• Mosquito Repellent Application?

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  • I've got DEET in little bottles, little spray bottles, larger aerosol cans, some wipes. The wipes & hand-swipes leave a mess on my hands, unpleasant smelling and plastic-melting. The sprays can work okay but I can't easily get it on my lower legs without turning the things upside down, leaving another mess eventually on my hands too.

    I'm heading to the great white North soon, but lots of others are heading into Zika areas - and we all will have a similar problem of avoiding mosquitoes. I'm going for work and will not be able to avoid touching plastics, etc., and there's not going to be many places to wash excess DEET off.

    So who's got a solution to this problem of DEET application - and avoiding getting it where it doesn't belong?

    (I'll have to try some Nitrile gloves to see if they melt...) Thanks!

    7 2
    Question by Wayne Ruffner
    05/18/2016

Have you considered using Permethrin-impregnated clothes instead of DEET? They’re incredibly effective and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of DEET. You can either buy pre-treated or get concetrated bottles of Permethrin from Amazon and do it yourself.

Here’s one useful page with details: http://sectionhiker.com/treating-your-clothes-with-permethrin/

Answer by mistamo
05/22/2016

How about wearing gloves during application?

Answer by involute
05/22/2016

I would second the recommendation for permethrin treated clothing. You can either buy pretreated clothing (permethrin should last the life of the garment) or treat it yourself which should be good for 8 washings. What I found quite acceptable for exposed skin was liposomal DEET. I did have access to soap and water in the morning to wash my palms after applying it. My exposure would typically end at 4-5PM. I would apply about 7:30 AM wash my palms and rarely reapply. I was not in water but certainly sweated. Worked for me.

Answer by jrraines
05/23/2016

I’ve switched to picaridin (also called icaridin). It works as well as DEET for me when I’m gardening, and I am a mosquito magnet. It is not a solvent for plastics, the smell is much more pleasant and less intense than DEET, and it does not leave a greasy feel on skin. (I don’t wash it off my hands because mosquitoes will just bite my fingers, and the swelling can be painful.) I have not tried it for full-day use, and there seems to be some research suggesting that its effects are of shorter duration. But I’d use it if I were going to spend all day in the field, perhaps reapplying it as needed. And I would definitely use permethrin-treated clothing.

Answer by worsted
05/23/2016

I am originally from the great white North so your question gave me cause to smile; I remember vividly the clouds of mosquitoes while playing softball in Alberta.

It doesn’t fully answer your question, but one of my mosquito-repelling tricks is to apply the spray (I use Deep-Woods Off) directly to my ballcap before putting my cap on. It keeps the gnats and mosquitoes away and I don’t have to apply it directly to my face. I’ll apply the spray directly on my arms and legs. After the game, the cap goes in the wash. Hope that helps! Have fun up North!

Answer by kag0
05/23/2016

I frequently travel to the Amazon for extended remote trips. I have also been in the jungles of Cameroon, Africa for a month. I NEVER use DEET. DEET is too nasty.

I spray my own clothing with a Permethrin spray I make by diluting down 10% permethrin (can buy Martin’s 10% permethrin on amazon.com but I have also seen it in feed stores). Don’t recall the percentage I dilute off hand and don’t currently have access to the info, but many sites have information on making your own. You can also get the prediluted spray from Sawyer. Permethrin is what the military sprays on the BDUs and all new mil spec BDUs are now required to have the pretreatment from the manufacturer.

I treat my clothes, socks, boots, hat and backpack (not fun getting a back covered in chiggers from setting it down so no more of that happening). For Cameroon I also treated by outer sleeping bag and travel sheet and used a Sea to Summit pretreated insect netting when sleeping.
As far as a spray or lotion picaridin is every bit as good as deet and doesn’t melt plastic and is generally much safer. However most of the time I grab my bottle of Herbal Armor by All Terrain (can get online and at REI). It works well form me and has a nice smell. People are different and so some products may work better for others but I consider myself a mosquito magnet and Herbal Armour works for me along with the permethrin clothing spray.

permethrin is also prescribed for scabies so many dilute their own for that too as well as spraying mattresses, etc for mites/bedbugs.

Warning, I do work with amphibians, insects and lizards so when I do I make sure my hands are always insect repellent free and don’t let them on my clothing.

Answer by tenebs
05/26/2016
2 Favorites

Hey tenebs, how do you ”make sure your hands are insect repellent free” out in the field? Sprays seem to hold the best promise of that but still, I get that stuff on my hands anyway sometimes.

Answer by Wayne Ruffner
05/28/2016
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