Anti insect sprays

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Ausseknifeknut, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    Does anyone else find anti insect sprays like aero guard and bushman useless?
  2. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    The active ingredient in AeroGuard is deet, so I would guess they work as well as American products like Off. Do you not find that to be the case? Perhaps the deet concentration is lower? I've noticed a significant difference between low % deet products and the 'good' stuff.
  3. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    It is 40% deet , the mozzies love it and so do flies
  4. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    You might look for a repellant with a higher percentage of DEET. I doubt that mosquitos and flies are attracted to lower concentrations, likely just not as effectively repelled. Before 100% DEET became commercially available here, many of us bought it from military surplus stores. You should be able to find it there commerially now, if not, consider checking that source. Just use as directed, not applying directly to skin but to clothing. As a matter of fact, I have read of some clothing now with long-lasting built in treatment. I am not sure how effective or long-lasting it is though.

    Also, over the years I have noticed that insect pests are attracted to some people more than to others. In a group, there will usually be one or two who are prime targets for insects while others will hardly be bothered at all. Just conjecture but I believe it has to do with body chemistry and the scents we give off. Exhaled carbon dioxide is supposedly an attractant for some mosquitos. Clothing colors can also make a difference. But some people are just naturally flybait.
  5. Skimo


    Mar 28, 2009
    Skeeters love me, probably because I'm so sweet. :rolleyes:

    100% DEET is the cure, down in Ecuador Uncle Sam gave us permethrin to wash our clothes with, worked okay, better with DEET.
  6. Sullie


    Mar 20, 2013
    Have any of you guys used a Thermacell before? I used one for the first time a few years ago when my friend gave me one try in my treestand. A few hours into it the bugs got terrible, it was a used Thermacell so I changed the cartridge and then the bugs were gone once again. Mosquitos are terrible in Manitoba and it works. The ankle biters and horseflys can get bad when fishing close to shore in Ontario but the thermacell keeps them out of the boat which I really appreciated because then they can't bite my dog either. But I have friends who say they are worthless.
  7. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Maybe you're sweating it off? I sweat like a horse in the Australian heat and humidity.
  8. Tim709


    Jan 29, 2011
    The concentration of the deet has nothing to do with how well the repellant works. Deet is deet, higher concentrations just work for longer.

  9. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    Thanks everyone I'll look for some 100% . Bob W , it could be sweat , it was 44 degrees Celsius here yesterday
  10. Tallahassee


    Aug 26, 2013
    Native Floridian, been battling skeeter zombie hordes all my life, so here's my two cents:

    100% Deet works better than 25% or 40% Deet (better, not just longer. All Deet breaks down & wears off at the same rate. 100% Deet gets more Deet into play, which is what you want. It's not a time-release formula). Keep Deet away from eyes, mouth, and little kids' skin. Deet makes lousy cocktail mixer. Melts plastic instantly (like synthetic wristbands/clothing/shoes and plastic/acrylic watch faces, for starters). If you start to get neurologic numbness/tingling, it's too much Deet.

    Permethrin is great for spraying on clothes/tents/hats. Toxic to humans also so don't apply to skin, don't inhale, don't spray on sleeping bags, let dry. Follow directions. Kills bugs on contact, supposed to be good for ticks also. A big spray bottle of permethrin is $12 at REI here in USA, and I've seen it at WalMart.
    For the Deet-allergic, REPEL makes a lemon oil-eucalyptus spray repellant that works amazingly well, $4 for 4 oz at WalMart here in US, works almost as well as Deet for me, worth a try, YMMV.

    I installed an electric bug zapper ($25 at Home Depot) on our wooded subtropic half acre and it's cut the skeeter population by 30-40%.
    I've tried various repellant incense coils, for obvious reasons they disperse to the sky so not very effective. Skeeters definitely prefer some people's blood over others. They navigate sensing both heat and smell. Apply Deet evenly everywhere, any bare patch of un-Deet-ed skin will still draw them. A biologist tells me Deet works more like camouflage (they can't 'see' you) than repellant (garlic, crucifixes, stay back unholy fiends). I find that analogy useful.
    For like Alaskan-magnitude onslaughts I would consider a cheap mesh headnet, the kind that doesn't make you look like a pro beekeeper.

    Know the enemy: all biting skeeters are female, trying to get enough protein from your blood to make eggs to lay. Males can't drink blood, live off plant leaf sap, & die young. Skeeters need only a single drop of water to lay & hatch. Fast repro cycle.Tough little critters. The design has survived unchanged during the last two Big Extinctions.
    But we can feel smug: even a guy with only 72 hours left to live will outlive all the individual skeeters trying to bite him. Which is nice, so we got that going for us.

    You Aussies are tough. Just show 'em your knife.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  11. coyotebc


    Jan 26, 2005
    According to a study by Health Canada, higher concentrations of DEET are not more effective at repelling insects HOWEVER the effects may last longer before you need to reapply
    From the study
    DEET concentration and hours of protection:

    The percentage of DEET in your insect repellent – also known as the DEET concentration – tells you how many hours that particular repellent product will provide you with protection from mosquito bites.

