Effective repellant for no-see-ums?

We call them sand gnats. Almost invisible, no screen can stop them,and I think they drink Deet.

I use…
Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil. About 10 to 20% diluted in water. Best I found short of wearing netting…

Cutter or Off both work great
Get it with 23 or more percent DEET.

Used it daily in the Everglades and in the Chassahowitzka national Wildlife area.

Without it, both the no-see-ums and the mosquitoes would attack

Years ago I tried Skin-so Soft, but had too many truck drivers wanting to beat me up so went back to the normal stuff!



if you use deet keep it off fabrics
I lost a couple of nice waterproof/breathable jackets and some latex wrists gaskets because I accidentally got deet on them.

If it does that to fabrics I don’t really want it on my skin.

I tend to use natural repellents, OFF, Cutter, and several other brands have that kind of product. You have to apply it more often, but I don’t mind that.

I’ve always disliked repelants
I hate the feel of that stuff. But to answer your question, deet is supposed to be the best repelent commercialy available right now, so I agree that anything with a high concentration of deet in it would be your best bet. For me, I love my original bug shirt. The mesh has always kept gnats out here in connecticut and the company claims to have made the shirt with no-see-ums in mind. Also a big plus for me, is that the company seems to be small and is owned and run very personaly. Good people, good product. A little pricy, but it is quality and I expect it to last, though personaly, mine are only one year old. I found them here on paddling.net, they are one of the banners you see on the top of the page from time to time. I also bought my wife a shirt with the pants and she loves them as well.


Another vote for the Bug shirt
I bought me and my wife bug shirts a couple of years ago and we love them for keeping mosquitos,gnats,etc. at bay.

don’t do anything
I’ve found nothing that works when they’re really bad. DEET, skin-so-soft, whatever. You can get a bug suit or you can just deal with it. A local, self-proclaimed cracker told me years ago “don’t do anything. I haven’t been bit by a no-see-um in 40 years.” It takes a while, and it still stings a little, but you get used to it. I do carry a bug suit on trips though, and wear it when breaking and setting up camp in low-light conditions.

Get Cutter Picaridin

It works as well or better than deet and does not have the drawbacks of deet. It will work on no-see-ums.

Tests have shown that only deet and picaridin are effective repellents. The other stuff has a minor effect, if any, that does not last.

The Avon is somewhat better than
DEET for the “face gnats” we have in the southern Appalachian mountains. The gnats try to get to, and under, the eyelids. They are mostly visually guided but the AVON oil does seem to deter them. Also, I have less trouble with stinging eyes with Avon than with DEET products.

I have not yet experienced no-see-ums getting through the screens on our Kelty and Sierra Designs tents, but I’m sure there must be some tiny enough to do it. With an old Gerry tent that had looser netting, we would hang a cloth moistened with DEET and/or Avon inside the tent. This seemed to reduce the number of no-see-ums entering.

just bought a gallon
of this stuff. Seems good so far, smells and feels better than DEET.


Our season hasn’t really started yet, except for ticks, and thus far I’m happy with it in that regard.

makes a great repellant. I’ve never been bit by anything when I have it on. Otherwise I don’t wear anything… your skin toughens up by the end of summer… but with all the viruses that circulate these days I’ll probably start wearing stuff more often.

Just be careful …
… about what you read on their website! Garlic as poison? Yes, if you’re hyper-sensitive to it. By that token, “seafood” and “bee stings” are poisonous … to a few. The website also proclaims carbon dioxide (CO2) as “highly flammable” - which it isn’t. They’re also alarmist when it comes to permethrin but permethrin “is not known to harm most mammals or birds. It generally has a low mammalian toxicity and is poorly absorbed by skin.”

It’s a good idea to be well-informed about anything you put in or on your body. But the key phrase is “well informed”! Don’t believe everything you read on a website no matter how authoritative it appears. Check and cross-check and then make an informed decision. This company is - after all - trying to sell a product. And it may actually be the best and most effective insect repellant ever invented in the history of mankind … or it may not.

Get used to them
DEET didn’t stop them in AK, at least not on the mud flats.

I simply got used to feeling those sharp little “pinches” all day. While I would not go so far as to say you’ll “not notice them”, it is possible to tolerate them after a while.

Now, horseflies, deerflies, greanhead flies, mosquitoes are a different matter.

That’s the first I’ve

– Last Updated: Apr-16-08 3:29 PM EST –

heard of the vanilla idea. I'll have to try it. Although, I highly recommend you do not do this in Alaska. Unless you're looking to become a Timothy Treadwell vanilla wafer.

At least vanilla is harmless
Have to admit when I hear advice like that, I wonder if someone’s playing jokes on outsiders.

When everybody was raving about Skin-So-Soft as mosquito repellent, I tried it (in Colorado). It attracted more mosquitoes. Worthless stuff.

Repel’s lemon eucalyptus worked for me, as did one of Cutter’s picaridin-based sprays (there are several varieties of them). But I don’t know if they work on no-see-ums.

I call ‘em midges
among other less socially acceptable names. I don’t mind the little ‘pin prick’ sensations but, the resulting itchiness is enough to test my patience. DEET has worked for me mostly but, still, lots of scratchin’ an’ swearin’!

Effective Deet free repellent
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus works for me in the Adirondacks. Check out the comments at REI.

Believe it or not, even here in our great U S or A there are places that are relatively free of annoying, viscious, biting insects.

I’m visiting the coast for the weekend.
We are no-seeum free up here. I bought the Cutter.

Stopping the No See Um’s
In bug country I start my trips by taking my clothing and hanging it over a smoky fire of Alder or Western Red Cedar if in the west. In the east any of the hardwoods will due. Let your hair and body also be exposed to the smoke. Take some garlic pills before going also. I wear a head net and use 90% Deet on areas around clothing openings. If you are wearing river wear like a dry suit avoid Deet and use a non Deet product around areas that touch the seals. Never put Deet near your eyes or mouth. Wear clothing in the natural colors of brown, green and black. The color blue seems to hold a higher attraction to the little critters. Try to avoid sweating and high heat output by your body. The no see ums are attracted to heat output.

Nothing is going to insure you won’t get bites, but the number should go down substantially. Those that travel in the tundra or swamps are going to get bitten unless they use some form of space suit.