Prevention of bites and stings

The chances of being attacked by animals that bite or sting are really quite high. It is not possible to provide complete security against such attacks, but certain pre- cautions can be taken, as for example by not bringing old birds’ nests into the house.

If one is bitten the first thing to do is to identify the species involved, and to trace where it came from. If this is not possible, the position of the bite (see p. 52) and an analysis of possible sources of attack will often provide useful clues.

Protection by nets

If the animals involved come into the house from outside, for example mosquitoes and gnats, nets fixed over the windows and doors will be effective. In the absence of nets, ordinary curtains will provide a certain amount of protection, especially if they have been treated with some kind of deterrent.

Deterrent substances

There are several substances that deter insects and mites and these can either be sprayed on to the skin and clothes or used as an ointment. The best of them remain effective for about 4 hours. They are mainly for use outdoors and do not really provide a solution to the problem indoors.

The insecticide pyrethrin also acts as a deterrent and can, for example, be sprayed on to shoes and socks if one has to enter a flea-infested house. Pyrethrin is also included in some of the fumigants which may prove very effective in keeping mosquitoes away.


Certain insecticides, obtainable from the chemist, can be used directly on the skin or in the hair, and these are effective against mites and lice. Other pests, such as fleas, ticks and bed bugs, only attack from time to time, and so it is not sufficient just to treat oneself, but better to treat their hiding-places and surrounding areas with an insecticidal spray or powder.