Who invited all these bugs?

Larry has some tips for getting rid of those pesky mosquitoes

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to go camping, fishing, hiking or just relaxing by the fire without the abundance of biting insects that seem to enjoy the same places as we do. How about the frustration created by those two or three mosquitoes that followed us into the tent at bedtime and only announced their presence after the light was turned off?

It’s all part of our outdoor adventure, but we can take some steps to minimize the nuisance created by what feels like a million biting insects surrounding us.

Some of the old strategies for avoiding mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums include eating a steady diet of garlic, rubbing on Avon’s Skin So Soft lotion, applying the white powder from the bark of poplar trees, or just sitting in the smoke of the camp-fire. Some or all of these may work part of the time, but you really need something you can depend on to keep the bugs at bay.

There are rub-on lotions, atomizer/squeeze-type sprays, aerosols, smoking coils, area foggers and a Thermacell device that clears a 10-metre circle around you for about four hours. There are natural and chemical products available, but generally the chemical products are more effective. The most effective chemical products contain DEET in various concentrations. A newly discovered and very effective natural product is Icaridin or Picaridin, which is actually as effective as DEET when used at a slightly higher concentration.

DEET also proves challenging for the user as it will dissolve many types of plastic including some synthetic clothing, sunglass lenses and fishing tackle box trays. The above noted natural product does not affect plastics. Both DEET and Picaridin are safe to use if the instructions are followed, including not getting any in your eyes.

These products are both available in varying concentrations and are more effective at a higher concentration. Re-application is necessary after anywhere from one to six hours.

Mosquito coils are quite effective in a no-wind situation and are simple to use by lighting the end of the coil, blowing out the flame and placing on the small stand that comes in the box of coils. These are also good for 10 minutes inside the tent prior to bedtime or when you first arrive at the cabin.

Thermacell area repellants use butane to burn a wafer held on the top of a device similar in size to a TV remote. This emits an invisible gas that actually does work well at repelling bugs for a 10 metre circle for up to four hours.Area foggers can be powered by propane or electricity and are temporarily effective. New bugs will arrive at some point, but relief is yours for a while.

DEET is greasy and has an odour while Picaridin is non-greasy and odourless.

I’ve never liked creams or lotions on my skin, so I’ve always carried a head net big enough to go over any reasonably sized hat. Bug nets are made of mesh and are not hot to wear. They squash down to nothing in your pocket or fanny pack until needed. You have to take them out of the way to eat, but you can drink right through the mesh. Light cotton gloves will keep the bugs off your hands.

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