1. Due to the amount of SPAM from foreign countries lately, we have made the decision to manually approve all new members. While we regret that this must be done and the added time that it will take for new members to be approved, it is necessary at this time. We hope to have legitimate new members approved in a timely manner, no longer than a couple of hours. If the Administrators are online at the time, it can be as soon as a couple of minutes. Thank you for your patience.
    Dismiss Notice

Self-made BUG REPELLENT - NESSMUK

Discussion in 'Monthly Projects' started by treefrogmt, May 11, 2015.

  1. treefrogmt

    treefrogmt Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    9
    Happy Spring and BUG SEASON!
    Woot.
    Well, the bugs are out in force here in Virginia and I decided to test my self-made Bug Repellent!
    It's the recipe you guys have already heard of - Nessmuk's Bug Dope.

    Well, two weekends ago I went out and got absolutely eaten up. I got chiggers, I got ticks and I got mosquito bites.. I was freaked. I don't have bug-phobia.. but I hate itching and it does take some of the joy out of the woods when you are getting eaten up. Downright distracting while you are trying to enjoy Bushcrafting.

    So.. I did my research: YouTube... the source of all knowledge. LOL That and any bushcraft site (especially THIS one) for any great ideas. Nessmuk's Bug Dope recipe kept coming up. So I ordered the ingredients: Pine Tar, Castor Oil and Pennyroyal Oil. I mixed them into the proper proportions (3-2-1 ounces) and heated it up so they all combined well. My wife opened the kitchen windows and put on some air freshener.. the Pine Tar is really rank.. but once all 3 ingredients are mixed.. it's not so bad. My wife still chased me out of the kitchen and said I had to make the next batch out at the firepit. LOL
    I transferred the mix into a small 6 ounce jar/bottle and headed out this past weekend.

    When I got to the parking area.. I slathered the stuff on all my exposed skin (but not near my eyes). There was rumor that the stuff gives you an unnatural tan.. untrue.. it went on pretty smoothly (and washed off easily with soap and water when i got home). It dries pretty quickly so you don't have to worry about being all 'sticky' in the woods.
    Ok.. I hiked about 2 miles in the same bug infested woods as the weekend before. I made camp, built my primitive shelter, gathered and processed firewood, relaxed and ate lunch, made a fire, slept on the ground on my canvas tarp... with a short sleeve shirt on! No bugs, No bites, no ticks, no chiggers, no mosquitoes.. nothing.

    It works guys. I'm not kidding.. I don't sell the stuff, I just swear by it now. I wouldn't have believed it if you had told me (because the same woods totally ate me up the weekend before).
    So go for it.. make some and use it. Post your results if you like.

    Any other great bug-dope recipes out there? My wife won't use this stuff.. she says it stinks and she is looking for some natural essential oils recipe that smells good. We'll see what she comes up with!

    TreefrogMT
     
  2. AppalachianViking

    AppalachianViking Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2015
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Finger Lakes Region, NY
    I'm glad it works so well! I was just thinking about this yesterday, since modern repellents always feel sticky and smell like chemicals. Where'd you get the ingredients from?
     
    Holmesmade and hidden_lion like this.
  3. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    15,510
    Likes Received:
    11,768
    Location:
    Louisiana
    too funny... god bless our womenfolk...

    Where do you find Pine Tar, Castor Oil, and Pennyroyal Oil these days?
     
    Holmesmade likes this.
  4. beachbunny

    beachbunny Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    133
    i'll have to try that again' i was discouraged the first time.it seemed awfully sticky.
    think amazon is where i got the penny royal.
     
  5. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,654
    Likes Received:
    2,031
    Location:
    Nelsonville, Ohio
    I need to try this, I've been intrigued by the recipe since reading Woodcraft and Camping bothe first time (yes I've read it MANY times haha)

    I would also like to know where to obtain pennyroyal and castor oil.
    I can get pine pitch locally.


