As someone who loves the outdoors but detests gnats, no-see-ums or whatever you want to call those dastardly insects that seem magnetically attracted to me, I'm always willing to listen to a new folk remedy. So I was particularly intrigued to hear this week of golfer/outdoorsman Boo Weekley's solution.
The two-time Heritage champion told reporters that he had been told by a golf professional to pour a little Listerine mouthwash on a napkin and pat it on your exposed skin and the gnats will leave you alone.
"And if you have bad breath, all you have to do is lick your arms," added Weekley, who said he tried Scope but the no-see-ums seemed to attracted to that particular flavor of mouthwash.
If you're going to spend any time in the outdoors, you have to learn how to deal with the biting insects. I don't like lotions or aerosols or anything smelly, so I'm always looking for a better
Weekley's Listerine tale isn't the first folk remedy I've heard from a PGA Tour pro. A few years ago, Jerry Kelly who is allergic to the no-see-ums, said a starter at Harbour Town suggested he break off a small branch from a wax myrtle and rub it on his skin.
One of the first things I learned on moving to the Lowcountry is that Avon's Skin-So-Soft is one of the most effective ways to keep gnats from biting you. The downside is that you may smell a bit too sweet for your companions.
Fabric softener sheets also are supposed to work well. Rub the sheet on your exposed skin, and then tuck it around your neck. I've also heard garlic is an effective insect repellent.
The most effective insect repellents are ones that contain DEET, but many people shy away from the heaviest concentrations of DEET.
The latest and greatest insect repellent for outdoorsmen is the Thermacell. Deer hunters and turkey hunters who must spend long periods without moving will utilize these devices to avoid having to swat away voracious insects. The devices dispense an insect repellent over long periods of time, and hunters will often stow them underneath their stand or chair.
The device I like best, though, is a jacket made of mosquito netting with close-fitting cuffs on the sleeves that covers my head and torso. It's designed so I can wear a cap and zips up the front. It's a little warm, and it's not the easiest to see out of. It kinda' reminds me of a bee-keeper's outfit.
When I first got it, my wife and son laughed when I put it on. But now, any time there's work to be done outside everyone wants it.
If you've got some other suggestions or solutions to the no-see-um problem, let me know and I'll try to pass them along. Life's too good in the Lowcountry to have the no-see-ums keeping everyone inside.