If you are ever in need of insect repellent especially to keep those pesky mozzies at bay, try mandarain peel oil. In fact try any citrus peel oil.
About two weeks ago we found ourselves camping at Katherine Gorge and discovered we had forgotten to bring the mozzie repellent. Since the mozzies kept me from enjoying the moment, it got me thinking what else I could use as a substitute. I vaguely remember watching an old Bear Grills episode where he rubs crocodile fat on him to repel the mozzies, then my mind switched to a lesson my boss gave me about rubbing baby oil to stop the midges (i.e. no-see-ums) from biting from the last time we went fishing… I figured since the common denominator was oil, any oil was going to be my best bet. I looked around, but the only oil I could think of was lard in the packet of my 2 minutes noodles… there was no way I was going to rub that on me, far from being a repellent, I’m sure I would have been an attractant to a many number of things out there. Then it hit me, the peel of an orange contains oils that can be squeezed out, I went into my bag of goodies and instead of oranges I found the mandarins. Good thing they were mandarins and not oranges, much easier to peel you see…
After I was done eating them, I collected the peels and started to squeeze the oil from it and onto myself. The peel of one mandarin is all you need, the oil that comes out has an immediate aroma and spreads quite easily on the skin. As I’m doing all of this my mate thinks I’ve gone nuts. Suffice to say he become the control and I the guinea pig. Now one experiment is not going to be conclusive, but I felt I got immediate results, after applying mandarin oil on myself the number of mosquitoes waging war dropped dramatically. You might have expected my mate to be losing in that war since he chose to do nothing but he too was also not bothered by the mosquitoes as much. The only explanation I can give is that since we sat near each other he too was enjoying the repellent effects from my mandarin peels.
I have since researched this further and lo and behold the Internet is full of anecdotal evidence of orange peel oil as an insect repellent – Google it yourself. Again while you wouldn’t treat it as science, it sure doesn’t hurt to experiment and the reason this article is being posted is simply due to the frugalnomics of it. Bringing mandarins or other citrus when camping next time, is now multifunctional, it now provides food and mosquito repellent. This is a no brainer especially for all those weight conscious back packers. As frugalman would say “the more you know the less you carry”.