By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It may not feel like summer yet, but hey, it’s only a few months away. You know, “those days of soda and pretzels and bugs.” With apologies to the great Nat King Cole, I personally have more trouble with bugs than beer. Flying insects just make life oh-so-miserable.
What’s a person to do? Most of us slather on the insect repellent. Yes, I know there’s a cadre of Avon supporters who swear by liberal applications of “Skin So Soft,” but I dunno, it seems to me the poor bugs drown in the stuff – and somehow, I suspect that the Humane Society might have raised eyebrows about the mistreatment of the class insecta.
What’s left? No doubt, the ever-popular insect repellents containing DEET. But according to an article from the Washington Post, “A 2013 analysis of about 4,000 DEET-related calls to poison control centers found that 450 people needed medical treatment after applying DEET; two died. Most cases of seizures, slurred speech, coma and other serious side effects have occurred in people who ingested DEET or applied it for three or more days in a row, or used products with 95 percent DEET or more.”
Avon’s out. DEET’s out. What’s left? Here’s the latest scientific suggestion: Body paint. Now here’s a way to cut costs on expensive swimwear – bypass those spendy Speedos and swimwear from the Victoria’s Secret catalog: Just get somebody to outfit your epidermis in zebra stripes.
An article posted by newatlas.com reported that researchers in Hungary took mannequins and painted one beige, one dark brown and another dark brown with white stripes. The trio was then “finished off” with a nice coating of glue and left out in a summer meadow. Results? The number of horseflies stuck on the striped test dummy were far less than those on the beige model, and the poor unstriped brown test subject had ten times the number as the striped one!
Oh, and they checked the sex of the marauding flies, too. The dummies when left lying prone on the ground were attacked by both male and female horseflies, but standing mannequins were only bit by female horseflies. This might have some bearing on those who like lying around in meadows or on beaches; but don’t forget, female biting insects are generally after your blood.
So here’s the drill. Make yourself naked, then get help from a friend who promises not to laugh while applying liberal coats of paint in a striped pattern. You may now proceed to the great outdoors with high expectations. Of what? Fewer bug bites – yes. And in some localities – a citation for public indecency.