Why Avoid Insect Bites?

Insect bites can be annoying, itchy and sometimes painful. Insects spread potentially killer diseases like Yellow Fever, Dengue and Malaria. With some diseases like Malaria you need to take tablets and protect against bites to reduce your chances of catching the disease, since antimalarials are not 100% effective. With others like Dengue there is no prevention other than avoiding being bitten by using bite avoidance products properly.

I React Badly to Bites, Is There Anything That Will Help?

Yes. Take a once a day, non-drowsy antihistimine starting 2-3 days before you travel and every day that you’re there. This will minimise reactions. Otherwise, if you do get bitten, take ‘Piriton’ every 6 hours and apply hydrocortisone cream, found in our Independent Medical Kits.

I Always Get Bitten No Matter What I Do, How Can I Stop It?

Do you apply the DEET liberally every 1-2 hours? It is important that you don’t use repellent too sparingly. Do you use Permethrin treatment on your clothing as well as DEET on your skin? Do you cover up all exposed skin? Ensure you are in long clothing and DEET applied to your skin, BEFORE sunset, as it is at sunset that mosquitoes are most active. If you follow these guidelines you really shouldn’t get bitten so much but it’s important to understand that repellents only reduce the chances of being bitten.

I’ve heard Vitamin B / Marmite / garlic etc are brilliant at preventing bites. Is it true?

No. Research by London School Tropical Medicine has shown them to be ineffective and the ACMP do not recommend their use. If used, use it alongside researched and proven methods such as DEET.

What Insects do Repellents Work Against?

Most biting or sucking insects such as Mosquitoes, Ticks, Sandflies, Fleas and and some Flies.

What is the best insect repellent and why?

20 – 50% DEET. Recommended by Advisory Committee for Malaria Prevention (ACMP) if visiting malaria areas. Gives longer lasting protection than other alternatives and is known to have a good safety record. The higher the percentage of DEET used the longer it lasts.

What Other Options are Available?

There are various other Bite Avoidance products available, both repellents and contact killers, with different uses and applications. Beside DEET, we stock mosquito coils, plug-in diffusers, fabric treatments and mosquito nets.


How does DEET work?

Although DEET has been used for over 50 years, scientists still aren’t sure exactly how it works. Mosquitoes sense odours produced by humans and animals with their antennae, and it is thought that DEET confuses insects by jamming their odor receptors. DEET is not an insecticide so it doesn’t kill insects or ticks.

Is DEET harmful?

No, it is very safe. It’s been used since 1946 by US forces and since1957 by approximately 200 million people per year worldwide. There have been only 21 cases reported where it has caused harm and 6 of these cases were a direct result of drinking it. Twelve of these 21 cases resolved completely, without any residual effects. DEET can penetrate through the skin, but is then excreted in the urine – therefore it doesn’t accumulate in the body.

I still have a bottle of DEET left from my trip last year, will it still work?

Yes, just check it isn’t discoloured and it should be fine. DEET will last for 5 years or more if kept out of direct sunlight.

Can I use DEET to spray my mosquito net?

No. DEET is a repellent, and you require an insecticide to ‘kill’ mosquitoes on your net to prevent them from biting you. Nets should be treated regularly with a net treatment kit.

Can I mix water with 100% DEET to make a spray?

No. Neet Deet (100%) is oil based. If you mix it with water it will separate. An alcohol base is required to dilute it (as in 50% DEET). It is therefore advisable that you purchase 50% DEET already prepared.

What are the most common side effects associated with using DEET?

DEET and other repellent ingredients will sting the eyes. This goes away immediately when you flush your eyes with water. Very rarely, some people develop a skin rash. It clears up quickly when the repellent is washed from the skin. This may be related to other ingredients in the formulation. Anyone routinely sensitive to cosmetics, fragrances or shampoos, etc, should try a small amount of a DEET on the underside of the wrist to see if there is a skin reaction.

Mosquito Coils

What are they used for?

Mosquito Coils are an insecticide (kills insects) made of a dried paste of pyrethrum powder. They are used outdoors to repel mosquitoes. Ideal for putting under your table while having dinner or on your balcony in the evening.

How do you use them?

Put the coil onto the stand (provided) and set light to the end. The coil then burns with a smoke. It can be put out at any time to conserve it. You can also ’break’ bits off, to burn a little at a time.

Can I buy Mosquito coils abroad?

Yes you can, very cheaply in most developing countries. Occasionally however, they will be of poor quality so may not work as well as the ones bought in the UK.

How long will a mosquito coil burn for?

Approximately 5-7 hours. However, if you don’t want it to burn that long, you can break off a small chunk of the coil and just light that. The stand is simple yet very clever; you can mount an entire coil on the top or balance a smaller chunk of one using the notching in the stand’s side.

Can I burn a Mosquito coil in my room?

Yes you could use the coil to ‘clear’ the room.  To do this, first light the coil until it starts to smoke. Leave the room and wait outside until it has had time to ‘smoke out’ any mosquitoes.

Will a Mosquito coil repel other insects?

Yes it will repel biting gnats/flies.

Plugin Diffusers

What Are They Used For?

Plugins contain an insecticide, perfectly safe and harmless for humans but deadly to mosquitoes. They are used indoors, where you have a mains power supply, so great as extra bite avoidance when staying in hotels or hostels.

How Do You Use Them?

Simply plug the diffuser into the mains power supply and it will release the insecticide while you sleep.

How Long Do They Last?

They last approximately 37 nights, when emitting vapour for up to 6 hours a night.

How Do I Refill the Plugin?

The plugins can be refilled with either a liquid refill or solid tablets. This gives you versatility depending on your type of travel, and means you can easily top your plugin up if need be.