    Also, how thick is the finished product when it's cool? Could it be stored in a shoe polish tin?
     
  6. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    5,538
    Likes Received:
    5,853
    I might have to try that. I have a good native repellent for mosquitoes, but not for chiggers and ticks.
     
  7. Pablo

    Pablo Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    280
    Pine tar is different than pine pitch. I buy pine tar in 1-qt paint cans from our local farm and feed. It's used for "hoof dressing" or something like that.
     
    hidden_lion likes this.
  8. okcmco

    okcmco Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    1,934
    Location:
    Central Oklahoma
    I have castor oil from swan sons and it's organic. Where do you get the pine tar?
     
  9. dayman

    dayman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Maine
    Be careful. Pennyroyal oil is extremely toxic. It can be fatal, or cause irreparable liver damage.
    You definitely don't want to ingest any of it - or use it anywhere another person (or dog) might be able to digest it.

    You can also grow the plant itself, and apparently dried pennyroyal leaves are a pretty effective insect repellent as well.

    I'm not sure what the rules are about posting links, but you can google it, and get all the info pretty easily.

    Amazon has all 3 oils, and any natural food source - or company geared towards herbalism or natural remedies - should carry all of them as well.
     
  10. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,886
    Likes Received:
    3,106
    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    may have to try this depending on how the bugs are this weekend....
     
  11. Blackhawk45hunter

    Blackhawk45hunter Pronounced sim-bee-duh Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,654
    Likes Received:
    2,031
    Location:
    Nelsonville, Ohio
    My bad, I meant pitch. My local Tractor Supply has it in pint cans.
     
  12. Pygar

    Pygar Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    10
    You can still find NOS bottles of bug dope intended for issue to WWII soldiers- any idea what is in it? That was pre-DEET, I am pretty sure...
     
  13. Sandcut

    Sandcut 3% Neanderthal Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,436
    Likes Received:
    4,345
    Location:
    Gouldsboro, PA
    I found pine tar at Tractor Supply Co. in the equine area. 16oz. for $12. Castor oil can be found at the local supermarket/pharmacy in the laxative section. 4oz. was $1.99.

    Haven't had any success finding oil of pennyroyal anywhere locally. Most likely because it is so dang toxic that nobody wants the liability of accidental ingestion.

    I wonder if tea tree oil would be a good substitute? I have some of that that I haven't tried out yet. That is available at local pharmacies as well for under $5.

    I think I'm going to need to do some experimenting.
     
  14. Dirtymike

    Dirtymike Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    3
    Are you still alive after your exposure to the bug dope?
     
  15. aktatts

    aktatts Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    1,068
    Location:
    Bush Alaska
    The mosquitos are so bad here nothing seems to work. At camp I usually burn punk which seems to be the best working thing. I never saw mosquitos so bad until I moved here they're just one huge cloud.
     
    hidden_lion likes this.
  16. designtom

    designtom Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    495
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    http://www.junglesnafus.com/chapter13.htm

    Copy & paste
    “612,” SAVIOR OF MANY AMERICAN FIGHTERS IN WORLD WAR II

    The first effective insect repellent I ever used was “612” (1-3, ethyl hexanediol), issued to me in 1940 when I joined a small party of other Standard Oil of Venezuela exploration geologists. We were working south of the Venezuelan Andes in jungle so insect and disease ridden that it had very few inhabitants. With “612” on my face, neck, and hands during my first day of geological mapping in the humid tropics, I did not realize how effective that repellent was for protection from a small swarm of what I thought were hovering black gnats. Those hard-shelled little pests could not bite through my untreated stout khaki shirt and trousers, but when a sudden onset of diarrhea forced me to quickly lower my trousers and squat I soon felt a stinging sensation all over unprotected bare skin that I could not see. Slapping at what my native porter belatedly warned me were “jejen,” I immediately pulled up my trousers, cursing myself, an experienced outdoorsman in other climes, for being a babe in the jungle. Americans in Venezuela called those little pests “bloodblister gnats”; actually they were one of several species of black flies, daytime flyers.
     
