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Bugs Bothering You? Try This!

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#1 sdeming

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:18 AM

Hello Friends!

 

I'm not sure where to post this, so I went to my usual place. Feel free to move it if need be, or delete it completely if it simply doesn't belong anywhere.

 

This is the time of year when bugs congregate around the laptop screen and around the astrophotographer. I use something that works really well. It's called Thermacell.

 

https://www.amazon.c...21005140&sr=8-7

 

I have a few of these, as I used to do quite a bit of hunting and fly fishing during the late spring/early summer months, when mosquitos and flies were pretty bad. So, I decided to take them out with me while imaging. I put one on top of the shelter that houses my laptop and another near my feet. Not a single bug near me or my equipment. They claim to keep bugs 15 feet away. I believe it. When I used to use these hunting and fishing, it was like a dream come true. Nothing near me the entire time sitting in the woods or standing in the stream.

 

I realize this isn't equipment or imaging related, but anything that makes the night out more enjoyable is worth posting!

 

Take care and have an awesome weekend!

 

Scott

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by sdeming, 14 May 2021 - 10:18 AM.

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#2 LuscombeFlyer

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:29 AM

I was skeptical of the claims at first, but I have to say that the Thermacell product does work very well. Highly recommended!


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#3 eyeoftexas

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:33 AM

Another recommendation for the Thermacell: https://www.youtube....h?v=cj78qt2nWV4



#4 Dynan

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:43 AM

https://www.cnet.com...ee-this-summer/

 

A few caveats about some potential risks. Amazon includes a Proposition 65 warning for California residents that discloses that Thermacell's repellent contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. Allethrin and metofluthrin are also toxic to some animals including birds, fish, bees and cats. Dill said that "though the potential for harm to humans is there, it's probably low," but he cautioned to use these devices in moderation and never indoors.

 

Poor bees can't catch a break...


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#5 zakry3323

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:56 AM

I'll give it a try :)



#6 Mike G.

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 11:25 AM

been using them for years, without them my deck would be useless in the summer.  my wife won't step outside the house till I have had them running for 15 minutes.  they work!


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#7 therealdmt

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 11:58 AM

https://www.cnet.com...ee-this-summer/

 

A few caveats about some potential risks. Amazon includes a Proposition 65 warning for California residents that discloses that Thermacell's repellent contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. Allethrin and metofluthrin are also toxic to some animals including birds, fish, bees and cats. Dill said that "though the potential for harm to humans is there, it's probably low," but he cautioned to use these devices in moderation and never indoors.

 

Poor bees can't catch a break...

Birds, too frown.gif

 

I don’t like bug sprays in general and try to avoid repellants on the skin, but I have to say that that Prop 65 warning would be a lot more effective if they didn’t put it on potato chips — and guitars! Hard to know how seriously to take it. Still, you gotta figure that stuff ain’t vitamins…


Edited by therealdmt, 14 May 2021 - 12:00 PM.

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#8 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 12:34 PM

Birds, too frown.gif

 

I don’t like bug sprays in general and try to avoid repellants on the skin, but I have to say that that Prop 65 warning would be a lot more effective if they didn’t put it on potato chips — and guitars! Hard to know how seriously to take it. Still, you gotta figure that stuff ain’t vitamins…

Yeah, the Prop 65 warnings seem kind of useless, but I once saw a warning on a bag of crystalized ginger at the market and followed up on it out of curiosity.  Turns out that brand had used something in their processing that wasn't right, so I was glad I didn't buy it.  The warning actually worked!  If you see one that looks out of place, it's worth paying attention.


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#9 WadeH237

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 12:41 PM

I looked this up, and it looks like it works by heat activating a repellent, which it releases into the air.

 

What are the chances that it could settle on optics and cause a problem over the long term?


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#10 eyeoftexas

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 12:41 PM

For those who have used this (or the larger versions of it): How long does it stay affective after turning it off?  



#11 sdeming

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 01:29 PM

For those who have used this (or the larger versions of it): How long does it stay affective after turning it off?  

Once you turn it off, it only takes a few seconds for the heat plate to cool off. It almost immediately stops sending the repellent. So, to clarify, you put a repellent pad on the heat plate. You put a butane (I believe it's butane) cylinder in the unit. You press a button and it ignites. It immediately sends a light smoke in the air. I used to wear mine on my belt and sometimes on my sleeve and I never got sick. In fact, I could hardly smell it. I don't put one close enough to the scope to worry about it settling on the optics. My computer is 6-8 feet from my scope and this is supposed to be effective up to 15 feet. I've never had a problem with it.



#12 alphatripleplus

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 02:05 PM

I've heard about these items, but never tried one. Perhaps I'll give it a shot.



