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This question asks "What type of mosquito repellent is the most effective?". It's a great question.

Now that we may have an idea about what is best to use, I want to know how effective are even the best repellents?

I am a mosquito magnet. I don't know what it is, but I know it goes back generations. If I go outdoors without repellent or full coverage where there are mosquitoes, I will literally (no exaggeration) get 30-60 bites per hour. It's dangerous.

As a result, I tend to cover as much as my body as possible when mosquitoes are present.

I'm trying to make some plans that involve areas that are known to be inhabited by many of our needle-nosed friends. Due to interesting (but off-topic) reasons, I will not be able to cover much of my body.

I'll be relying solely on repellents and dietary choices to keep the mosquitoes from doing their thing.

Given that something about me attracts mosquitoes, how effective can I expect modern mosquito repellents to be?

I want to stay away from opinion-based answers, and instead hear from people with relevant experiences. Specifically, other people who are mosquito magnets who have relied solely on repellents (and optionally dietary measures).

  • I rarely get bitten myself because they go for my wife. DEET (jungle formula, which I think is 50%, plus other brands of 30%+) works well for her but she tends to reserve it for areas with malaria and other nasty mosquito-borne diseases (it's not very pleasant, damages clothing etc.). Other, more pleasant, repellents certainly have some benefit, but it's a reduction in bites. – Chris H Dec 23 '15 at 11:51
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Depends on how much you put on.

It may be helpful to first identify why you are a mosquito magnet. Mosquitos are attracted to primarily two things that you can control: odour and heat. Unfortunately, about 85% of what makes people mosquito magnets is suspected to be genetics, so there's not much you can do about that, except to try and mask the scent of whatever it is in your genetics that makes you so irresistible and delicious.

Your diet is a huge factor when it comes to body odour, mosquitos for example will be more attracted to people who have high amounts of salt and potassium in their system, which increases the amount of lactic acid that you off-gas. Sweet smelling deodorants, or fabric softeners will also attract insects, as will excessive sweating (especially if you're already releasing mosquito attracting chemicals).

Fruits are typically high in potassium, bananas particularly. Perfume or cologne are pretty much the opposite of DEET, so don't wear any of that stuff when you're trying not to get bit. They say that garlic and spicy foods repel bugs too, so eat lots of that stinky stuff, and don't clean the garlic breath out of your mouth. Mosquitos are attracted to C02, which you exhale a lot of, so if you lace it with garlic they may not be as attracted to you.

There are a lot of other suggestions available online, so just google what foods you can eat to avoid bug bites.

  • Thanks! That's a lot of great info. My internal body temperature is very low (well below average). I'm not sure if that correlates to skin surface temperature. I do not typically wear any artificial scents. I do wear deodorant. That's a tricky one, because deodorant could attract insects, but it's masking sweat, which can also attract them. Any types of deodorants that don't attract mosquitoes? – RockPaperLizard Dec 23 '15 at 21:51
  • @RockPaperLizard very low compared to other humans probably, but certainly not significantly lower than 37, otherwise you'd be dead or not human. (I don't know what the range can be, but I would be very surprised if it were less than 35, which is the higher value of hypothermia) – njzk2 Dec 23 '15 at 22:01
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    @njzk2 Perhaps I'm a zombie. ;) Just kidding. Yes, compared to other humans, I'm a lizard, but compared to lizards, I'm certainly human. Whether or not I'm dead, I'll have to ask around. – RockPaperLizard Dec 23 '15 at 22:35

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