It’s been written that at any given moment, a billion billion bugs are besieging the earth. Unfortunately for hunters and anglers, many of these creepy crawlies love feeding on humans. Bugs bite, burrow, buzz and bother. We swat, scratch, scream and scram.
In years past, folks smeared on bear grease or doused their clothes with kerosene or just didn’t bathe for weeks, all to elude outdoor pests. Today, we can use more pleasant ways to avoid the misery spread by outdoor pestdom.
Around 200 species of mosquitoes occur in the United States, and we pity the person who counted. Female mosquitoes, the kind that bite, need a blood meal before laying eggs. To find you, they follow your body’s chemical trails. The carbon dioxide you exhale is like the aroma of bacon frying over a campfire to hungry mosquitoes. Their bites spoil hours of leisure time, and some mosquitoes transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus to humans. More than one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.
The best ways to avoid mosquito bites are to wear protective clothing when outdoors and use insect-repellent products containing DEET. These include Tender Corporation’s Ben’s 30, Johnson Brands’ Off! and Spectrum Brands’ Cutter. DEET has been the most widely used insect repellent in the world for more than 60 years and remains the most effective repellent available.
DEET disrupts the ability of biting insects to detect the source of carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes and other biting bugs to us. Insects aren’t killed; they just can’t locate their prey. Follow label instructions and DEET products are safe. Be aware, however, DEET can dissolve rayon, fishing line and the finish on rods and guns.
Among the latest tools for combating mosquitoes are ThermaCELL products: Mosquito Repellent Appliances and Mosquito Repellent Lanterns — from the Schawbel Corporation. Each operates on a single butane cartridge. The cartridge heats a repellent mat and releases allethrin. Allethrin is a synthetic copy of the natural repellent pyrethin, found in chrysanthemum flowers. The repellent creates a virtually odorless cell of protection that is up to 98 percent effective against mosquitoes and other biting insects.
The protected area is 15 by 15 feet, or 225 square feet. Protection lasts up to 4 hours per mat or 12 hours per refill kit.
The ThermaCELL appliance units are about the same size as a television remote control and are cordless and odor-free, making them idea for use when hunting, fishing and camping. The ThermaCELL lanterns provide light along with insect protection. The lantern light and mosquito repellent can be used separately or together. The Patio Lantern, with two illumination settings, is excellent for deck use and outdoor entertaining. The Outdoor Lantern has eight LEDs to provide twice as much light as the Patio model. It’s also lightweight (under a pound) for easy transport. Both models operate using four AA batteries.