Be safe from insects in recreation areas

Material Information

Be safe from insects in recreation areas
Series Title:
Home and garden bulletin ; no. 200
Fluno, J. A
Weidhaas, D. E. ( jt. auth )
United States -- Agricultural Research Service
Place of Publication:
Hyattsville, Md
Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1977.
Rev. May 1977.
Physical Description:
8 p. : ; 24 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Insect pests -- Control -- United States ( lcsh )
Repellents ( lcsh )
federal government publication ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
[J. A. Fluno and D. E. Weidhaas].

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is a work of the U.S. federal government and not subject to copyright pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §105.
Resource Identifier:
020519354 ( ALEPH )
03047969 ( OCLC )
AAB2812 ( NOTIS )


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Full Text

Be Safe from

Insects in

Recreation Areas





Repellents ...........
Materials to use ..

How to apply ......

Space sprays .........

Use of pesticides ......

Other methods....

For more information.






















Washington, D.C.

Revised May 1977

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D).C. 20402 Price 60 cents
25% discount allowed on orders of 100 or more to one address

Stock No. 001-000-03681-5

There is a minimum charge of $1.00 for each mail order


Insect pests can spoil a hike, picnic,
camping trip, or other outdoor
activity---unless you take measures to
protect yourself against them. In this
bulletin, you'll find information on
repellents, space sprays, and other
methods you can use to help prevent
insect annoyance.


Repellents are effective in varying
degrees against mosquitoes, biting
flies, gnats, chiggers, fleas, and ticks.
They are not effective against wasps,
spiders, and scorpions.
Whenever you use a repellent, be
sure to follow the directions carefully
and heed all precautions on the label.
Follow the same precautions as for
pesticides, page 6.

Materials To Use

Materials used as repellents fall
into two general categories: general-
use repellents, which may be applied
to both skin and clothing; and repel-
lents that may be applied to clothing
General-use repellents contain at
least one of the following active
ingredients: deet, ethyl hexanediol,

21nsect Attractants &L Biological Research
Laboratory, Gainesville, Fla. 32604

dimethyl phthalate, dimnethyl carbate,
or Indalone. They are available under
various brand names, and the ingre-
dients are listed on th~e label. When
deet is an ingredient, it is sometimes
listed under its chemical name, N,N-
di ethyl-m-toluamid e.
You can purchase full-strength
ethyl hexanediol and dimnethyl
phthalate, and a 50-percent solution
of deet in alcohol from your local
druggist or supermarket. Indalone is
not widely available.
These repellents are also available
in lower concentrations in liquid
form, in pressurized cans and ordi-
nary bottles. Some may be purchased
as foams in pressurized cans. If you
choose a liquid in a pressurized can,
the repellent will be easier to apply if
the container gives a coarse spray
rather than a fine spray.
Deet is the best repellent to use for
protection against most insects. It is
very effective for most people. H~ow-
ever, the effectiveness of any repellent
varies from person to person. Deet
repels more kinds of biting insects,
ticks, and mites than other repellents.

The general-use repellents lose
their effectiveness when the surface to
which they are applied becomes wet
or is washed.
Although general-use repellents are
safe to use on your skin, as directed,



J. A. Fluno' and D. E. Weidhaas,2 ARS entomologists

you should never take them inter-
Benzyl benzoate may be applied to
your clothing only, to control some
kinds of insects. It is generally avail-
able from local druggists. Never
apply benzyl benzoate to your skin.
Repellents dissolve or stain somne
kinds of paints and plastics---for
example, plastic lenses of glasses, fin-
gernail polish, synthetic hairpieces,
painted or varnished surfaces (such as
an automobile body), and some kinds
of rayon fabric. Plastic fountain pens
and plastic watch crystals are particu-
larly subject to damage. Of the gen-
eral-use repellents, dimethyl
phthalate is usually the most dam-
aging. Ethyl hexanediol and deet
cause less damage to painted surfaces
than the other repellents, and usually
cause no appreciable damage to most
Repellents will not damage nylon,
polyester, acrylic, all-cotton, or all-
wool cloth, but m~ay cause temporary

