The Life-Changing “Bug Bandana”

Today’s mid-April blizzard has me looking forward to summer hikes. Not that I don’t love a good winter hike…in its time.

Before the mosquitoes become rampant this spring, I want to share with you a discovery that has been life-changing for our family. We call it the “bug bandana.”

This invention/discovery/brainstorm dates back to the 2016 Summer of the Zika Virus (at least in our family…others have probably had the same idea, and for all I know maybe even Moses utilized this method of warding off mosquitoes).

So back to the summer of the Zika virus…after a 2-night campout in a local state forest, our then-2-year-old looked like he had been abandoned in the Boundary Waters for a week. His hairline was covered, engulfed, SMOTHERED in mosquito bites. Poor kid. Then we realized, ‘We should protect his hairline with a bandana so the bugs can’t bite him there.’ And then we realized, ‘We should coat the bandana in bug repellent for extra defense.’

So here we are, gearing up for summer hikes, sunshine, and inevitably mosquitoes. In our family, 3 of us leave a wooded area counting our bug bites by the dozens per square inch. The other 2 of us have a few bites (total count, mind you). Must be nice for them. So for we 3 who apparently have the mosquito-attracting pheromone, this Bug Bandana is just what we need to enjoy the outdoors.

It’s very easy to prepare, use and store:

  1. Obtain a bandana that can fit around your/your child’s head.
  2.  Spray the bandana with your insect repellent of choice. My personal favorite is made by mixing 1 cup of water and 2 Tbsp. vanilla. It’s safe, easy, more effective than DEET (in my experience), and you have the yummy aroma of homemade cookies on your body (instead of sticky OFF!). Another option we’ve had good luck with (but according to the directions should not be used on kiddos younger than 3) is DEET-free Lemon Eucalyptus.
  3.  Wear along the hairline, covering the tops of the ears. (Usually we tie it on the back of the head, at the nape of the neck – in the photo below, it wasn’t tied to make room for the climbing helmet). For that matter, you could even wear one on an ankle and/or wrist.
  4.  Store in an airtight bag when not in use. We find that they stay very potent when kept this way. Be sure to keep your Bug Bandana Kit in your daypack, purse, vehicle, etc. so you’re always ready for an adventure. Take that, mosquitoes!


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