Battle of the Bug


The mosquitoes and deer flies are having an epic year at the creek, and they’re out for blood. I’ve enlisted a whole selection of bug repellents to lower the bite risk. There are sprays, lotions, and wipes. The two main ingredients are either DEET or picaridin.

The DEET concentrations I have range from 25% to 98.11%. The picaridin is 20%. Consumer reports studies show that the optimum DEET concentration is 30%. My unscientific results agree with that.

The first, and last, time I tried the 98.11% DEET, it started to melt the wrist band on my fitbit. I decided that was not a good sign. On the plus side, I hear that 98.11% DEET is good for cleaning bugs off windshields and headlights.

The picaridin has less odor and feels less obtrusive when sprayed on, but the lotion is a problem. It works for the bugs, but your hands get slippery and you have to remember to wash them before going fishing. Otherwise your pole can slip out of your hand when casting. Trust me on this one.

The big problem is none of the bugs down here at the creek can read. Otherwise they’d know that all these repellents are supposed to last for hours, some up to 12. But since the bugs can’t read, they don’t know that, and start “bugging” me again after three or four hours.

All of these repellents work to some degree. My two favorites are the 30% DEET wipes from Repel and the 20% picaridin spray from Sawyer. The wipes have the added benefit of not being a spray and getting on and in lots of things you don’t need repellent on or in. My glasses and my lungs being the two most important.

You should never take as gospel anything you read on the internet. At least not without doing some research on your own. That includes bearded bloggers blogs. Here’s the link to the consumer reports guide to insect repellents. I trust them.

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