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Tick Repellant Anyone?

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DEET and Plastic: I use a product that contains DEET, mostly to repel mosquitos. I think the percentage of active ingredient is 95 percent, this stuff really works. As for putting it on skin you have to do it in order to repel mosquitos. But I did notice while working in the woods, and making field notes with one of those plastic mechanical pencils, that the plastic was starting to soften from the DEET on my fingers! I switched to a wooden pencil and then noticed that the yellow paint coating started to soften. My guess is this full strength stuff won't be available too much longer. And yes, it is the sulfide compounds that stink like rotten eggs. When I worked in the southern US, in the timber business, the chiggers gave us a worse time than the ticks. Ticks you could find and remove, they did not seem to crawl and dig in as quickly as the chiggers.

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Growing up and living in the South myself (LA and SE TX) I can testify that powdered sulfur in a sock works on chiggers and ticks, as does a spray with 29% DEET. Powdered sulfur, the yellow stuff from underground, is what Mike is talking about, not sulfur dioxide. I don't notice much of a smell with the powder. I once placed a small pile of powder on an upside-down #10 can in a wall tent and lit it to fumigate for bugs. Worked like a charm, but the tent DID smell like rotten eggs.(Shhh....don't tell your Scouts about a leader burning something in a tent.)

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In putting up the original post I focused on ticks for a reason. While chiggers are more numerous and more annoying in different parts of the country, they are, after all, merely annoying. Ticks can be fatal.

 

Several years ago, when we lived in Northern Virginia outside Washington, DC, it seemed that every summer a handful of people in Virginia died of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This is a perfectly treatable disease, but has to be recognized in time. It is also transmitted by certain species of ticks common to that area.

 

In more recent years a new disease transmitted by ticks, Lyme Disease, has been identified. This is endemic to where we now live in California. While this is far less lethal, it is difficult to treat and full recovery can take months.

 

We always made it a point with our sons, when we returned from a day in the woods, either to home or to a campsite, to perform a tick check. This also entails checking in parts of the body properly viewed as quite private, some of which are not readily visible to the individual. Clearly conducting an intrusive tick check of scouts' bodies by a scouter in this manner raises serious questions of a different nature. While I routinely advise scouts and parents to look for ticks, that is where I stop.

 

How much better to take simple preventive actions. This is where the advice about sulfur is most helpful. Merely stinking is always better than getting sick and possibly passing on to the happy hunting ground.

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NEWS FLASH

 

Researchers claim that catnip is superior to DEET in repelling flying insects!

 

No kidding. I heard this on my car radio yesterday. Anybody else hear about this one, or is this just another urban legend? Has anybody tried catnip for this purpose? I don't know if I would want to wear something that would attract cougars, even if they are in a good mood. Far out.

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I have heard about it too but don't have any experience using it to ward off mosquitos.

 

As far as the cougar thing I would just make sure you don't have any loose ropes hanging off the back of your pack and leave the mousekatier (sp?) hat at home.

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I seem to be one of these people that attracts bugs, especially chiggers. just working in my garden i would be covered with chigger bites. On my ankles, waist, armpits - all over. My Doctor told me all arachanids (spiders, ticks, chiggers) despise sulphur. He recommended going to a farm supply place and buy a big bag of sulphur pellets and spread it on my lawn. It wont hurt the lawn, may even benefit it. and all the arachanids will leave your yard. He also suggested putting "flowers of sulphur" (powdered sulphur) on me to keep the chiggers and ticks away.

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According to most research I've seen, DEET is not considered a very good tick repellent. I'm also surprised that no one has mentioned the use of 'permethrin' based products for clothing treatment, which seem to be the most effective tick repellent currently known.

 

Note: Permethrin based products are for clothing treatment only and should never be applied to the skin! Although permethrin is used in many insect sprays and sounds like a major toxic chemical, it's made from chrysanthemums.

 

By treating the outside of the clothing you remove the need to apply anything to the skin. Not only does this eliminate problems associated absorption of DEET through the skin (most DEET products contain alcohol which contributes to this), but it also negates the need for re-applications due to sweating. An added benefit is that treated clothing can be washed 2-3 times, and the treatment will still remain considerably more effective than the use of a DEET based product (over about a 2-3 week period).

 

And of course follow all the basic rules. Wear two layers of wicking socks where your pant legs are placed between the first and second layers, tuck in your shirt, wear a hat, and make sure all insect entry areas are treated with the proper repellent (shoes, outer sock layer, lower pant legs, belt-line, and hat [see note]).

 

 

Here's an example of how safe it's considered to be (the first product).

 

http://www.bugpage.com/icp.html

 

 

Here's an MSDS on a permethrin based product. Keep in mind that EPA MSDS data sheets always describe 'worse case' situations.

 

http://www.scs-mall.com/images/sp7msds.pdf

 

 

 

Here are a few links for more information:

 

http://www.lymealliance.org/tick/humans.php

http://www.lymealliance.org/tick/repellent.php

http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v285n1/ffull/jlt0103-3.html

http://www.lymealliance.org/tick/removing.php

http://www.cdc.gov/nasd/docs/d000801-d000900/d000846/d000846.html

http://www.travmed.com/trip_prep/insect_permethrin.htm

 

 

Note: There is mention of treating hats on the first link's site, which I do also. However, it's important to not apply any permethrin treatment that may come in contact with your skin such as any area on the under side of the hat closer than 1"-1.5" from where your skin may make contact. What I do is spray the entire top of the hat, turn it over, and then place a mask I made out of cardboard that shields all but the last inch or so of the brim from the spray (depending on hat style).

