May 19, 2011 at 11:48 am #1274089Raymond EstrellaMember
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
I have been getting a ton of emails due to a couple of Permethrin threads and it reminded me of an experiment.
Last year a few people wondered about using Permethrin to treat tents with and whether it would do anything about the mosquitoes and such that congregate inside our tent vestibules. I said back then that I would test it out and report back. I did test it, I just failed to report as last fall and winter saw me in a bit of a writing funk. Anyway here is the experiment.
I had a 6-night trip to Yosemite planned and was taking a new NEMO Meta 2 for it. Right before the trip I set the tent up and sprayed the inside and outside of one vestibule with a mixture of an ounce of 36.8% Permethrin in a 32 oz spray bottle filled the rest of the way with water. I also sprayed the mesh door wall on the same side inside and outside. (Doing so also meant that the floor on that side got treated too.) I sprayed the side that has the factory consumer tag so I would know which was treated later. I soaked the tent until it ran down the nylon, let it half dry and sprayed it again, then let it dry for a few hours.
It did absolutely nothing to keep mosquitoes out of the vestibule. (Yose last year was pretty well infested too.) A friend that shared the tent on two nights of the trip had so many bugs congregated in the vestibule that she asked if I gave her the untreated side on purpose. The skeeters did not land on the treated nylon of the vestibule but kept flying around under it. They did however land on the “treated” mesh. I don’t think that the mesh has enough substance for the Permethrin to adhere to. When I see a mosquito land on our treated clothing or hats they won’t stay long. They did not seem to mind the mesh at all. (Hopefully they died later.)
Based on that trip I decided that there is no point in treating tents to keep mosquitoes away.
I had a fun encounter with ants in the desert last year that got me thinking about them. As the first use I ever heard of Permethrin as an insecticide was for ant control I think I am going to try treating my Tyvek Sublite (the shelter I had the ant problem with). I just heard that our job may be put on hold again for two more weeks so I may be heading back to the PCT for more hiking, I mean data collection. ;-)May 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm #1738629jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
While we're on the topic…I now have to use a "drape" style sun hat which, other than it's dorkiness, I'm actually liking. The drape can be velcro-closed all the way to beneath my nose, if I want, on this hat. This alone could go a long way to protecting my neck, ears and face from mosquitoes(and of course the sun); but I'm tempted to treat the hat and drape with permethrin. I've treated my base layer shirt with the stuff with seemingly no ill-effects; I'm a bit worried about the chemical being so near my mouth and nose. Thoughts?May 20, 2011 at 8:00 am #1738942Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
Permethrin is not a bug repellent. It is meant to be highly diluted, less than 1.2 of 1%.
I treat my cloths with Permethrin for Lyme disease prevention.
Permethrin takes a while to kill so a mosquito will still bite me through my clothing, but dies a few minutes later.
This is fine for Lyme disease prevention as ticks are slow and they have to be attached to you a long time before they can spread Lyme.
My wife and I watched a tick that was walking on her treated hiking pants. It took more than 5 minutes to die.
I would not even think of treating my shelter or sleeping gear with it.
I also wouldn't use Deet as it would probably ruin your gear.May 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm #1739207Raymond EstrellaMember
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
"Permethrin is not a bug repellent. It is meant to be highly diluted, less than 1.2 of 1%."
You are correct. It is an insecticide but you are wrong about the dilution levels. Sawyer sells it for spraying clothes at 0.5% but it is stronger in Insect Shield clothing. The military levels are hard to nail down.
"I treat my cloths with Permethrin for Lyme disease prevention.
Permethrin takes a while to kill so a mosquito will still bite me through my clothing, but dies a few minutes later."
I have been using it for many years, starting with a shirt from ExOfficio for tick control. http://tinyurl.com/lrbbl
I have never seen a mosquito bite through or a tick even stay on it long enough to die. They drop off almost immediately in my experience.
"This is fine for Lyme disease prevention as ticks are slow and they have to be attached to you a long time before they can spread Lyme."
They only have to attach to be a problem as then they can be scratched and have their head torn off while still hooked up. I have a nephew with severe Lyme's and a friend that had an infected buried/torn tick that led to surgery. (In her bum. I tried to get her to show me in the interest of data collection but no go…)
"My wife and I watched a tick that was walking on her treated hiking pants. It took more than 5 minutes to die."
