Letter Re: Dealing With Biting and Stinging Insects

Sunday, Feb 10, 2013

Dear James,
Those of us who live in the Southeast are constantly dealing with ticks and chiggers.  Sometimes the old-timers have the best ideas.  We were told that ticks and chiggers hate Vick's VapoRub.  It really works!  Before getting dressed, rub the Vick's VapoRub on the back of your knees, your ankles, and anywhere else you know they are going to go.  

But we found there are two more things you need to do to repel ticks and chiggers.  

1.  Wash your clothes in this recipe.  Most of the conventional laundry detergents, and fabric softeners have heavy perfumes.  Bugs are very attracted to perfumes!  

2.  Use unscented soap, preferably homemade, or soap that is scented with only real essential oils and not synthetic perfumes.

A doctor told a friend of ours if you find a tick on you that is having lunch and you can't get it to let go, smear Vick's VapoRub all over the tick.  The idea is that if the tick will let go first then you won't have to dig half of the tick out later or risk the spread of infection.  This truly works but it just might take a while for the tick to let go.

Our family spent several days hiking in the Southeast woods in the summer, looking for bug-out property.  The first day we followed all the rules above for combating ticks and chiggers.  The following day, no one in our family had any signs of ticks or chigger bites.  

This protocol worked great for days.  Later that same week, a dear family member offered to wash our clothes and, of course, it was washed in conventional detergent loaded with synthetic perfumes (it happened to be a very common, well-known brand of laundry detergent).  After hiking, the next day, we had chigger bites all over our body!  The Vick's didn't even help!  We thought we were going to be scarred and it took weeks to heal.  After this laundry incident we realized the importance of doing all three steps together.  It does make a difference!

Happy Hiking! - Suzanne from the Southeast

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