Wishing and hoping won’t help against many types of bugs. Science and proper planning will. Here’s a list of recommended items to keep the bugs away and the disease they may bring.

Permethtin is a powerful insect killer used on equipment likes clothes, backpacks, tents and tarps, and is not designed or advised for personal use. Equipment properly treated with permethrin typically has a long effective lifecycle and items like clothing retain its protection through several washings.

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Permethrin is available over the counter from manufacturers like Sawyer ( and can be applied by users safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Consumers can also buy equipment and clothing, which has already been professionally treated. There are a few commercial versions of what is essentially permethrin-treated clothing on the market today. Insect Shield ( and Gamehide’s ElimiTick (, which uses Insect Shield technology, are two well-known brands and several clothing manufacturers offer hiking and hunting gear with it applied.

The ThermaCell’s Mosquito Repellent device ( is a nifty tool that has been in my hunting pack for years and works flawlessly to keep mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects away with little effort. I’ve used it hunting and camping with no impact to any of my goals because it’s quiet, has virtually no odor and I don’t have to apply it to my skin. It works best when turned on before there’s insect trouble to help create a barrier between you and the insects. It works off a small butane cartridge and repellent film with no need for batteries. Take note, this tool works well for insects like mosquitos but does not work for ticks. A single device packs easily.

Unlike permethrin, products containing DEET are meant for personal skin applications. According to the EPA, rather than killing insects like permethrin does on contact, DEET works by making it hard for these biting bugs to smell us. The U.S. Army developed the miracle-working repellent in 1946 and it was made available to the public in 1957. It works on mosquitoes, ticks, flies and many other pests, and is available in a variety of strengths, applicators and smells to suit your needs.

This article was originally published in the Survivor’s Edge ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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