Gnats Attack!

Isn’t this a great picture? I did not take it myself, but found it somewhere in the internet. Thanks to the photographer.

Mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks and other blood hungry insects are not only a nuisance, but also can transmit serious deseases, especially in (sub)tropical regions.  So, how do we protect ourselves?

According to latest consumer tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest) the most effective repellents contain either “Icaridine” (also known as “Picaridine” or “Saltidine”) or “DEET” (developed for the U.S. Army in 1946). Both substances proved to be an effective deterrence for blood sucking insects. The higher the concentration, the longer the protection – up to 8 hrs. “Natural” repellents (like PMD or Citronella based) did not seem to be effective. 

Best is to combine this “chemical” with “mechanical” protection. Wearing light colored, tightly woven, though light weight (cotton, linen) long sleeve shirts and pants and using mosquito nets at night helps a lot. 

In very high risk areas (e.g. Amazonas) it might be useful to impregnate clothes and/or mosquito nets with “Permethrine” (

My favorite repellent is “Ballistol Stichfrei”. It contains 20% Icaridine in an oily, well smelling (my opinion) base.  Norbert prefers the non-oily spray stuff, like “Autan” or “Off”.


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