It appears I am haute cuisine…

At least for the midge, mossie and horsefly population of Nottinghamshire, England.  Good grief, I am being eaten alive this year!  What is new however, is that I am having reactions to the bites and my legs (apparently, they are the tastiest part!) are all red, angry and blotchy with the allergic reaction to whatever it is that the little beasts inject when they suck my blood.  I must say, it is not the summer look I was going for.

insect bites

I have done quite a bit of reading about these little biters and about what attracts them to people.  Apparently, one of the major attractants is the smell of stale sweat.  Nice.  Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.  However, I assure you, I do not smell of stale sweat to anyone other than these horrid bitey beasties,  It has been hot enough here to do quite a bit of the sweating thing, but I am fastidious about washing and cleanliness.  And I use deodorant.


I do remember being told that the number of eggs in your diet can make your blood sweet, but apparently the scientists say that is an old wives tale and absolute bunkum.  I actually agree with that, because I don’t eat that many eggs, so it can’t be that my blood is what is attracting them.   Also, Vitamin B in your diet is said to dissuade them from nibbling at you, but according to the scientist I heard on the radio a couple of days ago, that doesn’t work either.


So, it would appear that I am now on the menu for beasties.  What can I do about the very unpleasant itchy and painful bites on my legs?  I do not want to drench myself in insect repellents (though if you live in an area where West Nile Virus can be caught I would counsel you to do just that – better safe than extremely ill!).  A traditional remedy is lavender.  Apparently putting lavender oil on your clothes can drive the little blighters away.  THAT is definitely in my arsenal then.  Also citronella essential oil is used to dissuade all kinds of flying things, but I must confess, I am not wild about the smell of that.


If they are brave enough to get through the cloud of lavender, then how can you stop the itching of the bite?  Some people make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water and apply liberally to the affected area.  Some people also use toothpaste, or a paste made with aspirin tablets crushed up with a bit of water (both these are also used to take the redness out of acne spots).  I have used a cream made with aloe vera which seems to have worked as well.  I might use straight aloe vera if I keep being nibbled, but you need to be aware that using aloe all the time can make your skin photosensitive and more prone to burning in the sun.  Best to be warned about stuff like that.



Does anyone else have any remedies used to great effect in your family?



1 thought on “It appears I am haute cuisine…

  1. Isobel Morrell

    That illustration looks a lot like a horsefly bite – as suffered by yours truly in the past – than just merely a midge! The aloe vera route is certainly soothing, I would think, but not curing. You just might need to resort to a short course of anti-histamine to reduce the inflammation around the bite area. When I found out my allergy to stings, can remember being counselled to always have an sliced onion around – for bee stings, to reduce the immediate pain. The baking soda was OK for wasps! Trouble is, when one is stung by either, all one wants is to reduce the pain and often forget to distinguish which variety is the author of that trauma!



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