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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 9:51 am 
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I've heard lots of talk about how permethrin is wonder stuff that keeps the bugs away.  I bought some last year, treated my clothes, camped at Ross Lake, and got so many bites I looked like I had small pox.  Apparently the Sawyer stuff isn't very concentrated?

Can anybody suggest what to get and where to get it?  I'd like to treat clothes I already have, as opposed to buying new ones.
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contour5
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 10:03 am 
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The Sawyer stuff works ok- against mosquitos. Permethrin doesn't repel black flies. My local Feed and Seed outlet carries 1 lb containers of permethrin powder.

For black flies, the only thing that works is Geranium oil. I like this Bug Band product

Geranium oil (and synthetic Geraniol) are extremely effective, but not long lasting. Useful for a 10 or 20 minute rest stop...
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 10:45 am 
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contour5 wrote:
Permethrin doesn't repel black flies.

YMMV. My DIY permethrin garment treatment has been 100% effective in repelling all insects including, e.g., black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, hover flies, noseeums, etc.  Note: n = >4 (me, wife, several buds) Prior to DIY treating, we used Ex Officio and Columbia bug shirts, which also effectively repelled black flies.

Cyclopath wrote:
Apparently the Sawyer stuff isn't very concentrated?

Correct. It also comes in a relatively small bottle that discourages saturating the garment with solution.

I have been using a DIY est. 1.6% solution, i.e., >3X Sawyer's 0.5% solution. I have read that the military uses 2%. I make my est. 1.6% solution by cutting agricultural grade 10% permethrin (available on Amazon) with 5 parts water in a big pump spray bottle. I spray to saturate the garment and allow to line dry for a couple days. I occasionally refresh the garment with a light spray.

IME, Permethrin is a game changer in mossie and black fly seasons.
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mike
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 10:46 am 
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I bought this. Recommendation by BS I think.
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JPH
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 1:04 pm 
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I've got an unopened bottle of 36.8% permethrin that I haven't mixed yet. Planning on doing a ~1.5% mix in a spray bottle.

I live in Beacon Hill if you want to buy some of my bottle vs ordering a new one from Amazon.
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OwenT
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 1:05 pm 
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First trip with my DIY treated clothes on Saturday.  Didn't get any bites,  my friends got just a few,  I'd say it works.  I bought 32 oz on 38.6% on amazon for $23.  Made a little over half a gallon of 1% solution and soaked my shirt pants and hat.  Turns out I only needed half of it but I put the rest in a bottle to use later.  Next time I'll make it stronger like BigSteve is doing.   Thanks BigSteve for being so vocal about permethrin, I think you've saved a lot of people from a lot of annoyance  up.gif .
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contour5
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 1:19 pm 
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Quote:
Correct. It also comes in a relatively small bottle

Sawyer comes in an aerosol can...1 can will easily cover 2 full sets of clothing...

Dog permethrin from the dollar store was 5% IIRC. And it still didn't repel the little black flies- in fact, it may even attract them slightly...

Big Steve: I challenge you to a bug torture field test. You use permethrin, and I'll use permethrin, DEET, and Geranium oil. We'll see who can sit still the longest...
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 1:44 pm 
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contour5 wrote:
Sawyer comes in an aerosol can

and also in a pump spray bottle:

But why? DIY solution costs a fraction of the price -- and can be mixed to a solution sufficiently strong to repel black flies.
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Doppelganger
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 2:05 pm 
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contour5 wrote:
Dog permethrin from the dollar store was 5% IIRC.

eek.gif Whoa, 2.5 times the amount that the military was willing to use. I would say that is imprudent for the dog biggrin.gif

I have some hardware permethrin in the garage as well, sitting on the shelf next to some Sawyer pump bottles (remixed and marked accordingly with my own concentration levels) from the days before I read this thread. I go for 1.5%, jumps up to 2% when I read the tick threads.

Edit - I'm also very interested in the DIY test results!
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contour5
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Quote:
But why? DIY solution costs a fraction of the price -- and can be mixed to a solution sufficiently strong to repel black flies.

Convenience, probably. Freddys had the Sawyer aerosol on sale for $4.99. Quick and easy compared to putting on mask and gloves to mix hazardous insecticide powders into liquid form. I bought gloves and used a dust mask to dilute the dog permethrin 50/50, but still had to take it out in the woods to spray it so as not to poison the resident cats.

Dollar Store ran out of the 4 oz bottles of 5% solution. The local feed store has 1 lb canisters of chicken coop powder for $16- Hayes Feed
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 2:23 pm 
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contour5 wrote:
Quick and easy compared to putting on mask and gloves to mix hazardous insecticide powders

Powder?  confused.gif We're talking about cutting 10% or 36.8% liquid solution with water. See the pic in mike's post. Also, AFAIK, Sawyer recommends mask and gloves.
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contour5
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PostMon Jul 13, 2015 2:34 pm 
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Quote:
Powder?

Yeah, the one pound cans are powder. Pure undiluted permethrian crystals for sprinkling around your chicken coop, to keep the vermin at bay. The instructions also list various dilutions with water for spray bottle use.

Here's the real discrepancy: I always hike in shorts and t shirt when it's hot. My shorts and shirt are treated so the  black flies bounce off. Then they bite me on my arms and legs. Deet only repels mosquitos, so I use the Geranium oil on my arms and legs when I stop, if the black flies are annoying. I got 2 or 3 bites on my last trip, before I whipped out the Geranium- and then bite free for the rest of the trip.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Jul 14, 2015 7:02 am 
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Thanks everybody for the great info!

Beth got her first horsefly bite ever recently, and isn't so sure about summer hiking after that.  I didn't think anything would repel them.  Going to pick up the 38.6% stuff and some Geranium oil.

It sounds like everyone is diluting theirs to the 2 to 5 % range.  Is it harmful not to?  The wikipedia article makes it sound pretty inert.

There's a little grassy area with a tree across the street from my apartment.  Can I apply the stuff there, hang it in the tree for a couple hours, then bring it in when it's dry?  We have a cat, and a baby kitten.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostTue Jul 14, 2015 7:13 am 
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BigSteve wrote:
I have been using a DIY est. 1.6% solution, i.e., >3X Sawyer's 0.5% solution.

Steve, what version are you buying to make your solution?

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DIYSteve
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PostTue Jul 14, 2015 7:40 am 
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BPJ, I just bought my second bottle, the stuff in mike's link via Amazon, although I got the 1 pint (16 oz.) bottle, which, after cutting with 5 parts water, will yield 3/4 gallon, enough to last me a few years. I thought about getting the 36.8% solution but could find it only in 1 qt. bottle, which, after cutting, might be more than I'd use in what's left of my lifetime.
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