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[pct-l] Re: pct-l-digest V1 #797


Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 15:51:53 -0700
From: Birgitte Jensen <bjensen4@juno.com>
Subject: [pct-l] mosquitoes - help!

 One of the subscribers has reminded me that I have another Really Bad
Problem (Sierra camping-trip with kids): mosquitoes.

1) I just can't dip them in DEET; am nervous about putting the stuff on
_my_ skin. The most I'll do is rub a little DEET stick on cuffs, etc.

2) Citronella's an option, maybe. It works for me if I reapply it often,
but the kids may object to the strong furniture-polish smell and it makes
some (me, for one) sun sensitive.

3) On my last hike, I experimented with "Coppertone BUG SUN kid's
formula" a suncreen (SPF 30) and insect repellant creme combo; slathered
it on at the TH before the last trip. The sunscreen part worked okay,
but since there weren't any bugs that day, I dunno about the bug part. No
DEET (something called "N, N diethyl-m-tcluamide 9 1/2%, which sounds
even nastier and not-very-potent also), but the fumes from it drove me
crazy until I managed to sponge the stuff off that evening in camp - it
smells kind of like a creme depillatory.

4) Don't want to mess around with Skin So Soft/Brewers' yeast type
remedies. Some people swear by it, but it doesn't work for me/others -
Consumer Reports, for what it's worth, says it useless as a
bug-repellant. I just can't return the kids sobbing and
bloody-from-scratching. Will bring every bite-soother I can think of, but
would prefer they not be eaten alive in the first place.

5) Personally, I cope with mosquitoes by going dry/climbing high, but the
kids will want to hike easy and stay at a lake. They should probably get
a kick out of wearing netting bug-hats, but if it's at all hot, they
won't enjoy being swaddled head/toe in clothing including gloves (and
I've had mosquitoes bite me right through pants' legs, anyway); the
"let's pretend we're all beekeepers" game will wear off real fast.

Help!     bj

I've learned that not all mosquitoes are the same--some are repelled by 1 chemical much more than others. In the Sierras, nothing beats DEET. Other hikers have recommended applying a lower-potency DEET lotion (15-20%) 1st, topped with a 100% DEET pump over the lotion. That combination reduces DEET absorption and is extremely effective. NEVER apply 100% DEET to nylon or synthetics (esp. tents) since it can degrade the material.

For mosquito dense areas, I also apply permethrin (Nix or Elimite cream) to socks and clothes. To reduce their concentration around camp, I like the Off Mosquito Coil and/or Off Yard and Deck Area Repellant. Finally, I take garlic pills which may reduce bites though has never been effective when used alone.

Admittedly, it's overkill and involves some potent chemicals but, for me, it's far preferable to the misery following mosquito onslaughts.