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Tim & Shell
(McCargoe) - F
PERMETHRIN on 07/07/2011 13:40:46 MDT Print View

How effective is it? I will not be encountering any ticks and the purpose of it would be to repel skeeters. Your thoughts and suggestions other than reminding me that it kills cats? :)

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667) - M

Locale: SoCal
effective on 07/07/2011 13:51:18 MDT Print View

It is very effective on clothes, but you will still need to wear something on exposed skin.

Remember it does wear out after a while, so follow the directions on reapplying it.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Permethrin on 07/07/2011 15:05:37 MDT Print View

Permethrin is not a repellent but an insecticide. However, I've found it does keep mosquitoes from biting through my clothing. It does not, however, do anything to biting flies.

Important: Carefully follow all label precautions (as should be done with any such compound). While the military does use it lavishly, permethrin is not harmless. In the case of the military, the alternatives (malaria, dengue fever, etc., etc.) are far more harmful than possible effects from the permethrin. That may not be true for us North American backpackers. I use the lowest concentration available (usually Repel Permanone), spray outdoors and upwind of what I'm spraying and make sure the clothing is completely dry before handling. I find the results just as good as with a heavier concentration.

J. Lopes
(Jay_NJ) - F
iffy on it on 07/07/2011 16:19:10 MDT Print View

Sprayed my clothes generously and was still mauled by mosquitoes and black flies in a wet section of the NJ AT. Luckily (or maybe it was working?) I had no problems with ticks on my last two multiple-day trips.

I often get many small beetles and crane flies trying to sneak into my house from the downstairs windows and where the window mount air conditioner is. I took a few pieces of slim foam and literally soaked them with permethrin. I placed the foam strips in the window sills of the ground level and checked up on them a week later. Each window sill with the foam strips had literally 20-30 dead beetles who died on their voyage trying to making it in my home. The window sill I left permethrin free was bug-less. A scientific test? Far from it... but it made me atleast a slight believer.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Works on ticks on 07/07/2011 17:01:37 MDT Print View

I work outdoors in an area with abundant deer ticks (the ones that carry Lyme disease--I've pulled 10+ a day off myself). I decided to spray my socks (just the ankles up) and pants (from mid-thigh down) with permethrin. Since doing that a few weeks ago, I have had zero attached ticks and only a handful crawling on me, most of which were on my untreated arms. Mosquitoes still love me, despite the spray.

So, for me, permethrin is great for ticks but does nothing for mosquitoes.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
DEET for exposed skin, permethrin for clothes. on 07/07/2011 17:20:25 MDT Print View

Use permethrin on clothes and DEET on all exposed skin! Permethrin does almost nothing to protect exposed skin.

As already stated, permethrin does not repel insects, it kills those that land on it.
Skin that is an inch away from permethrin treated clothes will still get bites. Use DEET on skin you don't want the bugs to bite.

Ticks crawling up permethrin treated pants will fall off (and hopefully die). In my experience, mosquitos won't bite through thin permethrin treated shirts; untreated, the mosquitos bite through it.

In moderately bad mosquitoes or black flies, I'm able to get away with permethrin treated long pants, long sleeved shirts and caped hat. In bad bug conditions I would need to add DEET to exposed skin. In really bad bug conditions, a full bug suit is probably the only way to avoid misery.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: DEET for exposed skin, permethrin for clothes. on 07/07/2011 17:41:38 MDT Print View

Permethrin works on clothing. Before I did a two-week trip in Alaska, I soaked a shirt in the stuff. The only problem was that I figured that I better over-do it to make sure that it worked. On the airliner flight up there, I wore the shirt, and the excess chemical became noticeable to my nose. Others on the airliner kept requesting seat changes. Upon arrival in a mosquito-ravaged village in Alaska, the swarms hit me. I donned a mosquito net head bag, and then the shirt worked nicely. The only place that the bugs could still get me was through the narrow slits near the cuffs.


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Cat's Meow on 07/07/2011 18:33:51 MDT Print View

I soaked all my clothes in Permethrin before I left for the PCT and 1100 miles later it has been everything claimed. I even saw an ant climb on my bandana and start convulsing. Whole new way to protect you food from the pesty little buggers.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
brand/concentration on 07/07/2011 19:10:41 MDT Print View

what brands/concentration are folks using?

