August 09, 2014

Camping with insect repellant

I haven't blogged a lot about the "camping" part of my trips, so I should probably spend more time on that.  Lately, because of the volume of mosquitoes in my neck of the woods, my thoughts have turned to insect repellent.


The 1st line of defence that everyone is familiar with, DEET.  It's the active ingredient on most bug sprays
Health Canada decided that Canadians can't stop themselves from abusing (?) DEET, so they have limited the percentage of DEET in topical sprays to 30%.  The FDA has done no such thing, so I now buy my DEET in the USA.  Thank you Health Canada for limiting my selection in local stores! #notreally  I have found that the "family friendly" 6-7% DEET bug spray is enough for when you're taking the dog out for a walk for no longer than an hour and don't want to stink of DEET all day long.  For camping, however, 50-98% DEET is the way to go - because you WANT to stink of DEET all day long, that's the whole point.  Bugs don't like the smell or taste of DEET, so you want to stink as long as possible.  Coleman, OFF, and several brand names offer high-test DEET sprays in the US, and it isn't illegal to transport them over the border.


Not as well known as DEET, Permethrin is an extensively used insecticide, used in spraying, fogging, for horses, treating clothes to make them "bug proof", and so much more.  Unfortunately it's extremely toxic stuff and kills all anthropods extremely efficiently, it's a neurotoxin, and tadpoles, frogs, turtles, etc.. are all killed by it.  It's bad stuff, I admit it.  However, it serves a purpose when you are going somewhere with more than your average amount of mosquitoes, or where mosquito borne illnesses are rampant (like tropical Africa, or my back yard!)
In order to keep what little sanity I stil have, a friend of mine was kind enough to bring me back some Sawyer brand Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent.  It is a clothing treatment which renders your clothing bug-proof for a month or six washes, whichever comes first. It is worth mentioning that this is what the Canadian Forces treats clothing with prior to deploying troops overseas to areas where bugs are a problem.  Health Canada has not yet approved it for sale in Canada, but you can buy it at Walmart in the USA and bring it back without breaking any laws.  You're welcome. It is still a good idea to use some DEET in case the bugs are foolish enough to land on you anyway.
I can't stress enough how this is lethal to tadpoles, turtles, bees, and fish.  Please use it carefully in your garage, away from everything, and don't pour it down the drain.

Permethrin Clothing and Gear Insect Repellent from Sawyer Products on Vimeo.

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