#13 StephenW

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 03:00 PM

I have one and tried it a couple of times - biggest issue I had is that even a slight breeze blows the "repellent cloud" away. 

 

Also, as the repellent is aerosolized around you, if it isn't blown away, you're breathing it in.

 

In the end I just settled on a DEET empowered bug spray and that works for me.


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#14 const

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 03:38 PM

Thanks for the reminder that the spring is finally here. Next time out I should take my electric insect killer off my winter storage. Not sure how much it helps against mosquitoes, they didn't bother me too much. But larger moths and crickets are very well diverted to the lamp which is sitting like 20 feet away. It doesn't consume much power.



#15 Howard Fink

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 04:48 PM

The Astronomy Retreat at Medomak in Maine provides 20" box fans.  They have 110v power on the field.  I  bought a 20" fan that tilts, and plug it in to a lithium powerpack.  On low, doesn't draw much current, and the mosquitos can't fly upstream.  


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#16 eyeoftexas

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 05:19 PM

In the end I just settled on a DEET empowered bug spray and that works for me.

One time I tried the 100% DEET spray.  It burnt, and I almost hallucinated.  I decided that can't be good.


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#17 StephenW

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 05:23 PM

>One time I tried the 100% DEET spray.  It burnt, and I almost hallucinated.  I decided that can't be good.

 

Agreed - would never use 100% DEET :)   The sprays I use are either 25% or 30% max



#18 Alex McConahay

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:07 PM

Luckily, I am not much bothered by insects in my observing. The desert is kind in that respect. But, I want to ask:

 

If it creates some kind of aerosol (which I got from the posts discussing how a breeze blows the aerosols away) is there not a risk that it could be reaching the optics?

 

 

 

And a comment about the meaning of California Prop 65 warnings. Many manufacturers, and lots of stores and all that, make it a point to put that warning everywhere, even if they have no known dangerous substance at all. Put the warning up, and you have met some liability protection level. Don't put it up unless you know about something, you may or may not have a liability issue. So, as I said, many vendors/manufacturers just put the warning there. 

 

Alex


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#19 seedifferently

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 09:16 AM

In the end I just settled on a DEET empowered bug spray and that works for me.

Mosquitos are a huge issue in my area (lots of swamp), and DEET sprays were my go-to until someone informed me that a high enough concentration of it can melt plastics.

 

So if you're using DEET, be mindful of where it's landing. I accidentally ruined a pair of sunglasses using a common "deep woods" variant.

 

I've since switched to a Picaridin-based spray. It seems to work about as well as DEET, and its only downside is that it is highly toxic to salamander larvae.


Edited by seedifferently, 19 May 2021 - 09:35 AM.


#20 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 09:24 AM

I'm not really sure what the problem is here. The third arm I grew from using these has been exceptionally useful!


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#21 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 11:16 AM

I'm not really sure what the problem is here. The third arm I grew from using these has been exceptionally useful!

"And she'll like it too. wink.gif "

 

--Frank Thomas


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#22 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 11:30 AM

"And she'll like it too. wink.gif "

 

--Frank Thomas

I almost went with "the third arm has been very handy"... but thought that was a bit over the top :p


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#23 audioengr

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 01:37 PM

Yeah, the Prop 65 warnings seem kind of useless, but I once saw a warning on a bag of crystalized ginger at the market and followed up on it out of curiosity.  Turns out that brand had used something in their processing that wasn't right, so I was glad I didn't buy it.  The warning actually worked!  If you see one that looks out of place, it's worth paying attention.

Where do you get this ginger?  I get mine at Trader Joes and it does not have this warning.



#24 Muskoka

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 02:28 PM

Thanks for posting this, going to have to grab some. The bugs are so bad here now I didn't even go out last night. Had to be at least 100 mosquitos on the window screen just waiting to get at me. 



#25 Beaverpond Astro

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Posted 19 May 2021 - 03:04 PM

My set up is right beside a large beaverpond and marshy area.   Mosquitoes are as thick as anything here this time of year..

 

Similar to Muskoka, I was out last night in the worst of them.  I'm adverse to using chemical repellants in general and don't want to release larger amounts in this sensitive ecosystem (otherwise I would get one of these Thermacell things) and also don't want to contaminate optics or get DEET on anything that I might touch if I put it on my skin.

 

So I go with a bug jacket that has a hood, long pants, and surgical gloves.   The gloves are great, other than being a bit warm after an hour so.  Can still manipulate small items and use the touch screen on the tablet without getting my hands covered in bites.

 

The large fan sounds like another good, non-chemical, solution...might try that too!




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