  17. dayman

    dayman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Maine
    Is pennyroyal potentially toxic through absorption?
    I know it is through digestion, but I wasn't sure if there was any worry about it bring on you. Pregnant women aren't supposed to use it, but they aren't supposed to eat fish either. As toxic as fish in okay with.
    It sounds like an awesome recipe, but castor oil makes things absorb more effectively, so if pennyroyal is something you only want to put on sparingly, the castor oil might make it worse.
     
  18. strike3cya

    strike3cya Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    My wife makes a bug repellent that works well. She uses eucalyptus and a couple other essential oils and then mixes in it vodka. Put it in a spray bottle, and it works! You can probably get the Pennyroyal Oil at a health food store.
     
    chekmate likes this.
  19. Sandcut

    Sandcut 3% Neanderthal Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,436
    Likes Received:
    4,345
    Location:
    Gouldsboro, PA
    OK, I've been digging around the net looking in to the toxicity issues associated with pennyroyal oil. Here are just a few of my thoughts on it. This isn't a medical opinion and I'm not a toxicologist. If you have concerns with using it, don't. If you do use it, read up on it and make an informed decision for yourself, but know that it is YOUR decision. No one forced you to use it. Now with all that butt-covering done...

    Yes there is a lot of sites on the web stating that pennyroyal oil is toxic. With that said, so is pretty much ANY essential oil. Essential oils are, by their very nature, highly concentrated biologically active compounds. The active ingrediantsents in the oils are concentrated many times more than would be an infusion (tea) or decoction. Many oils frequently used as massage oils fall among these and are sold over the counter. The key to properly using essential oils is dosage.

    From what I was able to gleen off of the net, the studies that portray pennyroyal oil as being so toxic were done on animals through direct injection of the compound into the digestive tract at doses that would require the ingestion of an entire bottle of oil directly. Similarly, in case histories where women were poisoned by intentionally ingesting the oil to cause an abortion, the amounts taken were in the range of 6-10mL. Again, that is the size of the bottles that are for sale. The amount of these comoounds that would be absorbed through topical use would be tens to hundreds of times less than these doses.

    Absorption through the skin is much lower than absorption through the digestive tract, but does occur. The trick is to get an amount of the oil that keeps bugs away without giving too large of a dose. For instance, the methyl salicylate in IcyHot is a safe dose if used according to directions. Several years ago, a female olympic athlete covered her entire body with it after a particularly hard workout and died from an overdose. Similarly, there was a case where a five year old at camp covered his entire body with a 95% DEET solution (Muskol) and then reapplied Off later in the day and ended up on ventilation. Too much is too much.

    If mixed with other compounds and used in small reasonable doses and not applied too frequently, a repellent containing pennyroyal oil should not be any more toxic than commercially available repellents if used wisely. Again, even DEET has a track record of toxicity from prolonged used by people who work in buggy areas for a job. I can personally attest to having developed nervous problems from using 95% DEET solutions every day for weeks while taking classes and doing research in coastal VA back in the late 80s.

    Be cautious with young kids and pregnant women. Young kids have a larger surface area/kg of body mass than adults do. Therefore, they can absorb a larger dose than an adult would/square inch. Likewise, pregnant women have a direct pipeline to the fetus. What may not hurt the mom, may be too much for the developing babe.

    Also, if you do use it, try it on a small patch of skin first as even pine tar is a known skin irritant. And be sure to wash your hands before eating or preparing food. A little hygiene goes a long way.
     
    gohammergo and rockett88s like this.
  20. dayman

    dayman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Maine
    I'm sold. I bought all the ingredients, and will be coming it up on the grill tomorrow.
    This will be a test of whether everything really smells good on the grill.
    Black fly season is in full swing and I'm hoping they won't like it any more than the mosquitoes.
    I have fire wood to cut this weekend, and would like to keep as much of my blood inside me as I can (also the reason I invested in Kevlar chaps).
     
