FW: [Birding-Aus] Insect repellents for Leeches

Subject: FW: [Birding-Aus] Insect repellents for Leeches
From: "Fiona Anderson" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 12:48:44 +1000
Yes I agree, that the picardin based "OFF" is good. We actually learnt about it on this site. We (Klaus and I) were thinking of doing a similar thing with Rid and "OFF" but were too tired by the time we got to Thailand from Bhutan to try. We did use OFF though and thought it was quite good although we did get a bite each - both on unprotected areas though. We only spent 2 days birding in Thailand though as it was only a stopover.



From: Carl Clifford <>
To: "birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Insect repellents for Leeches
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 13:58:02 +1000

Dear All,

I have just returned from 10 weeks in Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. During that time I trialled 2 insect repellents for their effectiveness against leeches. One repellent was Bushman containing 20% DEET, the other Off! Skintastic containing 92.8 g/L Picaridin. I found that both repellants were equally effective in repelling Leeches, though the Off! Skintastic did no have as long an effective life under conditions of high humudity. Under these conditions I perspired profusely and had to re-apply the Off! Skintastic every 2-3 hours to my skin.. It had a much longer period of effectiveness on clothing and footwear. The location I visited included leech hot-spots such as Danum Valley, Fraser's Hill and Tanum Negara.

I not only relied on the Leeches finding me, at each location I caught Leeches, both the terrestrial and Tiger and placed them on treated skin, footwear and clothing. These leeches tried to leave the treated areas very rapidly.

During the 10 weeks, I suffered 11 Leech bites, all of these being on untreated areas of skin. I did not use Leech socks and wore shorts at all times, often with sandals.

It seems that Picaridin based insect repellents are a good alternative to DEET based ones in situations where there is a risk of the repellent coming into contact with materials such as plastics and synthetic fibres. I saw what DEET can do to some materials at one location. I rested my foot on a painted wooden rail while applying Bushman one day, the next day the paint on the rail that had received some over-spray had started to bubble an lift away from the wood where the spray had hit it.

No Leeches were intentionally harmed during these trials.


Carl Clifford

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