Recent rainfall in Winnipeg has triggered an automatic mosquito fear response in some people.
This default setting summons the usual call for the city larvicide and fogging programs to be put into full effect immediately. Closer to home, a checklist of items needed to enjoy a backyard barbecue without the bite-slap-bite appetizer suddenly surfaces. It reads something like this:
Bug repellent? Check.
Citronella candles? Got ’em.
Giant fans? OK, sure.
Mosquito netting? Definitely.
While the usual means of mosquito discouragement produces mixed results — a fact Winnipeggers know all too well when trap counts creep up — a recent flip through a Cabella’s Canada Day sale flyer uncovered another option that may provide some relief.
The outdoor/hunting/fishing emporium is peddling something called ThermaCell mosquito-repellant lanterns and handheld appliances. The selling feature for these products: They shoo away mosquitoes.
Here’s how they work: Each device is powered by a single butane cartridge, which provides a heat source that warms a metal grill inside. That grill then heats the adjacent repellant mat, and the repellant allethrin is vaporized into the surrounding airspace.
Those familiar with their bug sprays know allethrin, a synthetic duplicate of the chemical found in chrysanthemum blooms, is found in many low-toxic household insecticides, as well. Those same people know mosquitoes do not like being around allethrin. They hate it.
Is this system of mosquito deterrent effective? The manufacture says moments after switching on the handheld device (approximately $30), the repellant vapour will cover a 4.5-metre by 4.5-metre (20.9 square-metre) area of mosquito-free airspace, a range that should provide enough relief for an average-sized deck, patio or campsite. The cost of replacing the limited-use butane cartridges and repellant mats ($8-$30) might be worth it for those who value a little mosquito holiday every now and then.
It should be pointed out the ThermaCell device advertised in the Cabella’s flyer comes with a pocketknife — a two-for-one special to help ward off those pesky bloodsuckers this summer.
Of course, this pairing raises a different concern:
If one requires a sharp knife to combat their backyard mosquito problems, well… God help us all.