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  1. #1
    doc17th's Avatar
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    what ever happened to deet

    I hear alot about permetrin(not sure of spelling) and how sometimes it does not work why did people switch from deet? I have been away from camping for a while.
    When I was a kid the only time we were in the house was to eat and sleep.

  2. #2
    Deet works on human skin, Permethrin (or pyrethrin which is different and less effective, though naturally occuring I believe) works on fabric, or on the ground (active ingredient in those sprays for your backyard that cutter and off are selling, though I don't like that use since it kills bees)

    during high mosquito season I use both, one for my body, the other for the hammock, and my clothing. I've not had a problem with it not working in the 3 washes or 3 months (whichever comes first) advertised on the bottle I used.

  3. #3

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    There has also been a "safe at any cost" backlash against Deet making it hard to come by in a lot of places. Somebody figured out that when folks doused their children with 100% on a steady basis it could cause problems. That drove the push to find a new "natural" replacement for the "chemicals" hence pemethrin which is a plant extract. All reports are it works well. I camp mostly in the fall after bug season. ;-)
    YMMV

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    Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)

  4. #4
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Also DEET tends to melt plastics/nylon
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  5. #5

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    I think if you look in most stores, DEET is still the overwhelming choice for keeping critters off skin. I would guess that 90% of the sprays sold are still DEET. Studies have shown that the 33% concentration stuff is just as effective as the 100%, but either way, a bunch of people still use it. I don't like it because I am afraid of the effect it has on synthetic gear. If you get deet on your hands and then touch sunglasses or something, you can melt the plastic. With all of the synthetic stuff i own, (especially my tarp and hammock), I don't want to mess with DEET. The best alternative I have found is 20% Picardin. It is similar to DEET, in that you use it for skin, but it isn't as rough on your gear. I think one manufacturer even calls it "gear smart" spray or something like that.

    Permethrin is an entirely different animal. It is designed for fabrics and it isn't an insect repellent, it is an insect killer. Many people use the combo of permethrin for clothing and gear and either DEET or Picardin for skin. My buddy is a bit of a hippy and uses some lemongrass based skin stuff. I haven't tried it, but it does smell pretty good.

  6. #6
    lostagain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weaver2469 View Post
    My buddy is a bit of a hippy and uses some lemongrass based skin stuff. I haven't tried it, but it does smell pretty good.
    sounds like a buddy of mine from a while back. he used some form of lavender/citronella/lemongrass essence oil concotion/ he smelled right nice and the skeeters seemed to not want ot mess with him.

    I have done a google search and you can find a bunch of natural mosquito deterents that tend to cut down the cancer risk from deet. I know it's a small one, but still...
    Remember...no matter where you go...there you are.

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  7. #7
    doc17th's Avatar
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    Wow thanks for the info, may have to do some homework on naturals instead of deet? I like to camp when it gets colder anyway but not so much with my grand daughter.
    When I was a kid the only time we were in the house was to eat and sleep.

  8. #8
    ErickSaint's Avatar
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    I use permethrin for my clothes and deet for my skin. But as said above permethrin isn't much of a repellent. Though I have had almost no tick problems this year. For deet I use some stuff called Jungle Juice, I think it's made by Sawyer but not sure. I am normally a mosquito magnet, but usually an not bothered at all compared to other guys I hike with. It's a lotion type and I hardly ever need to reapply. I also have had really good luck with Sportsman Off 40% deet, that's an aerosol type.

  9. #9
    Senior Member FrActOwL's Avatar
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    I can vouch for natural bug repellent such as the list above - lavender/citronella/lemongrass essence oil concotion. There are many more with a quick Google search and they do leave you smelling quite nice. Although deet is still used in a lot of repellents, I would stray away from them.

  10. #10
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    DEET works the best against mosquitoes and chiggers (longest-lasting against both, and it's a better deterrent against chiggers than the other apply-to-skin options). However, it has the downside of being a solvent for long-chain polymer molecules (such as nylon...) and isn't as effective against ticks as Picaridin.

    Picaridin is the most effective against ticks (though not as effective against chiggers, nor quite as long-lasting as DEET). It also has the twin bonuses of not having an acrid, back-of-the-throat tang like DEET does and not being a solvent for long-chain polymers.

    The natural lemongrass/eucalyptus sprays work nearly as effectively against mosquitoes, but don't last as long on the skin as DEET or Picaridin. I don't know about their effectiveness against ticks and chiggers, though, and I do know that it requires frequent reapplication (thus upping the weight needed on trips longer than a day). However, it's also a natural remedy that doesn't (as far as I know) have any serious side effects for humans.


    Permethrin is a synthetic version of the insecticide contained in crysanthemums. It's intended for use on clothing and gear, rather than skin (the oils in your sweat will cause it to wash off pretty quickly if applied to directly). I've found it very effective against all three types of biting insects (not enough biting flies down here to comment on that, though, sorry). Since it's an insecticide, it also has a smallish effect at being a repellent as well.


    Note that all of these rankings are due to personal, anecdotal, experience rather than rigorous study. I've used all three in both field and backyard conditions, but not kept a rigorous record of it versus a control group. For my money, the Picaridin/Permethrin combination is the most effective against what I want to stop most (ticks and mosquitoes) without having to worry about downsides (eating an hole in my shelter).

    YMMV.
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