BWCA Permethrin on BWCA-only clothes Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      Permethrin on BWCA-only clothes     

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06/04/2022 09:17PM  
I have a set of clothes I only use for the BWCA. Usually I spray them every year, but it says six washes or something like that. When I get home, I wash them, and put them back into the tote. I wonder if it’s necessary to spray every year. What do you think?
 
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schweady
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06/04/2022 09:38PM  
Some studies show that its effectiveness drops by more than 50% after only one washing. I'm not pretending that I could digest all of what is in this study, but it seems to point toward a significant degradation of effectiveness of home treatments in just a few washings.

I treat mine every spring and focus on saving them for the 3-4 major outdoor outings I take, laundering after each trip. Proven to work.
 
straighthairedcurly
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06/04/2022 10:09PM  
The most recent container I used said the treatment lasts for 6 weeks. I treat every spring, but if it turns out to be a bad bug season, I might retreat mid way thru the summer (I have 5 trips this summer).
 
TaylorRN
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06/05/2022 11:57AM  
Id play it safe and spray everything again. Nobody likes ticks.
 
4keys
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06/05/2022 11:57AM  
I usually treat clothes before our first trip of the year. They get washed a few times over summer. I figure by August there usually aren’t too many mosquitos so I don’t worry about reapplying then. I reapply the next spring again.
 
Michwall2
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06/05/2022 06:49PM  
4keys: "I usually treat clothes before our first trip of the year. They get washed a few times over summer. I figure by August there usually aren’t too many mosquitos so I don’t worry about reapplying then. I reapply the next spring again. "

While mosquitoes are annoying, I apply permethrin more for the ticks while in the BW. While in the northland, they are vectors for more scary diseases than mosquitoes. Lyme is only the most recently prevalent.
 
06/05/2022 08:38PM  
I basically live in a wooded area on the iron range. I’ve been lax this year on treating my clothes. The ticks are not as much an issue as the gnats and skeeters. But I plan to be treating a couple pairs on pants the rest of the summer. I’ve been dealing with lymes a long time. Both me and my pup...
There is no way I’d really trust your treatment to be good the following year. Believe me, it is worth treating again each year. And the BWCA is not your biggest risk area. That’s the last thing I worried about in canoe country. But if your in the outdoors around the cities area. Your probably as much as risk as anywhere. I’d be treating your clothes as much anywhere in the state. Just my opinion. Up in canoe country I’ve only dealt with the more common tick. And I’ve been loaded with em. The worst time I’ve had with deer ticks is the shoulder season.
 
thegildedgopher
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06/06/2022 08:21AM  
How good is permethrin in a situation where skeeters and gnats are literally swarming in the vicinity? We are day tripping out of gunflint lodge. We don’t really have problems during the day, but at night when I go out to prep the boat for the following day and cover it up, I get absolutely feasted on. There are lights near our typical parking spot so the bugs are thick in the area!

We leave a week from today so I’m considering grabbing some of the SAwyer permethrin from REI and treating one set of clothes for this purpose.
 
Savage Voyageur
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06/06/2022 09:04AM  
Yes it is necessary to spray every year, or after 6 washings. What ever comes first.
 
bloody stump
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06/06/2022 09:26AM  
I cant speak for gnats, but effective on mosquitos for sure...they will still be around but wont want to land on your clothes.
 
scottiebaldwin
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
06/06/2022 10:08AM  
I have seven trips this season and just treated my clothes yesterday and will not wash them in between trips. Gross, I know. If the permethrin doesn’t get the bugs, my nasty, zombie-like body funk smell will. Bye bye bugs!
 
06/06/2022 11:06AM  
Do you treat head nets and hats as well? I was not planning to treat my neck gator.
 
06/06/2022 11:27AM  
I have been using these for 5 years, only found a few ticks on me during that time and I live in the tick hotspot of NW Minnesota.

Lyme EZ tick gaitors
 
schweady
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06/06/2022 01:42PM  
scottiebaldwin: "I have seven trips this season and just treated my clothes yesterday and will not wash them in between trips. Gross, I know. If the permethrin doesn’t get the bugs, my nasty, zombie-like body funk smell will. Bye bye bugs! "
I hang mine to dry in the garage, totally out of the sun. Looks like you have some good shade there, but thought I'd put a reminder here that drying them in direct sunlight cuts the effectiveness significantly.
 
scottiebaldwin
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
06/06/2022 02:08PM  
schweady: "scottiebaldwin: "I have seven trips this season and just treated my clothes yesterday and will not wash them in between trips. Gross, I know. If the permethrin doesn’t get the bugs, my nasty, zombie-like body funk smell will. Bye bye bugs! "
I hang mine to dry in the garage, totally out of the sun. Looks like you have some good shade there, but thought I'd put a reminder here that drying them in direct sunlight cuts the effectiveness significantly.
"


Thank you, Schweady! I'll do a re-application today and dry in the garage as you suggested. Thanks for the tip!
 
