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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Mosquito Area Repellent, nifty but does it work? Did you ever buy a piece of gear proclaiming to do this one specific thing or a few things and ya get it home or out in the camp and it does nothing. It becomes solely a gadget and a worthless one at that and it makes ya feel well kind of deflated and cheated, but when ya hit that gadget that is simple and actually useful, and does what it says it does and effectively , well it makes ya just wanna kiss it.......kiddding!

The ThermaCell works by heating a mat containing a mosquito repellant.

" ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent utilizes the active ingredient known as allethrin. It belongs to a class of materials called pyrethroids, which are synthetic analogs of pyrethrin, which is a naturally occurring insecticide found in certain types of chrysanthemum known as pyrethrum flowers. Mosquitoes really do not like this material. The allethrin is contained in the blue mats, and when they are heated it causes the allethrin to "volatilize", which is similar to evaporation".

The reppellant seems to be effective against no-see-ums, blackflies and sandflies. The unit is not waterproof however. Works effectively in about a 15 foot diameter area. The bottom cover where the butane cylinder inserts does not clamp on snuggly so I tape it on so as not to lose it. It does not hold the cyclinder in so if it was lost the unit would still work. You shouldn't handle the blue mats too much if at all avoid contact with skin and avoid the vapors, so definitely don't put in your tent. Strictly for "out-outdoors".

The unit has an on/off button and a start button to turn on the heating plate. A lens on the end of the appliance glows to let you know the appliance is working. A butane thermaCEll cartridge contains 30x the energy (by Weight) of alkaline batteries. 12 grams of butane can last for 12 hours and you can turn off or on the unit as needed.

Another interesting thing is that the pesticide is highly toxic to fish. So you shouldn't dispose of the used mats in water, which would be polluting anyway, and do not contaminate food/feed by storage.

My overall impression is that I do use this on camping trips when I am able and have lots of time to properly handle and contain the Cell, but the moment you have to think of "containing" anything should probably give you cause for concern. I do not take it kayaking I would be too concerned about contaminating my kit based on the small storage areas we deal with. However it was rated well in Backpacker magazine. I really liked the fact that it worked well and will continue to use it camping. A few pesky mosquitos aren't bad but it sure was sweet having this along when they were extremely heavy. The web site has tons of info for most concerns and pricing at and I just love the buzzing of their ad.


Silbs said...

I haven't googled it, but I wonder about the health risks from the vapors this gives off. Although based on a natural compound, it is not one found in the usual air we breathe. I will have to look into it.

Silbs said...

I did find this: Short-term dermal exposure to allethrin may cause itching, burning, tingling, numbness, a feeling of warmth, with no dermatitis (2). Exposure to large doses by any route may lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperexcitability, incoordination, tremors, convulsive twitching, convulsions, bloody tears, incontinence, muscular paralysis, prostration and coma. Sounds like a lot of guys I paddle with :)

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Ha, Ha... I've only ever used it in the open at my camp site on very "buggy" days so I can't attest to any unpleasantness from using it, I've been wondering however about that third ear growing out the back of me head but I just attributed that to my working with radiation all day long.