Hey, Buggy Boys and Girls!
We all know bugs go back a long way. Longer than people do! Bugs have a history that surpasses even dinosaurs—back to a time when some would grow to the size of a soccer ball. Fortunately, they don’t get so big anymore, but bugs are still a big botheration and they always have been for people.
Insect repellents help prevent and control the outbreak of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever, bubonic plague, river blindness and West Nile fever. But our bug repellent formulas are less than a hundred years old.
So what did we do in the past about the bugs and how did we arrive at the handy dandy insect repellent we use today?
People and animals alike have been employing some means of bug repellent for a long, long time—likely back to prehistoric times. Multiple species of primates have been observed smearing one another with millipedes and a few different types of plants. Birds have been seen performing a similar anointing behavior. Both birds and primates are thought to be doing this to deter bugs.
The use of repellents was first recorded around 450 BC by the writer Herodotus who saw Egyptian fishermen use oil they extracted from the castor-oil plant. Other remedies of the time were the burning of a slew of different items such as fish, shells, bones, dung, snakeskin, and feathers.
One of the earliest means of keeping the bugs at bay is still widely used in the modern day—smoke from
wood-fires (sometimes with herbs like mango wood, coconut husks, and wild ginger leaves thrown on the fire). People used to stand in the smoke in order to cloak themselves in the deterrent.
It was only in the 1950s that military research started concocting formulas they could spray on themselves and ‘wear’ like the Repel brand you can find right here as well as the all-natural route the Ranger Ready brand which is also available at Everything Summer Camp. As advancements continue, you’ll find some apparel is made with built-in repellent so you are quite literally WEARING the repellent just by getting dressed!
Be sure to protect yourself with the most convenient means of the modern day found here at our one-stop camping gear shop, Everything Summer Camp and enjoy the outdoors without all the bites! As always, thanks for reading!