  21. dayman

    dayman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Maine
    That was easy.
    I will say I'm glad that I cooked it up outside. The smell want entirely unpleasant, but it was strong.
    [​IMG]
    I made up 12oz so I shouldn't run out any time soon.
    I actually kind of like the smell of the finished product.
     
    Holmesmade and hidden_lion like this.
  22. sdjsdj

    sdjsdj Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    541
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    Please don't take this as "being a naysayer", because if you say it works, I believe you. But if it is so good, why is something "like this" not sold in a manufactured form?
    I just "dug up" some "Bye Bye Black Fly"n Ointment, that I ordered a couple of years ago and never tried. I'll have to try that out.
     
    hidden_lion likes this.
  23. StevieD

    StevieD Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    5
    What is your native repellent for mosquitoes? Cause man we got'em!
     
  24. dayman

    dayman Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Maine
    It doesn't pay to advertise something people can make on their own.
     
    hidden_lion likes this.
  25. Sandcut

    Sandcut 3% Neanderthal Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,436
    Likes Received:
    4,345
    Location:
    Gouldsboro, PA
    Just a few thoughts on this. Take it for what it's worth. I have yet to try this out, but will likely make some this weekend if I want to make the trip to get the pennyroyal oil.

    So, why does no one use it if it is so effective? (Provided that it is effective)

    First off and very importantly, most folks won't use products that smell like this. The pine tar alone has a very strong smell. Pine tar contains creosote. Have you ever smelled a newly installed telephone pole or a newly installed mooing piling in a marine environment? People generally don't like smelling like a wharf in public.

    Similarly, the pine tar will stain your clothes. This won't bug some folks much if they camp in their grubbiest "field clothes", but folks that spend money on high end, light weight, synthetic gear expect it to stay somewhat presentable. This is ironic, because in some instances, the DEET in commercial bug dope will dissolve certain synthetics while the pine tar will not. I've personally had DEET eat the plastic crystal off of a watch face as well as had a bottle tip over on the floor and dissolve a 9" gummy hole into the linoleum floor of the field station in which I was bunking.

    It could be due to a misconception that all things old are "cute" and "archaic", while all things new are "modern" and "advanced". Regardless of true efficacy, perception is reality in the marketing world.

    It may be shunned due to the bad PR given to pennyroyal within the echo chamber which is the internet. As I stated upthread, from what I can find, although it is known that pennyroyal is toxic, the dosage recieved during application of this bug dope is so small that it should not be any more toxic than the N, N, diethyl metatoluamide contained in DEET. Let's face it. Insect repellants don't "keep bugs off of you". They provide a toxic barrier that serve to make bugs reject biting you when the chemoreceptors in their feet or mouth parts come in to contact with it. Typically, they actually have to begin feeding before the bug dope can work. They just don't feed long enough to have the body respond with an itchy welt. Insect repellants by their very nature are either toxins or irritants.

    The proof is in the pudding, which is why I can't wait to try this out.
     
    hidden_lion and houstondiscdog like this.
  26. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Messages:
    5,114
    Likes Received:
    7,286
    Location:
    Maine
    Key word is Creosote, old time Maine woodsman trick during black fly season, take 3 or 4 pipe cleaners soak in creosote, bend into upside down U and stick them down in your hat band, also works well for mosquitos around face/head area because it overpowers CO2 from breath which attracts them. Warning, do not forget to take hat off before entering your home.
     
    Minnesota and gohammergo like this.
  27. Black Chrome

    Black Chrome Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    1,340
    Location:
    Southern Indiana
    Anyone have any reports on how this worked for them? This thread is almost 2 years since the last reply.
     
