Thursday, October 1, 2009

Keep The Blood Suckers Away

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colored clothing and damp clothing. The worst combination is dark, damp clothing, especially if you're damp because you've been sweating. These flying blood suckers are also attracted to carbon monoxide from your breath. That's why they buzz around your face. And they are also drawn to the presence of lactic acid that your body produces when you exercise, or after you have eaten salty foods or foods high in potassium.

So what does that have to do with survival? Well, if you think bears are dangerous, you should see the death toll from bear/human confrontations compared with the death toll from disease-bearing mosquitos. It goes something like this: about 150 (that's generous) human deaths due to bear attack per year — about 66,000 deaths per year from disease carried by mosquitoes. It's good to keep the blood suckers away.

One inexpensive way to discourage mosquitoes is to carry a dryer sheet in your back pocket. I guess the 'skeeters just hate that.

A more expensive way to protect against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, ants, no-see-ums, chiggers, and flies is to wear Buzz-Off Insect Shield Repellent Apparel ( The material used in the manufacture of this clothing is infused with a dose of manmade insecticide called permethrin (structurally similar to the natural insecticide found in Chrysanthemum flowers) that damages the insect's nervous system. Is it safe for humans? According to Dr. Mark S. Fradin, M.D., Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, and author of Mosquitoes and Mosquito Repellents: A Clinician's Guide, "…once the permethrin has dried on any fabric, toxicity should no longer be of any concern."

The shirt I'm wearing in this photo is a Buzz-Off product. The company also makes outdoor pants, socks, caps, bandanas and other clothing items that contain the repellent. Buzz-Off works closely with several outdoor clothing suppliers including Ex Officio ( and Orvis ( A Google search will aid your shopping.

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