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any permethrin users out there?
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Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
any permethrin users out there? on 07/09/2012 08:44:52 MDT Print View

Hello! I purchased this insect repellent and have put it on my clothes and gear, and am just wondering if anyone out there has any experience with this? the bottle states you still need to use Deet on exposed areas, but was wondering if anyone with experience with the product actually does this or if the fact that it is on my clothes is repellent enough?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: any permethrin users out there? on 07/09/2012 09:23:50 MDT Print View

Permethrin is NOT a repellent. It's a poison to bugs. It kills bugs that come in contact with it. It's the active ingredient in anti-flea shampoos, collars and treatments for dogs. It kills the fleas. Put on clothes, it kills ticks and other bugs on humans. It will kill the mosquito that bites you, but might not kill it fast enough to keep her from biting you at least once. It will kill the tick that crawls up your leg looking for a tasty meal before it bites you.

DEET is a chemical that confuses the smelling system of mosquitoes and some other bugs. It keeps them from biting you by keeping them from figuring out just where your bare skin is.

James McDaniel
any permethrin users out there? on 07/09/2012 09:28:04 MDT Print View

I don't backpack without my pants being treated. I wear pants and socks treated at a minimum. I've been in some bad tick country and didn't get any. I love the stuff.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: any permethrin users out there? on 07/09/2012 11:43:32 MDT Print View

Yeah, I use it. That said, it is not much of a repellant. It does seem to repell those insects that rely on smell to target you, but, not all of them. Like Stephen was saying, it may be that the ones I noticed being "repelled" were already dosed heavy enough to die. It is (or used to be) the active ingrediant in RID or NIX for human use for lice, scabies. The military used it for clothing in the Viet Nam era. I picked it up from a vet ten or more years ago. I believe they still use it in jungle areas.

There are several caveats for usage: The first and formost is that it IS a poison. It will also loosly bond with most clothing. Some cothing does not work that well. Things that do not absorb water do not bond with it. Wool, cotton, nylon, bond pretty well with it. Poly propylene does not bond too well. It is fairly deadly to cats. NY restricts usage of it as do some other states. It is not something you apply in a washer. Anything left over will go through a treatment plant and kill fish, amphibians, etc. Once it is on cloths, and rinsed, it stays pretty good, through many washings, depending on the does not wash out. Any leftovers, should be exposed to UV (bright, direct sunlight) for a day or two to break down the remainder. Use caution with any poison, but in particular this one, it kills honey bees, too. A lot of concern centers around it's use in agricultural areas because it kills ALL bugs...good and bad.

Sprays work but more effective is dipping cloths in a 5 gallon bucket. Then, letting them air dry. Then rinsing out the remainder in a 5 gallon bucket. It appears safe enough to pour the remainder on your driveway and exposing it to bright sunlight. Caution should be used around cats, again. It is also sold as a bug dust or ant killer. Normally, concentrations should be about 2-3% for treating cloths. But, since it sort-of acts like a dye, you can effectivly treat cloths with .25% bug dusts. You need to add about 8 times the amount. I have found about 1/4 cup of .25% dust to about 1 quart of water will treat 1 set of clothing: pants and shirt. After drying, I rinse these in a 5 gallon bucket, pouring the excess water on the driveway (after locking the cat in the house for the day.) Then I wash them. I do not do my socks since I wear long, high topped socks. Nor do I do my underwear/long johns. The long johns are polypropylene which does not pick it up that well or smartwool (merino wool) which is worn under something else. In either case, it is not needed since it will be in my sleeping bag, under my pants or other clothing.

I suggest you study up on the stuff and make your own decision. I do not recommend it to anyone without insuring they know the risks. A lot of poisons can cause cancers and other odd diseases. Secondary kills remind me of the older DDT killing off the birds, too. For my time in the woods, I feel it is worth it. You may not feel that way. Use caution and be responsible with any left overs.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: any permethrin users out there? on 07/09/2012 14:20:57 MDT Print View

I use both DEET and Permethrin. As mentioned above...

1. DEET is for you (i.e. exposed skin areas -- or areas under thin garments)

2. Permethrin -- for your clothing (including socks) and gear (e.g. boots, tent)

My experience, the two go well together. DEET is fantastic except when skeeters are heavily concentrated. Being "transparent" to skeeters is not much help when the place is saturated with them. DEET is suboptimal against black biting flies though. Permethrin works very well for me.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
Works for me on 07/09/2012 14:41:34 MDT Print View

I spray my stuff a couple times during the summer with the Sawyer spray from bass pro or REI. Not a single, LIVE, tick on me so far this year. I reapply after about 5-6 weeks. I sprayed my pack too just to keep crawlies off of it. Also apply on my hammock suspension but not the entire hammock. So far it works.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
But which Permethrin? on 07/09/2012 15:13:47 MDT Print View

I was checking out the 6-7 different permethrin products for horses and livestock that were on the shelf at our local feed store yesterday, and while all these products have permethrin concentrations higher than the 0.5% found in Sawyer spray products I also noticed that many had other active ingredients - and almost all of them also contained "petroleum products".

For permethrin users who mix up dunk/spray solutions using products formulated for animals, has this been a problem? Is there a "safe" brand you'd recommend?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: But which Permethrin? on 07/09/2012 15:27:59 MDT Print View

If you're using Permethrin yourself, just buy the pre-mixed Sawyer. It's more expensive per ounce, but most people use so little that by the time they've used up the container, it's several years old and probably lost some of it's effectiveness.

If you mix it yourself, it's poison so you have to use the right precautions. On a small amount it's not worth the hassle.

If you had a barn full of bugs, then probably the concentrate would make sense.

