Saturday, 11 August 2012

Warpaint and Horseflies

I hate horseflies! They are huge, weirdly attracted to me and their bites give me an inch-wide red allergic reaction, which is both painful AND itchy (how is that even possible??). You can even see the little bugger's “teeth” marks!

It's actually a sunny summer's day today so I dutifully marched outside to clean Jools, after several hours of doing anything else I could think of. Within a couple of minutes I had three horseflies zipping around my head, back and legs. A blast from the hosepipe did nothing to deter them, so I stomped back inside to discover that I'd already been bitten.

People suggest wearing long-sleeved tops to protect yourself. The problem with that is that these flies can bite straight through fabric, even jeans! Think about it; they bite horse skin for a living! I had to come up with a better deterrent.

Whilst Googling, I discovered that horseflies hate mint, lemon and ammonia. People suggested spraying yourself with a minty mouthwash solution, but we don't have a mint-flavoured one at the minute so I... improvised.

Turns out toothpaste does not rub into your skin like suncream!

All in the name of science, I strolled back to Jools with stripes of value toothpaste like warpaint all over my exposed skin and clothes (good thing we live in the middle of nowhere)! I was out there for another 20 minutes, during which one horsefly buzzed around me for a couple of minutes but left without chomping me. I consider that a win! :)

Does anyone know of a way to repel these evil little blighters, or am I doomed to be eaten alive for the rest of summer? :(


Pamela said...

Horseflies! Ugh. They are TERRIBLE. When we'd go my aunt's house in the summer we routinely got chomped. Good to know about the mint--maybe a mint-scented lotion would do the trick? Or a mint-scented spray (vodka or rubbing alcohol with mint oil)?

cumbrian said...

You're doomed.

Brian Cowling said...

The unfrugal way to combat horseflies/clegs/deer flies is to use DEET - it isn't cheap though.

I've heard that garlic repels them but that'll ward off your boyfriend as well.

After you've been bitten, RIBWORT PLANTAIN can ease the pain. It grows wild all over the UK.

It's the plant that children (and Grandads) play with by holding the stalk between thumb and forefinger, with the bottom of the stalk looped around the back of the flower head. By pulling sharply the head can be 'fired' a considerable distance.

Google "ribwort plantain" or/and check out this website: for further info on it's healing properties.

There are so many free/frugal medicines growing wild.


skipandscatter said...

Looking sharp! :)
Ugh... Here, these buggers are known as "mouches à chevreuil" or deer flies. Camping in July is such a pain. So far, the most efficient way I have found is to stay under water as long as possible. Downside? Living a normal life becomes kind of hard.
I have heard that what you need to do is mask your smell. Apparently vinegar (diluted with water) works well. Worth a shot?

Lili@creativesavv said...

What about pennyroyal? It repels a lot of insects and is part of the mint family. You can make an all-natural flea collar for pets from pennyroyal, so it stands to reason you could do the same for yourself. Take a bandana, open flat, place a long strip of fresh or dried pennyroyal down the middle diagonally. Fold in half diagonally, roll up and tie around neck, wrists, ankles.(You could just stuff pockets with pennyroyal or mint, too) You could also try this with mint, as you already know mint works with horseflies.

For me, I get eaten alive from mosquitos. (and I'm allergic) They bite through clothing too. But I've found that they can;t bite through polar fleece. So in summer evenings I'll wear my polar fleece jacket outside, and this helps protect my arms, neck and body.

Ali said...

I don't know how to repel them, but have found that Lavender essential oil works wonders on the bite - it really takes the itch and the redness out of it. You have to make sure it is Lavandula angustifolia though.