Bouncing The Bugs Away

Mosquito bloodfed
Mosquito bloodfed by eyeweed, on Flickr

In a group camping situation, I’m “That Guy”.  You know, the one everybody is thankful is around because all the bugs seem to be biting him.  For some reason I tend to get singled out for the airborne attack, and with my allergic nature, I tend to get largest bumps you’ve ever seen.  So I’m always on the lookout for something to improve my chances in the wild, battling the vampiric forces of the bugs.

With that said, I was quite happy to see this bit of research on the Medical Today site: Scientists Prove Fabric Softener Sheets Fend Off Insect Pests

In my search for more weapons in the battle against the bite, I’d heard of people suggesting using drying sheets with some success; now there appears to be some scientific proof to this case.  According to the study:

“In all five experiments, the mean proportion of fungus gnat adults collected in the sample compartments containing the dryer sheets were significantly fewer, ranging from 12% to 18% ,whereas the compartments without dryer sheets contained 33% to 48% of the fungus gnats released in the arena”, said Cloyd. “This study is the first to demonstrate that Bounce® original brand fabric softener dryer sheets repel fungus gnat adults under laboratory conditions.”

by admiller, on Flickr

So in their test, they used the fungus gnat, and saw dramatic population differences between compartments with dryer sheets vs. those without.  That gives some good legs to the theory, and hopefully what works on fungus gnat will work on mosquitos and deer flies.  This seems even more a likely to work because when they analyzed the contents of the dryer sheets in question (Bounce® Outdoor Fresh Scent™, Procter and Gamble) the scientists found linalool (present in lavender, marjoram, and basil – toxic to several types of bugs) and beta-citronellol (Citronella anyone?).

With my bug problems, I’m definitely going to start including some dryer sheets in my camping gear to try and limit by blood loss during the average trip.  Heaven knows I’ll lose enough through other means :).   The test seems to have simply placed the sheets on the ground, so to get the same effect it seems you could possibly just carry some in your pockets, or in your bags.  Maybe a few posted around the garden could help with the pests as well.

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