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I'm A Bug Magnet — The Grow Network Community
He who plants a garden, plants happiness.

- ancient Chinese proverb

I'm A Bug Magnet

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 457 ✭✭✭✭

This may sound ridiculous but when I go outside there might as well be a sign on me saying "Lunch Buffett For All Bugs".

I've been this way since childhood. Now I'm at the other end of the age scale - already well into retirement. And I still fight with the bugs every single time I step out the door. Anyone else may get one or two bug bites at a family picnic. I'm a mass of welts all over me. I even get them on skin that is covered.

Now I learned about a year ago anyone who has an O+ blood type is more prone to bites. And yes that is my blood type.

The only way I can get away with gardening is I'm outdoors everyday usually by 4:30AM. At the Fall change of season I go out an hour or so later because it's still too dark at 4:30.

But this way I can get a few hours of work in before sunlight...thus bugs end up chasing me back indoors.

Anyone else have this problem or ever heard of anyone which does have it?

I have spent my lifetime trying to figure out any way to reduce/eliminate or just find any kind of solution to this problem.

Anyone else ever hear of this and did you find a way to help yourself or someone you know?


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,024 ✭✭✭

    Wow, your picture brings back painful memories of 5 minutes outside and three weeks of itching recovery. I also have been a bug magnet for most of my life. I read that bugs like mosquitoes are drawn to those of us who exhale the most carbon dioxide. Until a few years ago, both nostrils were mostly blocked so I was primarily a mouth breather. The biggest impact, though, was when my ovaries were removed -- I think our hormones must flavor us and/or give off a scent that the bugs like. I do get an occasional bite in my desert environment. I will admit that I have not tested my new resistance in a humid, buggy climate during summer.

    A face mask might test the carbon dioxide theory? You may try different soap and shampoo in case there is an ingredient that draws them. (I had fruit scented bath gel that drew ants into my shower AND into my scrubbing puff.)

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 777 admin

    I have read, many times, that eating a lot of garlic will do the trick... if so, ramps would probably be even better. I eat plenty, but still get bitten. Granted, I don't smell of garlic when I sweat... only ramps, briefly in the spring, when nothing is biting.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 457 ✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl yes I can tell you can relate. Your 5 min/3 week comment is an exact perfect scenario.

    Only problem is I never seem to get to the end since I make myself go outside everyday.

    The soap/shampoo/cleaning supplies etc. etc. idea I had thought of also and I can't get them any plainer. I make all my own to avoid the fragrances/chemicals etc so I use the "plain jne" varieties of everything so I have no added fragrances.

    I've never heard of the carbon dioxide theory though. I'll have to check into that. Thanks

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 457 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 I don't mind garlic but my digestive system sure does.

    I have leaky gut and garlic aggravates the condition. But I wonder if garlic capsules would work? Since they are formulated from garlic itself I doubt it but I don't absolutely know unless I try it.

    People often wonder why I love winter - it's easy since there's very few bugs!

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 441 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Insects seem to find me delectable as well. All my life, like you, I've been their target while no one else is bothered. Never heard of the O+ blood type connection but that does happen to be my blood type. I take B vitamins daily, consume lots of garlic and little sugar. I cope by using herbal repellents, homemade and store bought. In the warm/hot seasons, I wear airy, long sleeved, light cotton tops and find full long skirts helpful, their movement seem to deter somewhat. For the bites I get anyway, I use witchhazel, calendula salve and Colloidal Silver. Will be watching closely for anyone's solution to being a "bug magnet".

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,024 ✭✭✭

    For the record, I am AB+ blood type, so bugs like that too.

    There are WAYYYYYY less bugs in the desert, but gardening is tougher.

  • bcabrobinbcabrobin Posts: 104 ✭✭✭

    I have a problem of being a tick magnet. I have had over 60 documented tick bites. We have free range chickens and they have helped. But I put in a new section of fence and last week husband removed 4 from my back.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,024 ✭✭✭

    @bcabrobin Whoa! Your situation is way worse. Watch what colors you wear: I witnessed my husband gather ticks one time, and other bugs another time, all because he was wearing a yellow t-shirt. The good news is that the bugs were immediately visible, but we threw out the shirt and do not go outside near plants or grasses wearing bright colors.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 457 ✭✭✭✭

    @bcabrobin - since I have a yard and house full of pets I must stay on top of fleas and ticks both. And what have I found that works the best... Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.

    It's no instantaneous solution but dust your yard with it all Spring/Summer/Fall long the first year every week (whenever your season is in your area for those types of bugs). It doesn't have to be heavy, just get some down. If you have a very large yard like me, I dust within 25' of my house out into the yard and then make sure I get around every door of my house and in any areas where I spend a lot of time (like my detached garage, the wood pile, the gardening area walkways, around the compost pile etc. Just pick what is your high traffic areas.)

    Two things to remember though, if it rains or gets wet (from dew or a sprinkler) it's gone. Dust again. Second DE is also injurious to your pollinators if you are a gardener so keep it down low to the ground. Rarely do you see bees, butterflies etc. walking across your yard.

    Don't waste your time spreading it off-season for them unless you live in a warm weather climate all year long. It's just a waste of your money in cold weather.

    Then the second year I started doing it once a month when the weatherman states a long stretch of dry warm weather will be around. The third year I just see how long it can go before I notice the animals are scratching again or I'm checking them all and removing ticks.

    This is my fifth year now and I spread it in early May and haven't had to do it since. I also have 9 cats and I have not found one tick on them all year so far. (The first few years every cat was getting multiple ticks removed everyday.)

    So yes it is a build-up of protection but it is so well worth the time and money to get it down.

    Just make sure it is Food Grade that you purchase. If it doesn't say it, don't buy it, I don't care what the salesman tells you.

    With some time you will find this works. Good Luck with it!

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 258 ✭✭✭

    I am a bug magnet too! I where leggins outside in the middle of the summer to work in my garden - even to fill my hummingbird feeder. Mosquitos mostly like my legs. I put an organic coconut body oil by Nutiva on my arms. It seems to work. Either that or they just don't like my arms! 😀

    The past couple years we've had very bad ticks in our yard. They were so bad I had to stand on a yoga mat to pick my blueberries so I wouldn't find one crawling on me later. One of the best things I've ever bought are what we call our tick socks. I heard an interview with the owners on one of Dr. Jay Davidson's Lyme Disease summits. https://www.bugbewear.com/ Last year I bought both my husband and I each a pair of their socks. They worked so well! We didn't find any ticks on us last year so this year I bought more. Each pair lasts for 70 washings so we could have kept using the ones we had from last summer - but decided to buy new ones anyway. They're not very expensive and well worth it!

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