bug spray?

I think its gonna be one of those years where the mosquitoes will rule the summer and eat you alive.

Whats some opinions on good bug spray? And tips to fool them critters?

This is the latest greatest a lot of folks in Florida are using… I love mine…


You’re in Minnesota and you’re asking
us? My best tricks are to stay moving, be out in the wind, or be in the tent.

DEET is still good on mosquitos. Less so on biting flies, poor for flies trying to get in your eyes. For the latter, Avon Skin-So-Soft is a fragrant oil that helps, but not enough.

Hats and clothes with netting are good when conditions allow you to tolerate them and to get your work done.

Beyond that, yes, there are new tricks, and I’m waiting to hear more results.

I use DEET, but skip the “spray”

– Last Updated: May-01-14 12:48 AM EST –

I find "bug spray" to be inconvenient for any kind of tripping. I like any kind of high-strength DEET product in a little plastic bottle. One of those tiny bottles will last an average person all summer, and is small enough you hardly know it's in your shirt pocket. A can of spray doesn't fit anywhere convenient unless you travel by car, and lasts as much as a week if you are lucky (and costs a lot more, in case that matters). Two drops of the concentrate will do your hands and face. Five or six drops will do your arms, hands and face. I think the concentrated stuff is a lot less obtrusive on the skin than low-concentration stuff that requires many times as much material to be applied, but many other people think the opposite.

One trick with concentrated DEET is that after you've applied the material, wet your hands and wipe them on the parts of your clothing you are likely to get bitten through. Trying to spread the raw product on your clothes doesn't work well at all because you'll get way too much material the first place you touch, and it won't spread evenly, but diluting away the just leftover residue on your hands and wiping works pretty well.

DEET only works on mosquitoes. For flies (not truly an accurate word because mosquitoes ARE in the order of insects called "flies"), I just try to remain calm instead of getting worked up. You can make a sport of killing deer flies and horse flies.

I assume the "tricks" you speak of are gadgets for in camp. I've no clue about those.

Second the Thermacell
It is also good for black flys and no-seeums

Get a holster for it

jack L

deet free
I use herbal armor. Its on amazon. Been using it for a few years and like it. Works well on ticks.

bug shirts
I’ve been using an ex-officio bugsaway shirt for 4 or 5 years now, and I find that it works well to keep mosquitos from biting me, especially in the middle of my back where I can’t reach and can’t spray

I also prefer a lotion type of repellent - for years I used Cutter’s cream, but that does not seem to be available anymore - so I had to switch last year to the Ultrathon lotion/cream (link below) which did seem to work well. I have had plastics melt from deet - seems to only have happened with the spray cans, but you need to be careful. I prefer the pump spray over an aerosol can, as even if the nozzle gets plugged up, I can still pour the liquid out on my hands if need be.


I disagree that deet is not effective on flies - might not work on all flies, but it does work very well to keep black flies from biting - they will still land, but won’t bite; likewise for noseeums - but they will find any gaps in your armor

the key to being efective is using enough, and reapplying oftem. I will spray my hat, top and brim to almost soaking wet and that does help keep the bugs away from the face some - did that for years in the adirondacks where you could have a couple of hundred black files around at a time - make sure you spray the pants cuffs, and shirt cuffs too - places the bugs can land on cloth and walk around to get to the meat.

Yep, Thermacell
Excellent product

tell me more
This sounds too good to be true. Eventually after enough bug spray and sleeping with it on everything I break out.

I’ve used it on…
spring canoe trips and early season deer hunting and have found the product’s claims to be accurate. No odor, no sticky skin, and no skin rash. As Jack said it is most useful and usable with a holster.

I like my ol’ woodsman
and rub it on liberally on exposed areas like hands, neck, face, even my scalp under my hat. but avoiding lips and eyes. Repeat same procedure but with deet and just a couple of drops on each area. Again avoid the eyes and lips. Use an aerosol like cutters on your long sleeve pants, and shirt, and socks. Avoid using using shampoo and soap when you wash. Camp in the wind and build a smoky fire and stand in the smoke. use skin so soft for nee see ums and keep tents zipped up and all lights off. You do all that stuff when the bugs are bad and you might even convince yourself the bugs aren’t that bad. After bite and benadryl can be used afterwards to help alleviate symptons and swelling. If I smoked cigars I’d probably do that too.