  28. westernb

    westernb Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    236
    Nessmuk's Bug Dope recipe kept coming up. So I ordered the ingredients: Pine Tar, Castor Oil and Pennyroyal Oil. I mixed them into the proper proportions (3-2-1 ounces) and heated it up so they all combined well. [/QUOTE]

    Thanks for sharing! I'm going to have to try this.
     
  29. skychief12

    skychief12 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    Years ago when involved in buckskinning, we used oil of anise as an insect repellent. It work very well.
     
  30. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,140
    Likes Received:
    4,435
    Location:
    Milner Georgia
    It doesn't work on ticks and some other insects, but I will not go anywhere that has mosquitoes unless I have my Thermocell with me.
     
  31. chekmate

    chekmate Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    684
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Hi! Strike3cya,

    I'm interested in this repellent your wife makes. Can you get the recipe? :33:

    Keep Your Tinder Dry
    Chekmate
     
    gohammergo likes this.
  32. skychief12

    skychief12 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
  33. 1911srule

    1911srule Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    rust belt PA
    I have read that the leave of the cedar tree that are boiled, can repel insects. Anyone use it on their clothing? I am curious how this would work for ticks...
     
  34. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,320
    Likes Received:
    3,551
    Location:
    rural America but not as far out as I would like
    Fortunately, this also has the benefit in that you will wake up with a brand new coon skin hat. Unfortunately the hat will still be alive. Fortunately its not usually a bear skin hat. Unfortunately it sometimes is.
     
    Seeker likes this.
  35. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    15,510
    Likes Received:
    11,768
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Bait shop I went to as a kid in the 70s had a resident raccoon... he lived in the aisle with the scent baits, and was usually found sucking on a bottle of anise extract...
     
  36. Judge

    Judge Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    2,012
    Location:
    Kingston, WA
    When I saw this thread last year, I thought I'd give it a go but never posted my results.
    Firstly, it is an effective recipe if a) you're not sensitive to any of the ingredients b)you can stand/like the smell. I do so I dug it and found it no more if not less irritating than DEET/bug spray, and c) you use it as Nessmuck described.
    Nessmuck describes his bug dope working best as it gets layered on, forming almost a glaze if not a shellac on your skin, turning your complexion "a fine bronze" if I remember right.
    It was last Spring when I tried it and the mosquitoes and flies were hungry. I became less bothered by them as the weekend went on and I continued to apply layers of the bug dope. My hands on the other hand never obtained the same coverage as my face & arms because, you know, hygiene. I would find that mosquitoes would pay more attention to my bare hands if I was still. If your expectation is that it will clear a 10' radius around you of all biting insects I didn't find that to be the case. They'd still try to get a bite of me but just couldn't, so they seemed to settle on being annoying in just their mere presence and persistence.
    I don't think you get the best results from this when used like a modern bug spray. It's certainly not as "clean" and in light applications is only effective for as long as the smell seems very strong. I also don't have to worry about ticks here in the Olympics , so I cannot comment on the effectiveness there.
    I still have plenty of it and use it if I'm going to be in the weeds for more than a day hike. Just my $.02
     
    Seeker likes this.
  37. whipcracker

    whipcracker Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    46
    SO I wonder Col. Whelen used during his time in the north woods...probably somtrhing similar?
     
  38. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    2,806
    Likes Received:
    1,752
    Location:
    Southern MA.
    Every so often a new outbreak of "make your own repellent" makes it's way to this and other outdoor forums, I've thought about making some a couple of times, then thankfully came to my senses before investing a bunch of money and time into something that might not work, might give me a rash, or worse make me ill over time.
    I live in southern New England, we get biting bugs with the best of them and our Ticks can ruin your life if they don't end up killing you, I've been using Permethrin on my woods clothes and Ben's Backwoods on exposed skin for more years than I can remember and it works every time/all the time, I can't think of a good enough reason for me to buy a chemistry set and try rolling my own.

    Hey, each to their own, but that's my way.
     

Share This Page