James Cuppy
(Kentuckian) - F
Seems to be effective for ticks... on 07/09/2012 19:15:47 MDT Print View

Ticks are bad in my area, during the summer. This year I started treating my clothes with Permethrin to ward off ticks. The last several times that I have been out I have not had any tick bites and everyone that I was hiking with had multiple bites. I also tuck my pant legs in my socks. I did find a dead one on my sock(sock was also treated). I don't use any other repellents. I am becoming a Permethrin believer.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: But which Permethrin? on 07/09/2012 19:23:18 MDT Print View

You can go to Home Depot and buy Ortho Basic Solutions Lawn & Garden Insect Killer in a 32 ounce bottle of 2.50% solution for less than double the Sawyer price. If you toss this into a gallon of water, you'll have 150 ounces (10 Sawyer bottle equivalents) of the same stuff.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Permethrin vs DEET on 07/09/2012 19:34:07 MDT Print View

FYI- the military still uses Permethrin. There's nothing "Vietnam era" about it. The FRACUs that I was issued were pre-treated, as a matter of fact.

Permetrin-treated clothes aren't really meant to keep mosquitos and biting flies off of you, though I'm sure they help somewhat. Wearing Permethrin-treated headgear and long sleeves/pantlegs probably optimizes any aid it will give in that department.

Where permethrin-treated clothing excels is in keeping crawly bloodsuckers off of you- fleas, lice, ticks, chiggers, scabies, etc. You know- the critters that like to crawl under your clothes. Not so much the flying/buzzing bloodsuckers but as I said I'm sure it helps, especially if you dress properly. Luckily (?) I live in an area where the crawlies are more of an issue than the fliers so I make do with just Permethrin.

Permethrin is probably less toxic than DEET. Well, less acutely toxic. But both DEET and Permethrin have a very long safety record. A few idiots HAVE managed to poison themselves to the point of death or hospitalization with DEET but they generally had to try really hard to do it. That kind of idiocy takes PRACTICE, brother. I haven't done a google search but I haven't heard of Permethrin poisonings.

EDIT-- Yes, a brief google search shows Permethrin to be much less toxic (to humans). And by "toxic" I mean acutely so, not chronically. (The party line still seems to be that both have minimal chronic toxicity.) Conversely there are pretty regular descriptions of clinical DEET toxicosis in the literature but, as I hinted, you nearly have to bathe in the stuff.

Edited by acrosome on 07/11/2012 11:24:02 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Permethrin on 07/09/2012 19:40:23 MDT Print View

They spray livestock with it. It's also in K9 Advantix. Organic base.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Permethrin on 07/09/2012 20:43:55 MDT Print View

I love Permethrin for ease of use. Just treat your clothes and put them on when dry and ready to hike. I don't have anything against deet (and will put it on when the bugs are bad) but gosh darn it, it smells and tastes horrible. No matter how careful I am, I always end up feeling I can taste it for hours. I don't worry about being poisoned or developing a cancerous swoon -- I just don't like it's terrible taste.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Permethrin on 07/09/2012 20:53:18 MDT Print View

Its good stuff. As others have said, keeps the crawlies at bay, and makes the flying biters think twice. You will still get a few mosquito bites, but I think that the Permethrin gets to them and most fly off (hopefully to die).

Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
thanks on 07/10/2012 09:59:01 MDT Print View

Thanks, I guess I will take some deet too, was hoping to avoid it but seems like both are still needed.

James Cuppy
(Kentuckian) - F
Re: Re: But which Permethrin? on 07/10/2012 10:44:19 MDT Print View

Great tip on the Ortho Basic. I will look into that.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: But which Permethrin? on 07/10/2012 10:55:04 MDT Print View

If you get the spray on Permethrin it's easier to contain.

Hang up your clothes, spray them, and just leave them there to dry. All the poison is on the outside of the clothes (with a little spray floating away)

If you soak your clothes in Permethrin solution, then you have to pull the clothes out with your hands, wring them out, and hang them - hard to avoid getting it on you. And the remaining solution has to be dumped down the sewer where it will contaminate the environment.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Permethrin negatives.... on 07/10/2012 12:40:34 MDT Print View

I found this online:
Mostly negative but brings up secondary or semi-metabolized byproducts.

Choose for yourself after reviewing this and other writings.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"any permethrin users out there?" on 07/10/2012 13:29:56 MDT Print View

My deet-free anti-mosquito set up is this: long nylon pants, a western mountaineering sun-shirt that I spray permethrin on, sun-grubbies for my hands, a head net. In the worst of the season I use a drape-style sun hat that can be velcro-closed when you enter a cloud of moquitoes. And then a shell for camp.

In my experience, skeeters can't bite through nylon. The WM sun shirt is loose fitting and has some nylon in the weave. Three weeks ago I was virtually unbitten wearing this set up. I don't even think that I needed permethrin on the shirt. Even the sun-grubbies protect my hands, which are very vulnerable because I use poles. I will spritz deet on the sun grubbies if necessary; then remove the grubbies when I eat (which I do anyway since they really do get grubby.) But I haven't needed to for a season and a half.

I always wore a capilene base layer for my hiking shirt but it provides no protection from mosquitoes, although permethrin helps a lot. I'm real happy that I traded for a loose fitting sun shirt.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Concentrated Permethrin on 07/11/2012 11:32:52 MDT Print View

I used the concentrated stuff that you get at farm supplies a lot, but it is a pain in the ass to use to treat clothes. You have to be more careful how you use it. It must be mixed properly and clothes soaked in a bucket.
It also seems to have that faint pesticide smell on your clothes until washed a few times.

The Sawyer spray is much easier to use and doesn't seem to smell much at all after the initial washing.

I highly recommend that you do treat your hiking clothes with permethrin. Lyme is way to common anymore to take chances. I have many friends who have had it, some with very bad results.

Just keep it away from cats.