Turn Back Bugs by Applying DEET in These 6 Places

Beat back ticks, chiggers, and other biters with this strategic use of powerful bug dope.

After decades of tinkering, I’ve perfected an insect-protection system that has cut the number of ticks and chigger bites I find on my body by 90 percent or better. Modifying clothing keeps biters out, and precision application of a roll-top or sponge-top insect repellent makes it possible to use strong DEET formulations just where needed. I rarely use anything less than 30 percent, and when the chigger infestations are high, I use 100 percent DEET without hesitation. The idea is not to cover your entire body, but to draw a few concentrated chemical lines that’ll turn back bugs.

1. Hat Combat
Douse the same hat in repellent every time: Apply it to the crown and brim—and don't forget the very edge. This will produce a vapor barrier in front of your face but keep the chemicals out of your eyes.

2. Choke Hold
Seal off the first entry point to your torso with a stripe around your neck.

3. Fully Armed
Stripes above and below the elbow and around your wrists keep creepies from crawling up your arms.

4. Waist Land
Pull up your shirt and run a stripe around your waist an inch above where your pants ride.

5. No-Fly Zone
Stripes below the bottom edge of your underwear on the upper thighs and around each leg below the knee ensure that the tick and chigger recon squad can't move up or down.

6. The Clincher
Tuck pant hems into socks and run a band of duct tape around the seam. Apply more DEET to boots, socks, and pant legs below the knees.