Forum: Misc. GPS Equipment Information
Topic: Bug Off !!
started by: PC Medic

Posted by PC Medic on Mar. 28 2002,6:29 pm
OK, I am sure I am going to here it from a certain member about this thread, as he once submitted an independent test on the most effective insect repellents. Unfortunately I have lost it during the winter months.

Any way, with warmer weather approaching we can expect an increase in activity of both cachers  :^: and yes Skeeters and Ticks. :(  In fact I have already seen a couple of folks mention some serious tick encounters. One in Indiana and I believe the other in North Carolina. With the mild winter many experienced something tells me it could be a rather active year for insects.

I figured I would give everyone an opportunity to tell us all what they have found to be the most effective repellents when in the field. So lets have it, what do you use?
Posted by mikechim on Mar. 28 2002,7:35 pm
I only use deep woods off, however it IS NOT the most effective tick repellant.

The best is Permethrin (sp?) which isn't a repellant but an actual tick insecticide.  I know I know sounds like bad stuff, but a considerable number of studies have shown that it breaks down when it comes in contact with the skin.  It's the same active ingredient used in hair shampoos for head lice.  Anyway what you do is spray your clothes and let them dry.  They then kill any tick that crawls/lands on them for the next two weeks or so.  IT can even stand up to a few washings.  I do have bottle of it from Sawyer products (who make a bunch of great safety, first aid, and bug spray products) but haven't personally used it yet (will wait for a  long backcountry hiking or caching trip in dangerous territory, somewhere that I pull 150 ticks off myself  :) ) you can also buy an industrial military grade solution of the stuff and dip your clothes in it, this lasts a LOT longer 52 weeks.  The idea would be to set one set of clothes aside for geocaching and treat that.  
The obvious disadvantage with this comes for those of us, myself included, who start wearing shorts once it's humanely possible and keep wearing them til you can't handle the cold in fall anymore.  Still treating your shoes or socks would help, even treating your shorts, shirts, and your undergarments would help a lot as ticks usually like to take their sweet old time and find a really nice place to settle down and start munching.  Usually the on top of the head, near the hair line, or around the groin.  They basically start heading up til they can't go any further.  It's actually kind of neat to put a tick on a stick and keep flipping the "up" end of the stick.  Usually it will reverse direction after a bit and keep crawling in the up direction.  Ohh yeah one more nice thing about Permethrin is that after it dries it's oderless, so your kids won't complain DX.  :)

That being said Deet (the active ingredient in most bug sprays) wich is golden against mosquitoes and good against ticks is pretty much worthless against several of the biting flies. It does a great job of "hiding" us from mosquitoes.  I can speak from experience when I was out on Asseteque islans in Ocean City MD, both me and my buddy headed out on a couple mile long hike on the beach to a cache.  We both had 100% DEET on and just got derailed by the biting flies.  It was literally so bad that if you stoped your legs and feet turned black from being covered with flies.  After about 5 minutes of searching for the cache he gave up and ran to the ocean, I looked another 5 minutes lost my sunglasses looked for those and finally ran away to the ocean (ended up that the cache had gotten washed away before we got there) we ended up wading the entire way back in chest high waves just to keep the flies off us.  Morale of the story, use the black fly repellant (Broad Spectrum Composite Spray) from Sawyer or another company.  It contains another ingrediate besides Deet, it's R-326 not sure if there is a general of off brand version or not.

Also if your worried about DEET's effect on your skin (heck the stuff does melt plastic, although they claim it doesn't pass through the skin) you can get a controlled release formula, which uses a much lower amount of DEET but since it bounds it with a protein (or something like that) it lasts up to 20 hours and a solution of 10 or 20% Deet is as effective as much higher doses of deet (in the normal Deet applications high levels of DEET are sprayed on you, they then make you invisible to mosquitoes until it all evaporates.  Suppossedly the controlled release holds the DEEt in the protein compound so it doesn't all evaporate away.  Although I'm not sure the FDA has issued any claims on it as of yet.
Also for those concerend about DEET their are several natural alternatives, although I"m not entirely sure how effective they are.
Posted by mrmom on Mar. 28 2002,8:10 pm

For biting black flies, use the Bounce regular scent dryer sheets.  Dry your clothes with them.  Before you  venture out, take a fresh sheet and gently wipe it where they are most likely to bite.  This is great for the back of the neck.  One year while passing through The Adirondack Mountains during late spring, I stopped at the local roadside culvert/urinal and in seconds was covered with blood sucking black flies.  After the mad dash back to the vehicle and pulling out the Bounce, they would not land on me.  The Bounce actually saved that vacation because I would not have stayed there without it.  Small dabs of paint thinner or kerosene keeps the mosquito's away.  During the Army days, this actually worked better than the issued bug repellent.
Posted by mikechim on Mar. 28 2002,8:16 pm
Quote (mrmom @ Mar. 28 2002,10:10 pm)
For biting black flies, use the Bounce regular scent dryer sheets.

Thanks for the advice, wish I would have known about that then, I'll definately have to give it a try.
Posted by Gimpy on Mar. 28 2002,11:45 pm
Thanks, mrmom. We spend some time up in the Adirondacks every year, & I'm well aware of the black flies. I'll for sure pick up some Bounce sheets & keep them with me. Great tip. :D
Posted by barrington on Mar. 29 2002,7:58 am
Avon "Skin So Soft" lotion was popular locally as an insect repellant a few years ago, even to the point that a large western NY utility company was issuing it to their linemen.  

There's been controversy about DEET for years, NY State won't allow sale of repellents with high percentages of it.

My dog uses a pretty effective repellent for most everything, but I've been reluctant to roll in the stuff she does to try it. :sick
Posted by Road Kill on Mar. 29 2002,7:10 pm
I use "Survivor Insect Repellent" whose lable boasts 21.85% DEET.  Though the directions say you can spray on skin I DO NOT use it on my skin. I take off the shirt, spray the cuffs and collar (and not any part that touches the skin) then spray my shoes and pant cuffs as well.  I will say it makes a big difference with the bugs but I've yet to find out if it's shortening my life. :)
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