How about Permethrin?

– Last Updated: May-01-14 12:36 PM EST –

Permethrin is used to treat your clothing and needs to be applied in advance. Before you head out, you spray it on your clothing and allow the clothes to dry. The instructions make the stuff sound terribly toxic and I make sure to spray it in a well-ventilated area. I've used it a couple times and found I was hardly bothered by bugs.

Treat your hat, your clothes, and your socks.

The permethrin doesn't protect your skin. Your face and hands will still be exposed, and you can treat these areas with bug spray if needed. However, I find that when wearing permethrin treated clothes and hat, I hardly need insect repellent because the bugs don't come too close. If I had to choose between using a Thermacell or treating clothes with permethrin, I'd go with the permethrin treatment because it is effective and you don't have to carry extra items in and out of the backcountry.

Anybody else have experience with Permethrin?


A bug-free bubble
I used a thermacell at a severely mosquito-infested campsite and found it did create a little bubble of bug-free space. However, if the air is moving, i.e., if the wind blows, the bubble moves, too. Wind alone, if strong enough can be effective in reducing the bugs, but even a little wind makes the bubble become elongated and move. In a light wind, you don’t get a 15 x 15 bug free area. It’s more like a 15’ long plume that is 3 - 5 feet wide, and drifts around as the wind changes directions.

Using the thermacell in a tent or under a tarp probably helps keep the bubble where you need it. In the open, it drifts.

The thermacell needs to be recharged with anti-bug scent pads and fuel bottles, so it another couple of items to pack and lose, and creates a bit of trash.

Thermacells can be a useful tool, but only in a little space in a great big outdoors.


I treated by clothes with Permethrin for a weeklong Boy Scout canoe trip. Worked great.

sold! thanks dave
I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this device before.

Permethrin is great for taking care of ticks, but I have not found it taht effective for mosquitos or other bugs. The type of clothing helps too. Woven clothing is better then knit type clothing as insects can’t bite thru it.Otherwise good ole Deet is the best thing out there besides head nets and bug shirts.

Found the Thermacell not effective
at all against northern mosquitoes.

Thanks for the profile. I will comment on MN bugs which are different in behaviour from tropical ones.

Clothing colour… neutrals are best. Avoid blues and blacks. Use a good bugshirt.

A fan does help as well as campsite selection in the breeze.

Long sleeve shirts and long pants with socks tucked in. Avoid shampoos and perfumes. Don’t be too clean. Dirt does help.

Use a coil in your tent ( carefully of course) to obliterate bugs. And get in quick after you have extinguished the coil and cleared the air (with zippers closed of course)

Permethrin may help. I can’t say I have noticed a difference. I do DEET my hat inside and apply on my ears with the back of my hand. Everything else is covered so there is no real need to slather on bug spray.

In MN you won’t have to deal with no seeums so you can forego smudgy fires.

If you want a natural repellents its probably possible to buy local ones that are effective against local bugs. In Maine we can buy from a Penobscot tribal member.

I hadn’t considered that possibility. I have only used Thermacell in North and South Carolina which isn’t the tropics. Is the difference in behavior a result of speciation or length of season?

The reason I ask, the one trip I took to BWCA I did in September, and didn’t notice a mosquito. Hitting the woods here in September without protection will get you bitten.

Better take a look at kayamedic’s post

– Last Updated: May-02-14 10:31 AM EST –

Maybe there's a reason you haven't heard about it in the "Great White North". Further investigation may be in order. I'd check with some local hunters and see what their experience is.

Used Thermacell in KM’s neck of the…
Maine North Woods (Lobster Lake). Found thermacell somewhat effective. If we placed it just right so that the scent drifted over the table, we could lift our head nets to eat without loosing blood. Not a panacea, but it did have an effect. A few bugs braved it, but it cut the number by 90%.