Gaidin53
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06/07/2022 10:32AM  
My wife hates spiders big time! I spray the tent body inside and outside. I do not spray the fly though since I don’t want to mess with waterproofing. Made a huge difference last year in the tent for all bugs and especially spiders. We also treat all of our clothes shirts, pants, and hats that go on trip with us.

Ryan
 
CanoeKev
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06/08/2022 12:33PM  
FindHim: "Do you treat head nets and hats as well? I was not planning to treat my neck gator. " Absolutely! Nothing more annoying than having bugs coat the outside of your headnet.
 
AdamXChicago
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06/08/2022 03:45PM  
I make it a ritual to reapply/ spray every year before my first trip (typically in June, so ticks are likely going to be around). Effects of the spray seem to still work by the time my September trip comes up. With less mosquito activity after Labor Day, I feel it’s ok if not 100% effective, but I don’t want to chance tick and mosquito problems in the spring.

AdamX
 
06/09/2022 12:10PM  
thegildedgopher: "How good is permethrin in a situation where skeeters and gnats are literally swarming in the vicinity? We are day tripping out of gunflint lodge. We don’t really have problems during the day, but at night when I go out to prep the boat for the following day and cover it up, I get absolutely feasted on. There are lights near our typical parking spot so the bugs are thick in the area!


We leave a week from today so I’m considering grabbing some of the SAwyer permethrin from REI and treating one set of clothes for this purpose."


Anecdotally it's reasonably effective at dissuading mosquitos from landing on you (but won't knock them out like it does to ticks if they land). They absolutely love me and while some will still touch down and take a nibble it's definitely less than when I wear untreated clothes. It's a pretty low effort way to cut down on the attention so I always treat every year before my trips and combine it with a thermacell and deet/lemon euc spray when needed.

Friendly reminder that permethrin in liquid form is incredibly toxic to cats. If you have pets do your treatments and drying outside and away from windows and keep the clothes out there until completely dry.
 
06/11/2022 10:19AM  
straighthairedcurly: "The most recent container I used said the treatment lasts for 6 weeks. I treat every spring, but if it turns out to be a bad bug season, I might retreat mid way thru the summer (I have 5 trips this summer)."

Same here...treat every spring and then again before any trips in June - seems to be the worst bug month from my perspective.
 
Jasonf
senior member (78)senior membersenior member
 
06/12/2022 08:04AM  
I do the soak on my tent (not the fly) with 10% Permethrin from TCS and it works great, no more spiders making webs or mosquitos hanging around. The best is in the morning while laying there trying to get up and seeing the spiders trying to climb up to peak of the tent, most don't make it!
 
Argo
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06/12/2022 10:26AM  
If any of my Yankee Doodle Dandy friends are ever passing through Toronto, I'd love to get my hands on a bottle of that stuff. Can't buy it here. You can only by clothing treated with it.
 
schweady
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06/12/2022 01:12PM  
Argo: "If any of my Yankee Doodle Dandy friends are ever passing through Toronto, I'd love to get my hands on a bottle of that stuff. Can't buy it here. You can only by clothing treated with it."
Noticed this year that I could no longer find the 36.8% concentrate on Amazon. Max was 10%, so basically quadrupled the price. Was there some sort of new regulation?
 
06/13/2022 02:40PM  
This may be a bit controversial, but I personally won't treat my BW clothes with Permethrin anymore.

I believe last year I witnessed firsthand a significant die-off of crayfish at Johnson Falls because of people swimming in the water with permethrin treated clothing.

My son and I were tripping with some friends and went to the falls and spent a good amount of time there. Some in our party chose to swim in the water with their clothing on (for personal reasons) and I know their clothing was treated (soak treatment nonetheless). That was the first time I noticed that there are actually quite a few crayfish in the pool under the lower falls. I thought it was odd that they were coming out from the deeper water and even up onto the little rock ledge right below the falls. Didn't think much of it and even took some pictures of them thinking it was interesting to see.

We went back the next day and I noticed a number of dead crayfish in the stream below the falls that definitely weren't there the day before. Still thought it was odd, but I didn't put two and two together until the drive home.

Permethrin is toxic for aquatic invertebrates! Once I realized this I felt guilty as hell that I didn't think of it and mention it to the folks in our group who were swimming with their clothing on at the time. If that amount of exposure killed those crayfish it makes me wonder what other impact just wet-footing could be having on other species that are less visible and even fish?

