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Verlager
2006-05-28, 09:02
Camping and hiking season is here and those pesky mosquitos, fleas and ticks will soon be crawling around inside our hammocks. Because deet-based insect repellant dissolves nylon, we don't use it on nylon sleeping bags, hammocks or backpacks. Instead, we use permethrin, -not on our bodies-, but on our clothing and nylon equipment to prevent insect infestation. Normally available in an aerosol, 1 to 2.5% solution, and used to treat cloth and nylon, it can be a tad pricey at $5-$8 a can, for just a few ounces.

This could be a good source for permethrin (http://cgi.ebay.com/Permethrin-38-Termites-Ant-Mosquitoes-Ticks-Fleas-16oz_W0QQitemZ7768394065QQcategoryZ50365QQssPageNa meZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) (ebay power seller). This product is a potent 38% permethrin and must be diluted with water. So, I'll acquire an empty plastic spray bottle at Walmart for $1 and thin the permethrin down. One Hi-yield 16 oz. bottle ($26) should make 8-16 gals. of insect repellant. Total cost via Paypal was $32.25 including shipping to NY from FL.


Use a minimal amount of insecticide (poison) on your camping gear, pack, hammock and sleep stuff,
-just enough to repel the lice, fleas and mosquitos that carry disease. Alternatively, those wishing to
consider less toxic methods, sidestepping the documented side effects of Permethrin, should visit the
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (http://www.pesticide.org/fleas.html), or the Alternative Pesticides and Control Methods (http://www.oznet.k-state.edu/hfrr/extensn/Hort_Tips/Garden_Tips/Alternative%20Pesticides.htm).


Strangely, your local health food store will have a variety of insect repellents, based largely on essential oils. One such product, "Green Ban Double Strength (http://www.greenhome.com/products/pest_control/personal_insect_repellants/102324) is an herbal insect repellent with itch soothers. Extra concentrated for use in badly infested areas or for those who need longer protection. To use, spread evenly on skin, avoiding eyes. Test on extra-sensitive skin first. It contains citronella, cajuput, lavender, safrole-free sassafras, peppermint, myrrh, and bergaptene-free bergamot oils in an emollient healing base of pure calendula, soy, and tea tree oils."


Warning! Although permethrin is like a synthetic chrysanthemum, at the molecular level, it still has some benzine rings (bad), as any competent organic chemist can tell you, and, according to this Insecticide Fact Sheet (http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/permethrin/cox-report/cox.htm):

PERMETHRIN

...Permethrin, like all synthetic pyrethroids, is a neurotoxin. Symptoms include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as a carcinogen because it causes lung tumors in female mice and liver tumors in mice of both sexes. Permethrin inhibits the activity of the immune system in laboratory tests, and also binds to the receptors for a male sex hormone. It causes chromosome aberrations in human and hamster cells.

Permethrin is toxic to honey bees and other beneficial insects, fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, and shrimp. For many species, concentrations of less than one part per billion are lethal. Permethrin causes deformities and other developmental problems in tadpoles, and reduces the number of oxygen-carrying cells in the blood of birds. ...

BY CAROLINE COX
Caroline Cox is JPR’s editor.