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Ways to beat the bugs

Our 2010 season of research may have been the worst season for bugs, but there is always next year. Here are some things we have learned over the years and help us beat the bugs.

  • Look for the least buggy environment. Avoid campsites with weedy undergrowth; bugs like to hide in there. Avoid areas with standing water; bugs reproduce there.
  • Mosquitoes and many other bitting bugs are weak fliers; fans help to keep them at bay. (We found a “Solar Powered Outdoor Hat fan” that looks promising.)
  • Keep bugs off by wearing repellent. Repellents come in sprays, lotions, sticks, and wipes. Use whatever is most practical for you, but look for a product containing 10 to 20 percent of the active ingredient.”

The following table, based on information form the Agriculture Research Service, Florida, is a summary of the active ingredient, what it repels, and how long it lasts.

Active Ingredient What it repels For how long
DEET biting flies, chiggers, mosquitoes, tick From 1 to 12 hours
Picaridin biting flies, chiggers, mosquitoes, ticks About 4 to 8 hours
Oil of lemon or Eucalyptus mosquitoes, ticks About 2 to 6 hours
IR3535 (3-aminopropionic acid ethyl ester) biting flies, mosquitoes, ticks About 2 to 8 hours

* Moisture, whether from water or sweat, dilutes the effectiveness of any repellent used. Re-apply repellent when the effects fade.

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Fred and Suzi Dow