Deet is a proven and popular insect repellant that works reliably over extended time. It comes in spray liquid (leaks, wastes, goes all over), or cream, which is getting tougher to find (3M Ultrathon @REI = good). Canada limits sales to concentrations of 30% or less. No worries, 30% is plenty.
Using a headnet, proper clothing, and some discretion, one can travel for several months in the northern bush using maybe 2 ~ 4 oz of deet. Most of it’s used on the hands. There’s no need to bath in the stuff.
As explained in Smithsonian Magazine :
There is no “repelling” going on whatsoever. Mosquitos remain drawn your way like moths to the flame. However, when they get up close and personal, they don’t bite. Deet works by having the effect of confusing the mechanism that tells mosquitos they're now on top of a meal.
Mosquitos know for a fact that food is nearby from your CO2. but just as they get into Deet range, they can’t tell exactly that You are indeed food. Same as they would not try and bite a nearby rock. So mostly, you don’t get nailed, but they still swarm above you in the CO2 plume, and hover annoyingly around your face.
You are walking along, and eventually you stop and sit down for a rest. A few moments later you're swarmed by the thousands. You might say something like .. “ Goodness Gracious but there seem to be a Lot of them here, how can an area support So Many Bugs ? ”. You might ponder this for a moment and then move on.
Here’s the way that worked : As you walked, you were trailing in your wake, a cloud of pheromones, heat, CO2, and whatever else mosquitos zero in on. That cloud, behind you and downwind, covered a lot of ground. It sucked them in like a magnet and they followed it to the source (that would be you). Everything was fine, until you stopped moving. A moment later the train of mosquitos started catching up, and they just kept rolling in the longer you sat there.
The area does not actually support insects in the intense concentrations you are experiencing, but you have drawn them together using a plume of attractants.
Mosquito Coils :
Mosquito Coils arrive in a handy coil format including a stand. This is ideal for inside a cabin, although burning them all night will leave you with a dry throat and feeling hung over. To increase their effectiveness outside, perhaps when preparing a meal, it's nice to light about 8 of them, and be working in the center of a swirling fog of death, A common trick is to snap them into 1-1/2" lengths for easy packing, then set around you multiple pieces with both ends lit. If you've got your wind right, this can give a satisfying, nearly bug free meal. Caution, resting your palm hard atop a lit coil when trying to stand up will hurt. Coils are easily ignited using a cigarette lighter, with possibly a dab of stove fuel to help them if it's breezy. Avoid the candle shaped ones ... they're a bugger to light. (The Tucks butt wipes container makes an ideal way to carry coils when camping)
The repelling effect of Permethrin is not overly powerful. It Kills them pretty good though, so that’s close enough. An individual mosquito/midge will be compromised immediately upon contact with a well treated surface. Insects may whiz about for a few minutes, but they no longer pose a bite hazard and are doomed. If your clothing and pack are treated, it will reduce the numbers of mosquitos around your location, but you will never eliminate them, as new conscripts arrive continuously.
Being larger, smarter, and tougher, flies die harder than mosquitos.
There is produced a mesh netting pre-treated with permethrin. It is suitable for enclosures and sleeping protection, but too coarse and thick for headnets.
Spraying your PHN with permethrin "may" help. I have doused them, and perhaps noted a small improvement. The suspected issue is of insufficient surface area, or pores in the material, to hold any meaningful amount.
Peter wears proper hats with brims in bug country. To reduce the tendency of snagging on brush, I often remove the headnet crown, thusly exposing the top of the hat. Treating the hat puts a respectable dent in the mosquitos.
Good spots to treat are backpack straps and belts, the top of the pack, long pants around the backs of the knees, backsides of the shoulders, your hat/cap, backs of gloves, and the inside of the tent. On longer trips, it's handy to carry a 2oz touch-up bottle (mini hair-spray) of P-rin. Spraying the underside of your hat's brim is surprisingly effective.
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