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Keeping bothersome bugs at bay

Overview

Published: 06/12/2012

Lotions and spray-on repellents are useful at keeping bothersome bugs at bay, but a bit messy to use. However, there are some alternatives to help keep bugs at bay. 

ThermaCell portable, butane-powered devices create a 4.5x4.5-metre area (about 15x15 ft) of protection that the company
says will keep up to 98% of biting insects away for up to four hours. Providing a good radius of protection for gardening or sitting on the deck or patio, the product line includes lanterns and hand-held devices. The devices can be turned on and off as needed, and some have LED lights built in. 

They work by using a butane cartridge to heat a mat that releases allethrin, an insect repellent that is a synthetic copy of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers. Refills of the mats and cartridges are available. 

Models include a Patio Lantern with two illumination settings, an Outdoor Lantern with eight LEDs, and a portable area
repellent that can be worn using an optional holster. ThermaCell products are available at Canadian Tire, Lowes and Home Depot. 

Also new on the market and now widely available in Canada is the OFF! Clip-On. It’s also a great product for reluctant repellent users who dislike the feel or smell of traditional mosquito repellents. It can attach to a belt or purse and the company says it provides head-to-toe protection for up to 11 hours –and it’s odourless. The active ingredient is Metofluthrin. Refill disks are available, and the unit uses two AAA batteries. 

Note that both of these products come with warning labels that may affect how and where you use them. The ThermaCell
pesticide is highly toxic to fish; the pesticide in Off! is toxic to bees and aquatic organisms. If those issues are a major concern, you can:

•   Avoid mosquito--prone spots, especially at dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are attracted to damp,  stagnant areas and like to rest in dense vegetation.

•   Remove standing water on your property (as little as a tablespoon of water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes) and cut back grasses and other plants that appeal to bother-some bugs.

•  Wear light-coloured clothing when outside, since mosquitoes prefer darker shades that radiate heat.

•  Avoid using strong fragrances. Heavily scented toiletries such as soap and perfume may attract mosquitoes.  

 All these suggestions will help at Keeping bothersome bugs at bay.

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