Living in Eastern Washington has some advantages. We have cold winters and hot dry summers. That means few mosquitoes. Because we just don’t have a good environment for them to breed in. That doesn’t mean we have none but last summer I had plans to experiment with some natural bug repellents and never had the opportunity because we had no bug problems.
In preparing for my trip to the coast, I ended up reading some reviews about the park where we were camping. Imagine my delight when I read that the mosquitoes were crazy there. Okay so maybe delight is the wrong word. It’s May and it’s still cold. We don’t have mosquitoes over here so I figured the mosquitoes would equal minor annoyance.
So into my pack I had a spray bottle of generic listerine, a tin of badger balm and a bottle of rosemary essential oil.
Did I say minor annoyance? It was like living through one of the plagues. If I stopped too long, I was swarmed as if the gnats had been through some horrible radiation exposure. They were everywhere.
First night, we realized right away that the listerine wasn’t going to work. Perhaps it’s because I went with generic. It smelled like listerine so why wouldn’t it work? I can’t answer that for you but I can tell you that the badger balm worked better but not as well as I would have hoped. The rest of the party gave into using Deet while I suffered for your benefit.
Day two, I lathered up in badger balm with added rosemary oil. I can’t say that the experience was wonderful. Badger balm is really sticky and greasy to apply. Now mine is not exactly new so that may be part of the problem. I covered anything that would be exposed and up under my sleeves some. I wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt.
Because I don’t have a lot of experience with mosquitoes, I’m not really sure if anything I went through was normal. I will say they loved my back – through my clothes.
The only thing that really worked was making very smoky fires. That worked great in the beginning because my fire making skills are not perfect but sadly, sort of, I seemed to have got the hang of it and my fires became less smoky which meant the mosquitoes came back. Even with the smoke, they swarmed just out of reach and waited for us to have to make the trek to water or the bathroom.
Will I do badger balm again – probably. Listerine? Probably not. As I said our issues with bugs are minimal so I’m thinking perhaps a bit more garlic and onions in our diet followed by a little badger balm will keep us comfortable. I do think Twin Harbors State Park is the perfect place to test any bug repellent experiments in the future and even the bugs couldn’t ruin how wonderful the place is.