I know correlation != causation, and I haven't done a study to prove that the permethrin is what killed the crayfish, but it was strong enough evidence for me. I've never been a big fan of permethrin anyways. I still get wood ticks and mosquito bites when I use it and I rarely see deer ticks either way so I'm not convinced it helps much.
 
schweady
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06/14/2022 12:39PM  
Why would anyone swim with permethrin-treated clothing? I only treat our socks and long pants/long sleeved shirts.
 
06/14/2022 02:55PM  
schweady: "Why would anyone swim with permethrin-treated clothing? I only treat our socks and long pants/long sleeved shirts.
"


but you probably still wetfoot with said pants/socks?

Basically we treated almost all of our clothing (only thing I don't treat is my underwear).
 
schweady
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06/24/2022 01:36PM  
keth0601: "schweady: "Why would anyone swim with permethrin-treated clothing? I only treat our socks and long pants/long sleeved shirts.
"



but you probably still wetfoot with said pants/socks?


Basically we treated almost all of our clothing (only thing I don't treat is my underwear)."

You got me there. My permethrin-soaked socks have defiled waters at every portage landing traveled for the past decade or so. Sorry.
 
06/25/2022 10:13AM  
schweady: "keth0601: "schweady: "Why would anyone swim with permethrin-treated clothing? I only treat our socks and long pants/long sleeved shirts.
"




but you probably still wetfoot with said pants/socks?



Basically we treated almost all of our clothing (only thing I don't treat is my underwear)."

You got me there. My permethrin-soaked socks have defiled waters at every portage landing traveled for the past decade or so. Sorry.
"


Don't get me wrong I'm not having a go at anyone. I've been doing the same for many years. I just won't do it anymore as I don't see enough benefit to justify the extra hassle and potential impact. I wonder about the long-term cumulative effect as more and more people use it as well.

I'll just stick with deet. As much as I dislike its other qualities it seems to work better in my experience as long as I remember to apply it appropriately.
 
HowardSprague
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06/25/2022 10:23AM  
I'm lucky to get in one trip a year. I only use permethrin if I'm tripping in May or June, and that's rare. After that, ticks are pretty much a non-issue so I figure I don't need it.
 
cyclones30
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06/25/2022 12:37PM  
I treat every spring no matter how much those clothes got used in the previous year. (usually not much)

And I only treat the outer "main" layer like pants, long sleeve, etc. I don't do it to the layer that's typically directly on my skin like underwear, socks, hat. (as the label usually says not to)
 
scottiebaldwin
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
06/25/2022 01:02PM  
Did a few nights in the Lizz/Caribou/Horseshoe/Vista/Winchell area two weeks ago. Almost everyone we passed had head nets on (but we didn’t). Bugs were plentiful. Our clothes were treated with permethrin and we wore deet sparingly where needed. Not a single bite of any kind. It was awesome. I’m a permethrin/deet believer. Going on the Granite River route on Tuesday. Report to follow.
 
Heyfritty
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06/25/2022 04:26PM  
I was in the BW in the first half of the month. The bugs started out bad and got worse over 12 days. It was the first time I used permethrin and it was a joy tormenting them that first evening when they came out en masse. The only time they bit me was when I was wearing short sleeves. Even so, I put bug spray on only once.

Between my treated hat and long sleeves it seemed like they wanted to stay about 6” from the stuff. There was one night that they were so thick that I retreated to my hammock with a bug net just to minimize the amount of buzzing in my ears, but I still wasn’t getting bit. For once I can say “better living through chemistry”.

Fritty
 
06/26/2022 07:26AM  
LindenTree: "I have been using these for 5 years, only found a few ticks on me during that time and I live in the tick hotspot of NW Minnesota.


Lyme EZ tick gaitors "




That to me is a very wise item to wear. Thanks Linden...
 
tonecoughlin
member (39)member
 
06/27/2022 07:47AM  
Permethrin is toxic and can cause liver or kidney issues if misused. I've also heard of people accidentally killing their pets with it. Do not apply on anything that has contact with your skin wear a respirator and gloves.

I use a 45% concentrate on my sled dogs (I have 55 dogs), they get 1 DROP on the tip of their ears to keep flies off. It only lasts for 2-3 weeks if the dog does not get wet or when it rains. Water and UV will speed up the need for re-application.

10% concentrate or less will be gone in a day or 2.

I only use bug spray sparingly and always have pants and a long sleeve shirt. I have lived off the grid in the woods for 12 years now and pulled thousands of biting ticks off myself, rarely using any kind of repellent at all. When you are in the thick of it there's no spray or oil or topical solution that will give you 100% immunity to bugs.

And like many have already said if it gets in the water it disrupts the food chain. Just like bug spray and soap, tainting your drinking water.
 
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