Have you ever been bitten by a pesty mosquito?

Published 12:03 am Sunday, July 9, 2006

If you have ever stood at the shelve where the mosquito repellant is and studied the cans looking for the right one, you are not alone. Millions of people spend millions of dollars every year to ensure that the pesky flying blood suckers stay away. Today it is even more important to guard yourself than ever with the increase of disease being spread by mosquitoes.

Do you seem to get eaten alive when others are left alone; you’re probably not just imagining it.

Everyone’s body chemistry is a little different, and some people are more likely to attract unwanted attention than others are.

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Mosquitoes can sense your presence from far away. When you breathe out, you emit a plume of carbon dioxide that carries on the breeze, and CO2 also seeps from your skin. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide as well as the warmth and humidity you’re giving off. They follow the trail, flying in a zigzag pattern, until they find the source. In addition, they are also attracted to certain chemicals in your sweat. Mosquitoes love a moving target, it helps them zero in. In general, mosquito repellent works by masking the chemical cues that welcome mosquitoes to dine.

One of the most effective mosquito repellents is one of the oldest around. DEET was first developed for use by the U.S. Army in 1946, and it became available to the public in 1957. Many other products have hit the market since then, but few compare to DEET. In fact, it’s one of two ingredients in mosquito repellent that the CDC recommends for preventing mosquito-borne diseases. The other is picaridin, and the CDC believes these two ingredients are more effective than other mosquito repellents.

n a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, researchers compared several types of mosquito repellents head-to-head in laboratory tests. Fifteen brave study volunteers took turns sticking an arm treated with mosquito repellent into a cage full of hungry bloodsuckers. The researchers took note of how long it took a mosquito to bite.

“OFF! Deep Woods” repellent, a product containing about 24% DEET, fared the best. Its protection lasted an average of five hours.

The least effective products were wristbands treated with DEET or citronella, which offered almost no protection. According to the researchers, this wasn’t a surprise. It’s known that mosquito repellent only works on the surface to which it’s applied directly. Mosquitoes are happy to bite skin only four centimeters away from the repellent slick.

Other folks have the belief in an Avon product called Skin-So-Soft after the New England Journal of Medicine study showed that Skin-So-Soft worked as a mosquito repellent for an average of roughly 10 minutes, which hardly matched DEET products, or even soybean oil. In the study, a 2% soybean oil product called Bite Blocker for Kids protected against bites for an average of 94 minutes.

The NEJM study shows that Skin-So-Soft Avon does not market the original Skin-So-Soft oil as a mosquito repellent, but the company has come out with a formula containing IR3535, a new EPA-approved mosquito repellent.

IR3535 belongs to drug maker Merck, and it has been used as a mosquito repellent in Europe for 20 years. Avon’s products are the only ones with IR3535 available in the U.S. In the NEJM study, Bug Guard Plus protected against mosquito bites for only about 23 minutes, on average. But Avon claims that their new “eXpedition” formula lasted as long as eight hours in outdoor tests.

Besides all the sprays and lotions that contain mosquito repellent, there are many things that supposedly drive away mosquitoes in the surrounding area. Citronella candles have been used since 1882 as a means of drawing mosquitoes away from people, but one study shows that they’re not much more effective than plain candles, which also give off heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture.

There are many other gadgets and toys that are suppose to give off high frequency sounds that only the mosquito can hear, and this sound annoys them and drives them away. Sorry to ell you that the professionals say that in test after test they just don’t work.

I give you one sure fire way to rid the mosquito problem, and I have sung its praises to you before, the Thermacell mosquito repellant machine. The Thermacell works with a small hot plate that has the patented repellent pad placed on it and heated by the small butane cylinder that screws into the bottom.

The small wonder that is about the size of a pocket video game has push button igniter to light the fuel source, and is totally self contained, and the best part is you can purchase replacement cylinders and pads. This unit worked for me and I have never had anyone tell me other wise.

Be sure to take the steps to keep yourself safe this year. Don’t think you are some big tough guy that doesn’t need to spray with repellent before going outside. The cases of West Nile, spider bites and ticks are growing. I know of two folks recently that have had spider bites from Brown Recluse spiders and had to have the area about the size of a quarter cut out of their leg. I also know folks that have been diagnosed with both Wet Nile and Lyme disease.

Taking a few seconds to spray your ankles, arms, necks and any exposed areas is well worth your time. Take it from me, I use to just hit the door and never worry about repellents, not anymore. I will never hit the woods with out my Thermacell, or the water for that fact.

Hunter’s trade days

If you lone for the days of fall and winter so you can get out into the woods with your buddies and hunt. If you are looking for something to fill the void during the summertime. If you are looking for some hunting supplies for next year or just want to talk hunting, I have just the event for you. The annual Trade Days and Picnic hosted by the Mississippi Cur and Feist Hunters Association is just around the corner.

Saturday July the 22 is the day and the Walkia Bluff Water Park is the place. This event is hosted by squirrel hunters, but is open to all hunters that love the outdoors. This event is for hunters to bring their squirrel dogs or any hunting toys that you want to sell trade or give away. There is usually a lot to see and do and the kids have a blast for a few hours.

There are usually some fun activities like a kid’s bench show where you can put your kid on a bench and show them, treeing contest, horseshoes and door prizes. The day usually starts around 10am and goes till whenever everyone leaves. This is pot luck style picnic and everyone brings food and drinks for themselves and extra for some that can’t.

Owen Brayson, President of the Mississippi Cur and Feist Hunters Assoc. and UKC State Representative, coordinates the event each year and does an awesome job. Bring your dinner or dish of any kind, deserts are especially welcome, and have a blast with me. For more information, call Owen at 601-799-1703

Archery Contest rescheduled

The Bi-Weekly archery contest at the Deer Stand archery range was wet and fun last week. We did get the children’s and youth shoots done, but the adults were a wash.

We had a great group of young shooters that got their rounds in before the rain. The top spots for the Button Bucks division were in first place Devin Fore second place was Audrey Furr and rounding out the top three was Lucien Failla. The top shooters in the Spike division were Travis Fore in first, Bradley Guillott in second, D.J. Failla in third and Belle Failla in fourth.

The youth division was won by Brandon Lossett trailed in second place by Jordy Meadows. The third place hole was a three way tie that ended with a shoot-off. The three tie breaking shooters were Clint Hensarling, Hugh Guillott and Colby Wallace.

The shoot off was a pressure shot, closest to the bullseye. The one shot elimination was won by Hugh Guillott and he took the third place slot. Colby and Clint rounded out the fourth and fifth place spots.

Thanks to the new shooters that came out and be sure to get ready for next week. Rumor has it that John “Hoss” Simmons will be signing autographs after his shoot. I had to pick on John a little; he is a great supporter of the contest each week. God has blessed us with a great group of contestants, but we need more.

Be sure to put these dates on your calendar and I will see you there, and as always, get outdoors and enjoy what God has given us.