Controlling Biting Insects
By: Mike Schoby
Protect your family from biting insects as well as potentially fatal diseases with our complete line of bug control products.
There is one sure way to spoil a great outdoor experience - just add a few bugs - whether it's a picnic, camping trip or bar-b-queing in the backyard, an overabundance of black flies, deer flies or mosquitoes ensures a miserable time is had by all. While bugs have always...well "bugged" outdoor enthusiasts, with the increase in cases of disease such West Nile on the dramatic rise, bugs have been elevated from a sheer annoyance to a life-threatening concern.
If you are unaware of the rise in West Nile cases, consider these facts: in 2000, there were 18 reported cases in the United States, by 2003 that number has steadily risen to 9,858 reported cases with 264 deaths! It is clear that West Nile Virus is a severe threat on the rise; however, there are things that can be done to combat it. Bug sprays and repellent clothing help, but to be truly effective, insect control authorities recommend a holistic approach to get the best results.
Eliminate Standing Water Around the House
People often try to only treat the "symptoms" of bugs, but do not address the source - but ignoring the source of bugs, and only treating the symptoms is often a losing battle. Look for areas of standing water such as old tires, buckets, or low, water-holding spots around your house. Where applicable, empty the water, fill in low spots, or drain the water. By eliminating water, you will go a long way towards controlling the amount of insects being hatched around your house. If standing water can't be eliminated, such as in a stock tank or pond, use Mosquito Dunks, to safely kill the population of mosquitoes breeding in the water.
Bug Control at the Personal Level
After eliminating the source of the insects, the first step to staying bite free is wearing some form of protective clothing. This can be as simple as a long-sleeved shirt and pants, a specifically designed bug-proof mesh clothing or high-tech, insect control garments such as Buzz Off. Whatever method you choose to use, wearing clothing that inhibits bites goes a long way towards keeping you safe.
While mesh bug suits have long been a great means of remaining bug free, personal bug control has come into the 21st century with the introduction of Buzz-Off clothing. This material repels all manner of bugs around your immediate vicinity. Buzz Off uses a propriety technique of impregnating the chemical Permethrin into the fabric. Approved by the EPA, the treated clothing will repel insects for up to 25 washings, is safe to wear and in no way changes the normal feel, look and smell of the clothes.
In addition to protective clothing, bug sprays should be used on any exposed skin or non-bug proof/resistant material. Varying in effectiveness, there are many different types of insect repellant on the market today. However, many experts agree, the most effective ingredient for repelling mosquitoes is DEET. Available in various concentrations, choose a repellant that best suits your needs and insect situation. Liberally spray clothes, and exposed skin at regular intervals for the best success.
Use of Anti-Bug Devices
Anti-bug devices come in many shapes and sizes to match a variety of applications. They range in size from small personal types to large-area control devices. To be most effective, sometimes it is best to use several in conjunction to get the best results.
For immediate personal protection, the ThermaCell Mosquito-Repellant is an excellent choice. It comes in two sizes, a palm-sized portable unit and a larger, lantern-size for use around camp or your backyard. A butane cartridge heats up a chemically treated mat that keeps mosquitoes out of a 225-square foot area for 12 hours.
"I have used this unit from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to the wilds of Canada and the thing is dynamite," said Denny Snyder, host of USA Outback TV show. "I swear by them. They are perfect for hunting, camping, fishing or using around the home. Whenever I am in buggy areas, it is on."
While the ThermaCell units are great for personal protection, there are several larger units that effectively cover medium-sized areas. However, unlike the ThermaCell that drives mosquitoes away, many of the larger units actually attract mosquitoes, and then trap them into a holding area where they dehydrate and die. While they are designed to cover a typical backyard, it should be noted that since these units do initially "attract" mosquitoes and should not be placed in the immediate activity area. For example, if you are dining on the back porch, setting one of these units off to one side of the deck is a better spot than placing it right on the dining table.
For total yard coverage, take a look at either the Mosquito Power Trap or the SkeeterVac - both units are designed for large-area coverage. These units use heat, moisture and carbon dioxide mixed with the proven mosquito attractant, Octenol, to form an invisible cloud that will attract mosquitoes from a great distance (the Power Trap will cover a 3/4-acre area, while the SkeeterVac covers up to 1.2 acres). Once the insects are attracted to the unit, a powerful vacuum captures them into a container where they will quickly dehydrate and die.
Foggers can be used with any other anti-bug device and work well to complete your overall bug-free experience. Foggers come in two basic styles - either electric or propane, and disperse an insecticide fog to spray down an area to completely eliminate insects.
Recently, I field-tested a Burgess propane fogger. I choose the propane model, as I liked the idea of being free from electric cords as well as having the option of using this fogger at a remote campsite.
For the initial testing I used it around my house, where there is an overabundance of biting black flies and the occasional mosquito. After filling up the removable canister with Black Flag insecticide I loaded out to combat some insects.
I choose the early morning hours, while the air was cool and the there was no wind to disrupt the spray pattern, then systematically sprayed down my yard and surrounding acreage. In all, the process took only about a half-hour to do approximately one acre and my backyard stayed noticeable bug-free for the better part of a week. Done regularly or just prior to an outdoor event, the fogger units definitely work and will make your time outside much more enjoyable.
Whether you are looking to protect your family while on summer camping vacations or make your backyard safe all summer long, Cabela's carries all the products you need to keep bugs from bugging you.