Yep, but it died, right? Did it bite? Mine never stay on that long.
"I would not even think of treating my shelter or sleeping gear with it.
I also wouldn't use Deet as it would probably ruin your gear."
Yep, DEET would ruin a tent. You noticed that this was an experiment due to discussion here, right? And I guess I would think about sleep gear if I slept in the open with only a sheet covering me. ;-) Otherwise I would have to agree with you.May 21, 2011 at 3:32 am #1739243Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
The Deer Tick is be far the most dangerous animal on the Appalachian Trail.
As side note, last year I treated my clothes at a higher percentage, I'd guess approx 2 percent. My wife was very unhappy as our clothes had a insecticide smell even after several washings.
This year we went even less, I think approx 0.2 percent. This was recommended by a data sheet that they give farmers.
From our limited visual tests, the ticks die before they start to attempt to bite. They are very slow and tend to crawl for hours before the find a place that they like.
Of course it is hard to observe them, they are too small to see most of the time. My wife is a science teacher so carries a magnifying glass and once used the macro lens on her camera to video tape the tick as it crawled on her pants, became confused and then eventually died.
I have many friends in the area who have had Lyme disease. One girl had partial paralysis in her face that took a year to recover from. One friend, John Lurie a famous movie actor, musician, artist has become home bound from an extreme case of Lyme. He figures he had it for years before it was discovered and he received some permanent damage.
I got it real bad, didn't know I had it as the bite was between my shoulder blades, so I never saw it until my whole back turned red. I was really sick at that point. Never want to get it again.May 21, 2011 at 7:38 am #1739278Walter CarringtonBPL Member
I haven't had mosquitos or black flies bite through my permethrin treated thin nylon shirt. They've bitten through the same shirt with no permethrin. This is in conditions that I'd characterize as low to moderately bad bugs in Massachusetts. There is no safety against the bugs in northern New England and Canada.
I might treat a ground cloth with permethrin to keep out crawling bugs. I'm currently wondering about treating my pack.May 21, 2011 at 7:48 am #1739282Walter CarringtonBPL Member
I use this insect shield cape hat and it works pretty good:
Usually I wear it with the cape rolled up. When the bugs come out I wear it with the cape out but not buttoned. In worse conditions I button it. I don't think I'd want it covering my nose, but short of that there is no smell from the insect shield (embedded permethrin). With this and permethrin treated clothes I've been able to avoid DEET in moderately buggy conditions.
The only thing I don't like about it is that it's kind of warm with the cape down especially in humid weather. I'd like to find a similar hat with better ventilation but equal bug protection.May 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm #1739664jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Walter: you might look at Sunprecautions web site. My hat with drape is surprisingly cool (i.e. not hot) to wear. I think it may be cooler than my Seattle Sombrero–but I haven't been up to the 80's in it yet. But you would have to treat it for mosquitoes.Jun 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm #1749405Douglas BrooderMember
The military kits use a concentration of .8%. The individual kits contain a .3oz bottle of 40% permethrin to be mixed with 15 oz of water. The target is for the treated garment to contain .52% by weight of permethrin. This is the same level the Insect Shield clothes contain. It's the max approved by the epa for treated garments. Army testing showed treated garments to provide 90% bite protection against mosquitoes after 50 launderings.Jun 15, 2011 at 11:52 am #1749615Rakesh MalikMember
"Based on that trip I decided that there is no point in treating tents to keep mosquitoes away."
The same properties of the fabrics that make them work as shelters probably prevent the permethrin from binding to the fabric. I believe that in order to bind to the fabric it would have to soak into the individual threads, and it can do that on a tent then the tent isn't waterproof, and probably wouldn't make a particularly good shelter :)
Although I'd be exceedingly paranoid about harming my cat with the stuff, in tick country it's probably a good idea. Due to my concern for my cat's health I'd go for a pre-impregnated version instead of doing it myself. I might give that a try this summer :)Jun 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm #1749631Thomas BurnsBPL Member
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Ticks do take a while to croak, but I've never had one attach when my clothes were treated with Permethrin.
Mosquitos are another question. I once stopped in a 'skeeter-infested area and watched in silent wonder as a big one landed on my sleeve, went into instant convulsions, and died about two seconds later.
Love the stuff for clothes, But I wouldn't treat an enclosed tent with it. Why bother — and why risk the effect on silnylon or cuben?
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