 

 

Where to buy. It should be available at most sports/outdoor shops, but here are a few links:

 

http://www.bugspray.net/catalog/products/page15.html

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?ID=6601

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?ID=5997

http://www.rue.com/repellents.html

http://www.wholesalehunter.com/product/duranon/Duranondes/DuranonTick.htm

 

 

You can also buy this stuff in concentrate which is usually 13.3%. Some sites that sell such concentrates state you can use it full strength on clothing, and that it will last for several months, but in my opinion you should not mix it in stronger formulations than the recommended (.5%). In other words, 1 oz of concentrate to ~24oz of water, or 5.5 oz per gallon of water. Certainly no more than 1% under any circumstances. Obviously a more liberal application will increase the actual active ingredient percentage on the clothing so this is probably the best way to achieve a higher concentration if desired. Normally a .5% solution lightly applied is quite effective, so a heavy application is not normally required.

 

http://www.travmed.com/scripts/catalog.epl?product_id=173&category_id=44&moveit=4

 

 

Anyway, I hope you find this information useful...

 

 

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I consider DEET too toxic for general use as a tick repellant...

 

Try using Flower of Sulfur, a small bottle of the stuff dumped in an old sock can be batted around one's ankles and cuffs to keep these little critters off of you....it's an old method used by our colonial ancestors long before DEET.

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hello all.

i was following your discussion and i would like to add to mikes post on sulphur. "flowers of sulphur" is the powder you are looking for. you will need to find an old style pharmacy and ask the man at athe counter. use the sock filled with powder, and a tennis ball.. (like a mace) and bounce it off your legs and shoes. i like to put a camp shirt, pants and hat in a bag and bounce it around a little. this works like a charm! flowers of sulphur is ingestible.. yes. it will produce a slight odor.. i have mixed it into jugs of juice for myself, and it goes into my pack water. it works!! don't just belv me or mike do some research on sulphur, flowers of sulphur, and ticks, chiggers, lice and other pests. sulphur has many medical benefits also.. cell reproduction etc.

 

clothing is your best option for fighting ticks. light colored clothing. long pants with leg ties or tucked into socks. be aware that you need to keep hydrated when dressing like this. clothing, and clothing only should be treated with permethrin. ticks die on contact with permethrin. it can ruin good colored clothes. permanon and the likes should not be used on skin. be very careful with children.

 

post camp, hike etc...

put all clothes in a laundry bag and place in high heat dryer. run at least 15 minutes. this is a good way to kill off remaining pests.

 

if you find a tick.. don't mash it. down the sink or toilet. sink it with hot water. they are very resilient, and alot like mike meyers or jason. when you turn your back they will return. some people burn them in a candle flame. whatever.

 

i am in no way an expert, but i hike the northeast of USA. i spent 6 year in US Army 1st SOCOM travelling the world and dealing with parasitic pests. i hike fire island national seashore, and we have an epidemic of lyme disease here. i hike, and camp with rookie to veterans and they all have various methods to follow. i walk away with either no ticks, or dead ticks.

 

do some searches on the net. look at CDC website about lyme disease. read about pemethrin. deet - notice i didn't mention it in my post.

 

keep scouting!

keep hiking and camping!

 

rob

patchogue, ny

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Hi Rob,

 

Its nice to see a neighbor here!

 

One other note about ticks...they JUMP. You need to be careful about much more than just your ankles. If you hike thru any tall grass or if you prefer the edges of the trail, the ticks will jump up at you and attach to your clothing or arms or even your neck. This is why its so important to do a full body tick check after a day on the trail.

 

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ticks are usually aggressive. they will seek out a host. that is all too correct -- ticks jump! if you observe them they will actively seek out a host, and have a great sense for finding a mass with body heat. july and we have seen many ticks here, but most will not adhere when the permanon is used.

 

robbie

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Another comment about DEET and plastic. I was in my small boat last summer on a very buggy lake in Maine. In addition to my bottle of DEET, I brought along my handheld GPS. Overspray from the insect repellent landed on the GPS screen. The screen became very etched and was effectively unusable. After spending many hours with some toothpaste and soft rag I can again use the GPS.

 

So BEWARE, some of these insect repellents will damage your equipment. Im not sure if its the DEET or the carrier (other liquids) but something in these concoctions is pretty nasty.

 

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What percentage of the bug spray/lotion is made up DEET? I sent my son off to summer camp with Cutter's Family non-aerosol pump with 6% DEET, and it's in a plastic bottle. I hate the thoughts of any bug spray on my son, and I know there's little chance of this helping with tics, but it was on the list of necessary items for a trip to the Adirondacks.

 

Question for you about sulfer: what if there's a family history of allergy to sulfer medications? Is the same thing, or would it be best to avoid it in that case?

 

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Question for you about sulfer: what if there's a family history of allergy to sulfer medications? Is the same thing, or would it be best to avoid it in that case?

 

 

i am not a doctor and will never attempt to give that advice...

please..

!!!!!consult your primary care physician!!!!

 

robbie

 

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Thanks Robbie. I wasn't looking for medical advice (sounded that way though--sorry) but rather personal experience. This is one I am going to talk to the pediatrician about. It sounds so simple, and we live in and camp in very high risk areas for lymes disease.

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