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667) - M

Locale: SoCal
Sawyer on 07/07/2011 19:12:19 MDT Print View

Sawyer 0.5%

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Concentrated on 07/08/2011 05:25:31 MDT Print View

My wife and I spend a high percentage of our time outdoors in Lyme country. I have had Lyme disease and a lot of friends have. Some have suffered with harsh symptoms that take a long time to recover from.

We used the Sawyer spray for a while, but I went through too many containers doing all of the different clothes we treat.

We now buy the bigger more concentrated containers from veterinary supplies. We dilute it to the 0.3 to 0.5% recommended strength in a tub and soak our clothes every three or four months.

This method is significantly cheaper than the spray.

We have been seeing a lot of ticks this year.
I had one on my leg last weekend that I got from walking through bush with shorts on. I have never had one attach under any of my treated clothing since I started treating.

Lyme disease really sucks, especially if you don't catch it early

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Permethrin from Kmart on 07/08/2011 05:42:53 MDT Print View

Ditto on the last poster's advice. I buy mine from Kmart in the Garden section. (Look at the label to make sure that Perm is the only active ingredient.)

BTW, I've been soaking my clothes (including my bug net and cap) in the stuff for a couple of years now, and none of my children have been born with two heads. :-) I also wear the lightest possible long-sleeve shirt and pants, even in summer, eliminating the necessity of slathering Deet on any exposed skin. (Hate that Deet.)


P.S. Oh, yes, and I tuck my pants into my socks during tick season.

Edited by nerdboy52 on 07/08/2011 05:43:57 MDT.

. Kirby
(Kirby805) - F
RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 11:38:45 MST Print View

Do the ticks simply die/jump/fall off after they try to latch onto clothing? I'm expecting to encounter droves of ticks this weekend because of the rain and warmer temps lately, and I don't want to over-do it on the insecticide if possible.

Would it be okay to just treat my pants and shoes?

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 12:16:32 MST Print View

@Nate - Last I checked, permethrin is only supposed to be applied to clothing articles. Needs to dry out too.

. Kirby
(Kirby805) - F
Re: Re: RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 12:22:44 MST Print View

Oh, I meant just my pants as opposed to all of my clothes. Wasn't thinking of spraying it on myself. I am a bit scared of the stuff, which is why I would like to avoid spraying it on my shirt and hat.

In my experience, I have never seen a tick on a bush above about thigh level. So, I was hoping to get by with just using the stuff on my pants.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
Stuff is great on 03/06/2014 14:17:47 MST Print View

Been tick free for two years since I started using it. Spray my clothes in early spring and mid summer. Usually covers it.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 14:27:27 MST Print View

You can spray it on, or you can dunk the clothing in the liquid. Then let it dry out completely before wearing. If you get too much on, you will smell it but it won't kill you.

It is cheaper to buy the liquid and apply it with an atomizer. In contrast, you can buy a pressurized can of it that costs more and gives you less.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 14:35:35 MST Print View

I have Sawyer pump spray. Spray on outside of pants and boots. Once in spring. But not a lot of ticks where I go and Lyme disease is less common.

For me, that one bottle lasts for years. Bigger or more concentrated bottle would not save money, because after years, it probably loses effectiveness.

It seems like if you soak your clothes, then there will be more permethrin that might get on you, though if you let it dry probably not a problem.

You are not supposed to let the liquid touch you.

On the other hand, there are pet sprays that you put directly on cat or dog, which must be about the same sensitive as us, so human warning may just be cautious.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
sucks for aquatic life on 03/06/2014 14:38:36 MST Print View

Just please consider doing all the the application of your clothing before your trip, and never anywhere near a water source.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Re: RE: permethrin is great for ticks on 03/06/2014 14:43:44 MST Print View

RE: "If you get too much on, you will smell it but it won't kill you."

Well, at least not immediately :-D

But it is a case of risk management: I certainly view Lyme Disease (et al) as more of health risk than the long term risks from permethrin exposure (and hopefully minimize that kind of risk by following the instructions to the letter)

Edited by tr-browsing on 03/06/2014 14:48:47 MST.