Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tick Check

Do you like the blue flag iris near our boat dock? Now for the previously intended posting....

My family and I spent a week near the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Our stay reminded me that everyone needs a good insect repellent at times. Our land is producing a bumper crop of mosquitoes and ticks this year. You can read our tick counts in my last post. Whether you are in heavily wooded areas, or the marginal areas, (the edges of the forest), or prairie-like areas, bug spray is a must. Unless you are searching for completely urban caches, a bug spray will make your outdoors experience more enjoyable, and could keep you healthy. (Check this out and this, too.)

We used Deep Woods Off!, Cutter Advanced, and Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent while in WI. All products were over ten months old. Deep Woods Off! (not Sportsmen) definitely kept the ticks and mosquitoes off. It contains 25% DEET. Cutter Advanced (not Sport) Insect repellent does not contain DEET, but Picaridin and seemed to work just as well as Deep Woods Off. Burt's Bees Herbal Insect repellent was not effective against bugs in the deep woods. We tried to use it, but after a few bug bites in a few minutes, we quickly sprayed on Cutter Advanced and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon without more bites or ticks.

Bottom line: The Cutter and Off! products worked. While our resort recommended at least 30% DEET, our products contained less and still seemed to be effective. Our nightly tick checks over seven days yielded less than ten ticks between the four of us in the cabin.

A related item is the method of delivery: aerosol and pump spray. (We did not use wipes.) Aerosol cans were highly discouraged at our establishment because they can explode when heated, and of course, everyone wants apply bug spray by the obligatory campfire every night during their stay and set the can down by the fire when they're done. We don't put bug spray on by the fire or set it down by the fire, but enough people must do it or we wouldn't have gotten the warning. (No enforcement, though.) So physical safety is one issue with aerosol cans.

Outside of explosions, the other concern Mr. GAIN and I have about aerosols is how much product is wasted in the air. We don't really know how much lands on your skin and how much flies away in the air. But from the scent of the air and seeing the mist, or small droplet size (we were both educated as engineers with some spray knowledge), that arises when you spray, and having our highly developed asthma and allergy sensitivities to air quality, we feel that pump sprays deliver more product for your buck with their large droplet size landing where they were intended (and they save on packing space, too).

1 comment:

Norm said...

We picked up some OFF wipes at the store yesterday. While not 100% DEET, and not real practical for shoes, if you are worried about the over-spray, wipes are the way to go. And they make great SWAG. Summertime geocachers love to find those in a cache.

The Northwoods Geocats