Permethrin – still the go to?
Mar 23, 2022 at 2:44 pm #3743978AK GranolaBPL Member
Insect Shield prices are very high. Shipping to and from Alaska, where I live, is probably outrageously expensive. I didn’t even look, since I already know the answer.Mar 23, 2022 at 3:36 pm #3743979Kevin BabioneBPL Member
@JCH – The answer is cost, convenience, and speed. I can go to Wal-Mart and spend $11 on a bottle of Sawyer Pemethrin and spray it on my boots, socks, and pants (inside and out) and go hiking the next day and not have to worry about ticks. It’s not clear that Insect Shield even does your hiking shoes.Mar 23, 2022 at 4:19 pm #3743986obx hikerBPL Member
^^ Cost? A quart of permethrin dip for livestock is @ 12.95 and it’s concentrated at a higher % than Sawyers. Do the math and dilute to the correct percentage; soak clothes overnight in a ziplock, drip dry in the sun. I usually then try to sort of seal the process by running treated clothing in the dryer on high heat for @ 15-20 minutes. Lasts at least the season, probably for years but I just re-treat annually. Takes about 4-5 years to go through a quart treating a couple sets of outerwear annually which is about the ‘shelf’ life of the compound anyway.
I think all the combat clothing of any land based US military is now and has been for years (since 2nd Gulf War?) treated with permethrin. That’s a lot of people and a lot of clothes. OTOH I have several friends who were exposed to agent orange in Nam so hmmm. Things have not been too swell for them.
You can smell it a little if it’s in an enclosed space like pulling it out of a dcf bag in a pack. Not really noticeable in the open. Maybe I’ll add some scent to this season’s batch and see how that works.
Edited to add: Not as smelly as Deet or Eucalyptus etc. About the level of Picaridin after it’s well dried.Mar 24, 2022 at 6:03 am #3744021
The answer is cost, convenience, and speed.
Sorry, but I only see cost as a valid reason…IS is ~$10/item so yeah, a quart of livestock dip for $13 looks like a bargain, but many garments are available pre-treated, i.e. no additional cost. I acknowledge that shipping from “remote” locales skews the cost/value tradeoff. However I think the cost component involves more than material purchase alone…
Convenience – IS lasts for 70 washings (actually, it has been tested to still be 85-92% effective after 70 washings depending on the insect). Sawyer says DIY treatment lasts 6 washings. That’s ~12 DIY treatments vs 1 IS treatment. Are you considering your time and effort in the cost calculation? If your chosen garment is available pre-treated then there is zero time/effort additional cost.
Speed – same argument…how much time/effort are involved in those 12 DIY treatments.
Shoes – I have never found treating shoes to be necessary if your socks and pants are treated.
Smell – IS treated clothing has no smell that I have ever detected.
Safety – Permethrin is toxic to cats and fish. DIY treatment certainly introduces more product into the environment than IS treatment. Then add the fact that 1/6 of that treatment is being sent down the drain with each washing.
Lastly, I’m not trying to convert anyone, I just don’t see the math working in favor of DIY treatment and so was curious about how others approached the calculation. Likely everyone who uses Permethrin treated clothing has made their choice after much consideration. HYOH.Mar 24, 2022 at 9:10 am #3744027
My “philosophy” is to use as much of the chemical as possible and to waste as little of it as possible. I hate having bottles of chemicals hanging around for years, not knowing if it’s still effective.
If you soak your clothes, what do you do with the left over liquid?
If you buy pre-treated clothes they must lose effectiveness after a while, especially after washing?
I prefer to buy a bottle of Sawyer’s which I use up within a year or two.
Not having to dilute is easier. No spillage. The concentrate is more toxic.
Put clothing on a concrete surface where it gets sun. Spray the clothes which can be done in a way to thoroughly wet but minimize over spray. Any over spray will neutralize in the sunlight.
If I had a family of people or a lot of friends and lived in lyme country, maybe it would make more sense to buy the big bottle of concentrate. Or if I had a herd of animals to treat.
This is just one way to think about it that works for me.Mar 24, 2022 at 9:19 am #3744028AK GranolaBPL Member
And wash the permethrin clothes as little as possible. They’re for hiking, not for the office, so a little stink isn’t a big deal. This def varies person to person of course.
With the spray on permethrin, there is very little waste. The spray is wet, so there’s not a lot going into the air. And there are no cats, fish, or insects in my garage.Mar 24, 2022 at 2:06 pm #3744042obx hikerBPL Member
~$10/item Well whattya know. Think I’m sold.
I checked the website and for 2 items which is all I use the cost with shipping was $8.50 ea. minus a 15% discount for first timers (2.55). + shipping. Can’t argue with that.Mar 24, 2022 at 3:55 pm #3744053
obx hiker – just my opinion, but take advantage of that discount and treat socks, pants, shirt, buff/hat. You’ll be glad you did. And chances are you’ll never have to retreat them either.Mar 26, 2022 at 12:01 pm #3744312Bob KernerBPL Member
I spray the Sawyers on pretty much everything except my quilts: clothes, shoes, hammock, tarp, gaiters. This post reminds me that I have to get a rain-free day to set up my spray station.Mar 31, 2022 at 12:59 am #3744872GumboBPL Member
@redgumLocale: Aussie in exile in the PNW
I’ve been soaking my hiking clothes each year using Sawyer Permethrin. Very effective. I get 2 seasons out of a 24-oz bottle, treating clothes for two people, so about $1 per garment. Leftover solution gets poured around my foundation if I’m having ant problems, or poured on the driveway (flat and not enough of it to run off) on a sunny day, where the sun deactivates it.
There’s an excellent BPL thread from a few years ago that goes into tons of detail. Note that once dry, it’s apparently molecularly bonded to the fabric, so no danger to skin, cats or fish. https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/insect-shield-proprietary-treatment/Apr 1, 2022 at 9:29 pm #3745055Mark RiesBPL Member
I buy permethrin treated clothing and also have treated clothing myself with livestock grade deluted to proper Concentration I’m thinking .05% but don’t take my word on that with out looking it up. I had read that it’s better to slow dry on top of plastic so I lay clothes on plastic tarp in garage and use a garden sprayer to apply. I also feel strongly that garlic helps which I eat daily anyway. I’ve not had a tick embed in me in years now and prior to the routine I got them all the time. Now days I may find one crawling on me but don’t find them dining. I believe I read somewhere that clothes that come from manufacturers with permethrin applied EG. buzz off or insectoshield, use fabrics specially made that will keep the permethrin on longer. Not sure but always like to see the topic come up. Would be nice to have a expert on the subject enlighten us.Apr 3, 2022 at 9:33 am #3745168
consumer reports said not to use the concentrated livestock permethrin
the permethrin for human clothes, like Sawyers, also has chemicals to bond the permethrin to fabricApr 3, 2022 at 9:51 am #3745172
It seems likely that permethrin is not permethrin is not permethrin. I think the product used should be fit for purpose…lots of different purposes out there.Apr 3, 2022 at 1:25 pm #3745206GumboBPL Member
@redgumLocale: Aussie in exile in the PNW
Most of the concentrates, such as Martins and those used for livestock, are oil-based. Sawyer and those labeled for use with clothing are water-based. Stick to those labelled for treating clothing. A cheaper water-based alternative is Eaton 209-W.Apr 3, 2022 at 4:49 pm #3745222
Eaton – $12 for 32 ounces
Sawyer – $17 for 24 ounces – about twice as much as Eaton
both are 0.5% permethrin
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