Bug Season There are many ways to deal with insects on the trails, and most tips come down to personal body chemistry - they work for some people and not for others. The most common things to protect against are ticks (which can carry disease), chiggers (which can create an itch that will drive you crazy), and gnats (which are simply annoying). All of these are more of a threat when the temperature is hot; with risk reduced near zero in winter, particularly in freezing weather. Ticks and chiggers: A good commercial outdoor insect repellent is simplest. For those who don't like those, try sulphur powder. Some of us keep a small container of yellow sulphur powder (obtainable at most drug stores) in the car, with sponges in it. At the trail head, simply shake well, then pat the sponges around your socks and shoe tops; around your waist, and perhaps sleeve openings. Gnats: Swarming gnats can be uncomfortable enough to ruin a good day on the trail. Try placing a dryer sheet inside your hat. It works for many of us. Replace daily during warm season. OMH member Kris McMillen writes: A couple of years ago at the Trails Festival at Byrd's I bought some "Bug Buster Bars" from "Delsie" (the soap lady from Ozark, AR). They come in a stick like deodorant and are effective. They have all natural ingredients like citronella and vanilla so are safe for your skin. She gives 20% discount to visitors to her "soap room". Delsie, P.O. Box 48, Ozark, AR 72852 [479-292-3267] delsie@cswnet.com. Here is some good advice that Elsie gave me: #1 Don't use laundry detergent or fabric softeners that have scent. If you must have a scent, use citronella-vanilla combination. You can buy citronella essential oil at most health food stores and the vanilla must be pure vanilla, you can dab a little on a cotton ball and throw it in the dryer with your cloths. #2 Don't use any deodorant, soap, lotion, cream, sun tan lotion or any product on you skin that is floral, fruity or sweet, (except pure vanilla, imitation vanilla attract bugs), Suntan products that contain strong coconut or cocoa butter smells attract insects, Unscented products are better. #3 Gnats swarm one's face because of the breath. Sweet, sour, fruity and beer scent attracts them more than anything. You can help with this by chewing a gum they don't like, old fashion black jack gum if you can find it is a good one, or sucking on a lozenge that contains licorice, chewing antacids help too. (back)