    Simply, the higher the concentration (percentage of DEET), the more hours of protection.

    Adults and children over 12 years of age should use a product with the DEET concentration that best matches planned activity time, to ensure appropriate hours of protection.

    For children under 12 years of age, the child’s age is the most important factor in choosing the appropriate product. Click here for product recommendations for children under 12 years of age.
    % of DEET Hours of protection
    30 6
    15 5
    10 3
    5 2

    *If mosquito biting is noted before the protection interval (which you can find on the product label) has expired, Adults are advised to reapply the repellent, up to the maximum applications recommended per day.

  12. coyotebc


    Jan 26, 2005
    I use them all the time
    They use the same active ingredient as the old mosquito coils
    There only downside is that the slightest bit of wind make them ineffective
  13. 2manyknives


    Aug 9, 2006
    Being in the tropics, insects are an inevitable part of any outdoor experience, even sitting out the back having a beer. I find that most of the readily available repellants such as Rid and Bushman's are effective. There is an extra strength Bushman's available that lasts longer. Mosquitos are more than a nuisance here - they potentially carry life threatening viruses.

    When I'm out camping or fishing I cover up as much as possible before sunset - they are at their worst just after dark. Lightweight long pants, socks etc to keep the skin exposure limited. I usually light a few mosquito coils around the campsite.

    As for flies - well I have never found an effective repellant. Fortunately they aren't much of a problem here but when when I go down to the desert country I have found the only thing that gives some relief is a head net. Doesn't look that fashionable but it keeps them out of they eyes and nose when they are in plague proportions. Makes it inconvenient to drink a beer though.

    The other biting insect problem we have are sand flies or midges. They breed in cycles connected to high tides so they can be anticipated to some extent. Repellants work reasonably well. I know some fishermen who don't like long term use of repellants who use a mix of olive oil and Dettol.

    The natural repellants are OK. We used them on our son when he was very young rather than stronger chemical options. The only problem with them is that they don't last long and have to be reapplied every hour or so.
  14. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    Yeah we get sand flies and midges too , sometimes when I ride my mountain bike the litte bastards fly into my eye
  15. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I've had good luck with the Rid roll on stuff. I don't like aerosol DEET as it tends to end up everywhere but the skin, but drifts onto every bit of synthetic gear within the area. I also try to avoid using it as much as I can, I've had my fair share of chemical exposures in my life, and some of my older relatives are starting to show sensitivities to DEET and other chemicals. 100% used to be the standard stuff to use back home, and I wonder if that might have been a part of it.
    Thanks for posting that health canada stuff coyote, As far as I know it is the only real research into DEET effectiveness. As I recall, the extract of the study was that to minimize bodily absorption of the DEET, your best bet is lower % formula applied more often.
    There is no one magic bullet for bugs, so you need lots of layered defenses. I've heard that taking Vit B12 can help with making you less palatable to bugs. I've tried it, and it may have worked some. Some people are just more attractive to bugs as well, so you just need to find someone like that to take with you, and you'll be in the clear!

    for around the home, there is a product that is a propane powered mosquito trap, I can't remember the name, but we had one around my grandmas place for a while, and it caught pounds of mosquitos.
  16. Tallahassee


    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada as an authority on tropical insects seems like Florida U. as an authority on frostbite.

    That said, forty years of skeeter experience from The US to Africa to Asia has taught me that Deet concentrations below 25 to 40 % on adults have little to no effect. At 5 to 10% you might as well be applying tap water.
    YMMV, but that's my experience.

    Since it was mentioned, there's also a growing concern about exposing children to Deet. Personally, I wouldn't.

    Neurotoxicity is a real concern, especially long term. That's why I use the REPEL lemon oil- eucalyptus alternative. Works great for me. My .02.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  17. Ausseknifeknut

    Ausseknifeknut Banned BANNED

    Oct 26, 2013
    I've also heard deet is related to cancer ?
  18. Bufford

    Bufford Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    I spray my ball cap with deet as my first line of defence, beyond that I spray my entire body for the sake of sanity when they get really bad and I have no other choice. Inside the house I use on of those light zappers to clear any biting insects inside the house. These units work well inside the house and the mud room is a good location for one. They provide a nice night lighting effect, the only problem with leaving them on over night are the huge moths sitting on the windows wanting to get in, but they fly off later in the morning.

    In the meantime I enjoy winter and will take -50 any day over bug season.
  19. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Well, it's no good for plastic camera parts. :)
    Still you have to weigh whatever cancer risk (studies show none, although there are other health risks) against the risk of West Nile Fever, malaria, Lyme Diseases, and other horrible diseases are carried by biting insects.

    I've also seen research showing that female mosquitoes, the ones that bite, are not attracted to bug zapper lights. However, those zappers do get many insects that are beneficial.

    Gotta love this too:
  20. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000

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