off with tiny machetes. I guess I shouldn't have asked.

  15. Andrew Colglazier

    Andrew Colglazier

    Sep 14, 2006
    My wife and I live in central TX. Our property has a large amount of some kind of lemony smelling plants down next to our creek, thick in open areas with lots of sun.

    Smells just like citronella.... don't know if it really works, but my wife tells me it has repellant qualities.

  16. texasboy


    May 23, 2007
    I heard mosquitos are attracted to salt. May be the Indians didn't have to worry because they didn't have salt.
  17. mp510


    Mar 20, 2006
    Seminoles in Florida used Gar Finish inards from what I've read.
  18. pitdog


    Apr 13, 2007
    Around my area we have Vanilla leaf plants, I rub my arms and legs with these as they are well known to repel Mozzies !!! I believe pine needles will also help !!!
  19. storl

    storl Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Apr 17, 2007
    Most garden herbs are known to be insect repellants. Do a google search and you'll get tons on info. We planted about 20 of them in a garden in our backyard. Didn't really make a difference since I didn't rub the plants on myself, but they look nice. :)

    I personally use sprays with Picaridin in them. Does not stink like DEET, and will not melt plastics. It seems to work pretty well, and does not make me feel like I need a shower immediately after applying it.
  20. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    They "love" me. :(

    I noticed this weekend that they swarmed around the propane stove when t was on -- left when it was turned off. (They were much worse ni daylight! Little, fast buggers with prominent black stripes abound the thorax.)

    The lemon eucalyptus repelleant has been approved by the CDC. Just a good as deet-based products but for 25% less time. Certainly my choice due to downside of deet. (Ruined a pair of glasses once.)

    Someone posted that lemon balm, a mint, rubbed on his skin kept most of them off for half an hour. Made me wonder about thinks like sage.

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