Bug Juice and other ideas to keep pests at bay

Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
I'm heading back to Maine this coming week for 4 days canoe camping in the eastern coastal area (Downeast Maine), I have a feeling the black flies will be active and I was hoping for some new tips on keeping them at bay....
What's the brand name bug juice you use?
Do dryer "static cling" sheets really work? They look dumb on my hat in pictures.
Do you spray inside you small solo tents for mosquitoes? What brand?
Cheep gloves for hand protection around camp, what do you use?
I don't smoke, but sometimes use Swisher Sweet cigars to help, and vodka...
I have a head net, but it's pretty annoying to eat with it on, soup?
Does clothing color really help, mines all light tan?

Thanks
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Dodgeville, Wi
Robin, I really like the bug shirt, it works very well. Also, dark colors do tend to attract black flies in my opinion. I like to use 100 percent deet on my hat ... That helps to keep the bugs to at least tolerable level, I do that if I am not using my bug shirt.

Bob.
 
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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
Been a few years since I had to deal specifically with blackflies... but living in LA, I face a yearlong battle with chiggers, ticks, mosquitos, and other insects. Permethrin is my first line of defense. I spray everything with it... hat, outer shell clothing, socks, and shoes/boots. I don't do t-shirts or underwear. My daughter and I were in the Adirondacks (June/July, not blackfly season) a couple years ago, and she noticed the bugs weren't bothering me. I explained it was my "magic hat"... she stole it and I have since started treating her clothing as well.

My preference is for no on-skin bug repellent at all, but when I have to use it, I use a 30% DEET solution, usually Repel or Sawyer. I think they're all equally effective, so long as they have DEET. I read somewhere that more than 100% doesn't really help that much more than 30%.

Years ago, in Boy Scouts, I camped in the Adirondacks a lot more often, and sometimes we carried a can of Raid insecticide with us, to spray the inside of our tents with. I haven't used that much in the past couple decades though.

Dryer sheets? never heard that was effective against anything but mosquitos, and Skin So Soft is supposed to work well against them, if that's the only threat (it's not in my area) and smells nice. We used it in the Army.

Have never used a bug shirt or gloves.

I have used a pipe against bugs, but it didn't seem to be all that effective. Campfire smoke works well, especially if you through a green cedar (cypress here in LA) on it to create a smoke screen... burns your eyes, so the cure can be worse than the disease.

Head net is effective, especially with permethrin. Haven't used one since I was a kid (parents had a camp just outside the blue line near the town of Ohio, NY, north of Utica). No, you can't eat easily, but since you're probably near a fire at mealtimes, THAT'S when you sit in the smoke and deal with the tears.

Clothing color matters. Blues are very attractive to mosquitos, don't know about other bugs... like you, I have an outer layer that's all tan/beige/light green/khaki. Lots of color choices there (haha).
 
G

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Robin,

Here's a link to a thread with a number of good suggestions: http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/showthread.php?257-Bug-Shirts&p=1579#post1579 .

I use a DEET-based product called "Muskol" that comes in small pump bottles. DEET's not a healthy thing to put directly on your skin, but the bugs are so bad where we camp that we pretty much have to put some on exposed skin otherwise they will simply land on you. Putting it on my clothing has never worked for me, except when there are very few bugs. During the peak periods, nothing short of direct application to the skin will keep them off. I should say I have had success using some less toxic and better-smelling wipes (SkinTastic by the makers of Skin So Soft lotion), but the effect isn't as long-lasting. But it's pleasant to wear compared to DEET.

When we camp, we cover up with long sleeves and pant legs, wide-brimmed hats and we apply DEET, and when it's really bad, we bring bug jackets. We also use the Parawing VCS tarp and bug mesh as an outdoor shelter. That's been a huge improvement for us when camping in black fly season.

And color of clothing does matter. I've even tested it for myself by changing pants (from dark blue, black and light beige and back again) to see if that made a difference. It makes a big difference. I will not, for any price buy any dark camping shirts or pants any long. If I can't get it in very light colors, I won't buy it. In any case, dark colors are hotter on warm days in the bush. My old dark colored camp clothes are worn only outside of bug season now.

Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
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Joined
Jul 25, 2012
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838
Well, I'm trying two new things this year; 3M Ultrathon insect repellent (lotion) timed release protection. The deet is 34.34% in the past I've been cranky to find some piece of gear dissolving with 100% deet fingerprints on it! They say that the Ultrathon is what the troops are given.

The second thing is 100% pure citronella oil. (www.nowfoods.com) To my nose it has a pleasant smell and is supposed to have a repellant effect. It's not expensive and I'll try several ways of using it. We used, years ago, those green coils of punk with citronella that you'd let smolder, seemed to work. Don't know why a little on a stick of firewood wouldn't have just about the same effect.

Like Seeker, I'm spraying just about everything with permethrin. My camping clothing is tan and greens. By accident I got two pair of camping pants that are too long; I was going to hem them but decided to just "blowse" them and hope any tick crawling past the permethrin pant leg would get a lethal dose.

As old and stiff as I have become I find it more and more difficult to find and remove ticks. The last of the little buggers that I dealt with I used a bit of toilet paper sopping with denatured alcohol. My hope was that the alcohol would kill, dehydrate away his moisture, and maybe sterilize anything he might be carrying. He had attached himself on my back where I could just about reach him. After the alcohol had evaporated, I dug him out.
If anyone has a better system I'd sure be glad to hear of it.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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My opinions is somewhat different form other posters. I have found colour makes absolutely no difference when the bugs are bad. Deet provides temporary (but short) relief. Black flies and mosquitos are attracted by CO2, so the obvious solution is to STOP BREATHING. Yes, every spring, I stop breathing until August.

Ok, just kidding. One thing about blackflies in tents....they will not bother you. As soon as they get into a tent, they will go to the ceiling or side wall and crawl around. Mosquitos, of course, will torment you all night. Up here, we burn a small piece of pic in the tent just before going to bed. It kills all the bugs in the tent dead. Spraying bug spray inside the tent is not a good idea. I had a friend who did that for a couple of years, and she destroyed all the water proofing in the tent. Heavy duty Raid inside a tent is not a good idea if you value your prostate and other internal parts.....insecticide os bad for you.
 
Joined
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Rochester, NY
Like Seeker, I start with permethrin treated clothing. When needed my deet brand is Ultrathon. Oldie, you will like it. It has the deet suspended in a cream. Application is much nicer than the liquid. Apparently the cream also allows it to last longer. IIRC, the ultrathon cream was developed for the military. I believe it is a 3M product.
 
G

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On my AT thru hike I started using Lemon Eucalyptus from Repel at the suggestion of a friend. The black flies and mosquitos were terrible in Maine. As soon as I put it on my skin and hat you could watch the bugs fly away from me and attack someone else. It is not oily and has a cooling effect on the skin and a pleasant smell. I cannot use deet since I developed a sensitivity to it in the military. It causes a severe burning feeling where ever it is applied. Deet is a masking agent and confuses the senses of the bugs so they cannot locate you as easily. It also melts some plastics like watch faces; GPS screens; and some cellphone screens. It's personal preference. I prefer not to use it but many others use it with no problems.

The Repel product is a natural repellant and insecticide. The bugs know where you are and will fly nearby but do not land. It works well on noseeums and blackflies also. It does not last quite as long as Deet so you have to apply it a little more often. I don't use the sprayer, I just carry a small bottle and put it on like after-shave.

http://tinyurl.com/Bug-Repellant-Study
is a link to a study that shows the effectiveness of different products.

Permethrin works well and is safe for skin contact when dry. The liquid form is very toxic to fish so take care around the water if you are reapplying it or using Yard Guard at your campsite. It is a contact insecticide but it is slow acting. It's great for killing ticks as they crawl up your pants leg. It kills the others too but not before they have a chance to bite you. If you want to see how it works just treat the netting on your tent and watch how long the mosquitos dance against it before they die.

A friend of mine, and avid hunter, swears by Thermocell products. I have used the one based on the candle lantern and find it works very well when eating and for latrine trips into the bush. They claim a 15 ft perimeter of protection and that seems to be accurate.

