Posts Tagged ‘insect’

Sugar Maple Borer

sugar_maple_borer-300x296This Sugar Maple Borer (Glycobius speciosus) was found near Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks.

See the smiley face on his butt?

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Click here to read about the Emerald Ash Borers and Purple Triangles.

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They’re more than pesky – these ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, and black flies. They carry nasty diseases such as Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and others. To keep them at bay we use Permethrin – the synthetic version of pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that occurs in flowers such as Chrysanthemums.

Permethrin is not something you spray or lather on your skin like DEET. In fact, an esterase enzyme in your skin renders it ineffective very quickly. But, used as a treatment on clothes, tents, or any type of fabric, it wards off the pests for 2 weeks if sprayed on or much longer if the garment is soaked in the solution. Permethrin actually kills ticks and chiggers. It doesn’t kill mosquitoes or black flies but it does make them ill and less prone to biting activity.Mosquito

Permethrin has been around since the 1970s and has a perfect safety record. The Department of Agriculture and other institutions did early research on it for use in protecting crops from insects. It has been shown to be non-toxic to humans. EPA and FDA tests found it rare to have even skin reddening or other irritation.

The Army and Air Force tested its effectiveness and found that treated uniforms gave 97.7% protection from mosquito bites even after the uniforms endured 5 machine washings. The protection afforded for ticks was 100%.

I tested Permethrin twice recently. First, on a trip to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago. Before departing for the month-long trek across northern Spain, I dipped all our clothes in a solution of Permethrin and let them drip dry on a backyard clothesline. We successfully hiked across Spain bug free. But, alas, so did all the other hikers. It was a cool May in Spain and the pests had yet to hatch.

So, on to test number two. This time the adventure was three weeks on the new International Appalachian Trail across the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Again I dipped and line dried our hiking clothes. I even took along a control in the form of a friend who hadn’t dipped her clothes and instead relied on spraying DEET. My test was a whopping success. As we hiked, swarms of mosquitoes, flies, and all manner of annoying, small biting insects followed my friend. She regularly stopped to spray toxic DEET on her limbs. My husband and I hiked along in relative comfort. We were not bug free. Occasionally one would land on an arm or leg but they did not seem to bite and we certainly weren’t hiking in a cloud of bugs. Our test occurred in late July/early August – timed to coincide with a record heat wave. So we were hiking in minimal clothing. Even so, the dipping in Permethrin allowed us to enjoy the hike, toxin free.

An 8-ounce bottle of 13.3% concentration of Permethrin (sold under brand names Duranon and Permanone) can be diluted to a gallon of solution to treat 4 outfits (long pants and shirts). It’s also sold in spray cans.

Visit the following web sites to learn more about the effectiveness and use of Permethrin, it’s application to clothes, and how to purchase it:






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