Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

Tick Article – Thermacell recommendation

April 29, 2013

Demazette article 4/28/13
Ticks the Season

We know spring is officially here now that we’ve pulled the first tick from our overalls.

Ticks do what ticks do. I get that, but I still find a tick’s nature to be highly uncivil, not to mention unsanitary. That’s why I get such great satisfaction when I grind a tick into goo against a rock with another rock.

My mother-in-law had a special hatred for ticks. She scraped pennies together so hard they made sparks, but there was always enough in her meager budget for a little natural gas tick extermination. She’d put the bloodsucking little arachnid in a teaspoon, ignite a burner on the old gas stove and hold it over the flame. First the legs shriveled, and then the thing would burst with a satisfying little pop. She always wore such a malicious expression when she did this.

I caught three ticks climbing on my overalls the opening day of turkey season. Of course, it’s the one I didn’t catch that bedeviled me. I found it Sunday, attached to my leg, and now I hope for the best. This is not an idle concern because I contracted Lyme disease about 10 years ago from a tick while turkey hunting at Lamine River Conservation Area in Missouri.

Literature says a tick has to be attached 10-13 hours to transmit Lyme disease. That’s a myth. The tick that gifted me was attached for only three or four hours.

About 10 days later, I had flu symptoms: achy joints, sniffles, fever and night sweats. They lasted a couple of days and then abated for a week or so before reappearing. This pattern continued for about a month. One day I was washing my hands in the washroom at my office. On the outside of my arm, just up from the wrist, was a bright bull’s-eye rash that glowed like neon in the fluorescent light. I called my doctor, who ordered me right over and put me on a massive 10-day dose of a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

That knocked it out, but I am very wary of ticks. I’m tempted to say respectful of ticks, but that’s not right. I respect bears, snakes and snarling dogs. I don’t respect ticks. I hate them. I don’t respect cottonmouths, either. I hate them, too.

So, after opening day, I hung my overalls across the gate and sprayed them thoroughly with Permanone, a potent insect repellent. I have seen ticks crawl onto clothes treated with Permanone and die. A chemical that potent is too toxic to apply to bare skin. Always spray it on your hunting clothes and let it dry before wearing them. Spray your hunting boots, too, as well as your turkey hunting vest. I don’t spray it on my gloves because I don’t want it contacting my skin. I wear T-shirts and shorts or pants beneath my overalls, so there is always a barrier.

As the weather warms, mosquitoes also will become increasingly hazardous, especially now that West Nile virus appears to be our permanent companion in the Natural State. In my opinion, nothing keeps mosquitoes away better than a ThermaCell. It looks like a walkie-talkie, but it contains a small, butane-fired hotplate. A small citronella wafer slips over the hotplate. As the wafer warms, it emits fumes that repel mosquitoes and gnats. It works in minutes, and it works flawlessly. I have used it while hunting in southeast Arkansas, when mosquitoes hovered in clouds. They leave you alone when the Therma-Cell is running.

Even though you can buy ThermaCell holsters that clip or strap to your clothes, the device works better if you lay it flat because it disperses the repellent more evenly and in a broader column. Just don’t forget it when you leave, and secure it in a zippered vest pocket. Somewhere in a Grant County clearcut is a practically brand new ThermaCell that has spurned all my attempts to find it. Make sure you take an extra butane cartridge and enough wafers to see you through your hunting or fishing trip.

If you want an extra layer of protection against mosquitoes, I recommend OFF! Botanicals Insect Repellent. The active ingredient is p-menthane-3,8-diol, and is said to be derived from the natural repellent found in eucalyptus plants.

It comes in spray or lotion. I prefer the lotion. It smells a little like Coppertone sunscreen. The spray works very well, too, but it is very pungent and very bitter.

Your total outlay for the ThermaCell, wafers and repellent is less than $40. It’s money well spent.