I have a bug shirt and also a head net that protect me very well but I was surprised to find out how hot they made me feel while wearing them. I don't use a tent. Usually a tarp and bug net. I don't use noseeum netting because I find it restricts the airflow too much. I switched to mosquito net (larger weave) and stay a lot cooler. I am always looking for ways to stay more comfortable in the heat; for others, it's the cold. When I was in Maine waiting for Mt. Katadin to open to hikers it was cool and rained on me every day for the first 40 days of my hike. I kept thinking that this would be a great place to enjoy the outdoors in the summer. It was hard for me to fathom that it was June and it was summer (there was still snow on Katadin's summit). Perspective often dictates the way we do things.

I guess it all boils down to what works for you; where you are; and the way you paddle and camp. We are fortunate that we now have several repellent choices that were not available to us even just a few years ago. Good luck finding a bug free technique that compliments your canoeing style and location.
 
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Aberdeen, MD
Permethrin is deadly to cats as well... not sure what the physiology is, but dogs and farm animals are fine... just not fish and cats.

I need to look at that Lemon Eucalyptus stuff.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Thanks for the input, I never heard of all the options out there now and was surprised. I quit camping in the bug season a while ago after a nasty weekend in the ADK's one spring, now it's before or August-October(August is a great time to trip in Canada imho)
But, This trip I'm taking for 4 days starting this Thursday was arranged by someone else and I didn't want to miss it, all wood canvas canoes, 4, maybe 5.
I will make a list and go shopping, and report back. I don't think I'll buy the bug shirt this time, but it's a good idea for future trips. The pic sounds good for in the tent, I have seen them for sale but never tried them.
Thanks Again, I was hoping I'd get some good info and it sure was.
 
Joined
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S.E. Michigan
My wife bought a bottle of the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus spray that Driftwood recommended (Target carries it). While working in the yard this evening I tried it out. I was impressed, she sprayed my arms and neck, the mosquitoes would not go anywhere near those areas instead landing on my pant legs and shirt. Next time I will spray head to toe and see how it works. We agree it has a much more agreeable scent vs other sprays and I didn't feel like I had been coated in goop. Thanks again for the recommendation!
 
Joined
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Yep! tdcolby that's the stuff I remember from long ago. For this summer I bought 100% citronella oil from nowfoods.com. It comes in a small sturdy bottle with some kind of plastic restrictor that lets you shake out drops at a time. My plan is to put it on firewood and adjust the burn time and distance to the flame to see what works best. The full strength oil is mighty strong and for what you get dirt cheap. I bought a bottle of their Lemon-Eucalyptus oil (100%) and cut it with denatured alcohol (1:10) and put it up in an empty Ronsonol lighter fluid container. Very handy, but don't be near any ignition source for the minute or so it takes the alcohol to evaporate. Smells fine to my sniffer; wish I could say I tested it out on the bugs but so far it's too cold here for them.
Buying these oils full 100% I think saves you money and allows you to adjust how strong you use it.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Hey, guys - I noticed on the bottle of permethrine that I just bought that it says not to spray on hats or caps. What's up with that?
 
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Steve, guessing here, but maybe that manufacturer is worried that what with people fiddling with their heads and hats and then eating with unwashed fingers they might become ill? With all the Prianha lawyers out there, offering anything to the public must be a nightmare.
I do know I spray everything except underwear and the inside of my hats, the part in contact with my head sweat. Maybe they are worried about fisherman who wear lures on their hat; the stuff is supposed to be hard on fish and cats. Double bad on catfish.
I believe it's like so many things in this modern life; you try to pick the lesser of two evils. For darn sure I'm fearful of the tick born diseases.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
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"supposed to be hard on fish and cats. Double bad on catfish."


:D:D:D-Funny

I bought some Repel for my trip to Maine last week, it was so cold and windy, I never saw a bug and never needed the stuff. So it worked I guess
 
Joined
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Raymond, ME
My bug repellent worked just fine over the last three days. Even though it was in the closet :)

High wind two days. Pouring this morning. We packed up early and came home! It was not a canoe trip; though.. rather one of those k***k trips on Muscongus Bay. But it was SO cool to hear the seals bellering on a ledge about a quarter mile away and the loons on a lake about half a mile away...from the same campsite.
 
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