mosquito biting a person's arm

Q. I am very sensitive to mosquito bites, and mosquitoes LOVE me. If I get one bite, I have ten. A friend suggested a shot glass of tonic water each day. While she was on her honeymoon in a tropical country, a local told her about this.

I tried it, and it works! When I lived in Colorado, I took liquid B complex to ward off mosquitoes, but since moving back to the east coast, only tonic water works for me.

A. Thanks for the tip. We’ve not heard before of drinking tonic water to discourage mosquitoes and we could find no scientific studies to support this strategy.

We did hear about a slightly different remedy from another reader: “I used to get covered with bites whenever we went camping. A friend told me to drink 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water daily.

“I start a week before departure and while we are camping. I have used this remedy for years and mosquitoes leave me alone.”

Other readers have recommended using coconut oil on the skin, and there is a commercial product called Bite Blocker that combines coconut oil, soybean oil and geranium oil. You’ll find more remedies to help prevent mosquito bites at

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  1. Rosemarie

    I have started to drink a glass or two of tonic water daily and I have not been bitten for three weeks. I usually am covered this time of the year from head to foot and usually end up with scars from scratching.

    I also use an anti-mosquito repellent from Avon, but previously I did get bitten if I forgot to put it on. The tonic water seems to work well for me. They say there is not enough quinine in tonic water to be of any good at keeping mosquitos away. But it works for me.

  2. MPH

    Would odourless garlic supplements have the same effect? I get skeaters syndrome every time I get mosquito bites. When I went to the pharmacy he thought it was spider bites, I knew it wasn’t. I live in Northern Ireland and visit relatives in Virginia every year. The mosquito bites ruin my holiday and I’m left with the scars to remind me. I think I’ll try the tonic water and the B supplements and the garlic in the hope that something should work.

  3. Marty from Modesto

    I too am taking Warfarin and have noticed the same. I used to be the only one or at least the first to get bitten on camping trips.
    Since taking warfarin, 5 to 8 mg a day, I no longer get bitten as bad. Seems like they go in for a taste and then move on. I get no bite bumps or redness anymore.
    I have told my doctors and they just shrug it off.
    Another weird thing is since I have full time atrial fibrulation, I no longer can stand the steady beat of music or the worst, RAP. I don’t consider that music. My Doctors could care less.

  4. CC

    I put some water on the bite then sprinkle salt on the water. Takes the itching away for a while.

  5. CB

    I got a couple of mosquito bites on my face recently. I had an alcohol based hand wipe in my purse and used it to wipe off the area. Amazingly the bite marks went away and so did the sting. I usually get huge swollen areas from mosquito bites.

  6. Roger

    My mother swears that taking alfalfa will keep mosquitoes and even yellow flies away. She has been using it for years. We even supplement alfalfa in our doberman’s pet food one time in the mornings. He will be six in November. Since that time he has had one flea, which he picked up at a kennel and one tick which was dead upon inspection. He has had no other flea and tick treatments and we live in Florida.
    We have all started using alfalfa. I have no idea why this works, I have found no reason for why, but we are going to keep using it.

  7. K Jacks

    I was a tasty meal for mosquitoes and the like until I started taking warfarin (post heart surgery). I still get bitten but nothing like as much and the effects are minimal. I take a fairly large dose, 10mg daily; is there something in warfarin that prevents bites and/or itching?

  8. JAO

    I have been covered with mosquito bites and thanks to your info they are gone. I tried putting soy sauce on my bites and they instantly stopped the itching–what a relief!!!! thank you to those who sent in the suggestion–I will be able to sleep tonight without fighting mosquito bites!!!

  9. GDP

    Tonic water is water with quinine. If it doesn’t have quinine in it, it’s not tonic water.

  10. DWD

    So maybe mix the vinegar with the tonic water? Not harmful, not expensive, so I am going to give it a try.

  11. Bee

    The article on tonic water discouraging mosquitoes…? Plain tonic water or water with quinine. Both are available. Just curious.

  12. JT

    Tonic water contains quinine, which was used to treat malaria, a mosquito-borne disease. Perhaps that’s where the idea of using it as a repellant came from. Newer treatments for malaria have replaced quinine. From what I read, it is not a reliable mosquito repellant. But gin and tonic is a great summer refreshment! Others have suggested eating garlic or a garlic spray. However, that has not been clinically proven.

  13. Len A.

    Good Morning
    While working in Alaska I heard from several locals that eating raw garlic would keep mosquitoes away. Of course, that would also keep EVERYBODY away.
    Keep Smilin’

  14. Brian N.

    I also have a possible mosquito prevention tip. My wife and I both used to get hit hard by mosquitoes, biting flies and other biting insects whenever we traveled to someplace they were a problem. About eight years ago I starting taking twice daily garlic supplements. I realizied a few years ago I haven’t had an insect bite of any kind since and my wife, who does not take garlic, continues to suffer.

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