It seems there is a large group of folks out there who do not know how this permethrin stuff works for  repelling insects namely ticks, but also mosquitoes and black flies.  The first time I read the warnings on the can back in the 80’s, I wouldn’t touch the stuff.  It was in a spray can, and it was banned in about 30 of the 50 states.  Turns out nobody back then new much about using this stuff as well.
Having now used it myself with pretty great effect, I’ve found that the rest of the world needs to know about it as well.  Permethrin is the same usually by all the manufacturers.  We have store customers who think the brand name is what makes the product better, but if you look at the label and compare ingredients and quantities of said ingredients, this stuff is all the same across the board.  Pick one and the end result will be very similar.  This same rule applies to DEET in most cases.  There can be some differences in the delivery system of the DEET which I’ll address in a different post.Permethrin originally was derived from chrysanthemums (flowers) in the 70’s and has since been created synthetically ever since.  It is a neurotoxin and disrupts/kills all insects that come in contact with it.  It is an indiscriminate killer of insects so if there are some bugs you don’t want to kill, then don’t use this stuff.  It is also harmful to cats and fish so don’t dump it in the lake and don’t spray your clothing with it and then have Mr. Winkles come sit on your lap.  It doesn’t really bother humans and dogs, but if ingested, it can cause problems.  It is an insecticide, meaning “bug murderer” so even those of you are “human” and your dog is well, “dog” don’t be an idiot and drink the stuff or spray it on your skin.  This is not bug dope.  It’s a clothing insecticide spray.  There is a proper way to use it and here it is.

Take a set of clothing – pants and long-sleeve shirt.  Go outside on a non-rainy day.  Spray this stuff on every inch of the OUTSIDE of your clothing.  Think of the spray as a varnish or coating that contains the permethrin. You want to spray so the outside of your clothing feels slightly damp from the spray, not soaking wet.  Then, allow it to dry in the sun for 4-6 hours.  Wear.  You are now a walking bug bomb.  Bugs that come in contact with your clothing, will be disrupted neurologically for up to two weeks even with several washings because this stuff is now bonded to the fibers of these clothes.  That’s pretty neat.  You can actually purchase clothing that is made pretty much the same way, but what for?  Just buy a can of permethrin and bring about death to the bugs.  Just remember that Mr. Winkles and Rafael the goldfish will not do to well with this stuff, so it is your responsibility to use it properly.  Don’t be an idiot.  It’s not candy.

Repel is the brand that we are stocking in the store at Red Rock.  I’ve now compared the contents across three different brands and it is all the same from what I can see.  So, just pick one and get your set of bug clothes out and  get ready to reign death upon the bugs.  Strong tick season in northern MN this year.  I’m already had a tick crawling on my shin the other day, so I’m now a large, synthetic chrysanthemum.

Death to Mean Bugs
See? Even pretty, organic things can be boiled down into neurotoxins.