How To Apply

For mosquitoes, biting flies,
and gnats.
You can apply any of the general-
use repellents listed on page 3 for
protection against mosquitoes, biting
flies, and gnats.
Application to skin.---To protect
your skin, shake or spray a few drops
of repellent from the bottle or pres-
surizedi can onto your palms, and rub
them together. Apply the repellent
thoroughly to the backs of your
hands and to your wrists, neck, ears,
face, and other exposed skin, as if
you were washing yourself; do not
apply it close to your eyes or lips. To

help prevent the repellent from get-
ting in your eyes, do not apply too
much of it on your forehead.
Use enough repellent to make an
even filmn over your skin; the insects
will quickly find and bite untreated
Repellent is easier to apply if you
spray it directly from a pressurized
can onto your skin and clothing;
however, you are more likely to waste
the repellent, and it is apt to come in
contact with materials that are sus-
ceptible to damage.
If you get the repellent on the
mucous membranes, or on tender
skin, such as that on the eyelids, it
will cause stinging. If the repellent
gets in your eyes, it will cause severe
but temporary stinging.
Most repellents feel greasy on the
skin. Treated skin sometimes feels
warm for a few minutes after you
apply the repellent. This is normal
and only temporary.
This treatment will give protection
for 2 or more hours.
Application to clothing.--To apply
repellent to your clothing, shake or
spray about a dozen drops onto your
palms, rub your palms together, and
rub lightly on your socks, shirt, trou-
sers, or other outer clothing. Or, if
you prefer, apply a light spray to
areas of your clothing through which
the insects bite. This treatment will
give protection for several days,
unless the clothing is washed or
dipped in water.
For chiggers

To protect yourself against
chiggers, apply repellent to your
clothing and to exposed skin on your
arms and legs. The repellent does
more than keep chiggers from biting;
it kills them.

Barrier method.--The simplest way
to apply repellent for chiggers is in a
spray that contains a general-use
You can protect yourself from
chiggers by spraying the repellent on
the top of your socks, and on the
bottom of your trousers. This treat-
ment is effective only if there are no
high weeds, or if you are not sitting
or lying on the ground, or sitting on a
Otherwise, apply the repellent to
your arms and legs, if they are not
covered, and to all openings in your
clothing--those that are buttoned,
zippered, or otherwise fastened; the
cuffs and waistband of trousers or
slacks; the cuffs (or armholes) and
neckband of blouses or shirts; the
hem and waistband of skirts; the
neckline, hemn, and cuffs, sleeve hems,
or armboles of dresses; and on, your
socks or stockings, both above and
below the tops of your shoes.

For fleas

Deet is the most effective repellent
to use against fleas. Apply it to
exposed skin, as for mosquitoes (p.
4), and to your clothing by the
spraying method (p. 4). Deet remains
effective on clothing for a week or
You can also protect yourself
against fleas if you smear or spray
deet on your socks and the legs of
your trousers.

For ticks

The following repellents are the
best ones to use against ticks, in the
order of decreasing effectiveness:
Indalone, deet, dimethyl carbate, and

dimethyli phthalate. You may apply
them to your cloth~ing, as you do for
mosquitoes (p. 4). None of these
repellents provides complete protec-
tion against ticks.

You can reduce the number of
flies, mosquitoes, and gnats in the air
if you use an insecticide space spray.
Somne of these sprays come in ready-
to-use pressurized cans. Others must
be applied with a hand sprayer that
produces a fine mist.
Space sprays usually remain effec-
tive for at least 30 minutes, and, if the
insects are not migrating, effec-
tiveness may last as long as several
Space sprays are clearly labeled for
use against flying insects. Follow the
directions and heed all precautions
on the labels.
To use a space spray inside a tent,
automobile, or trailer, spray for only
a few seconds.
To treat a small outdoor area, such
as a small yard or picnic spot, apply
the spray upwind of the site. As you
apply it, walk slowly across the
upwind side of the area you wish to
treat. If you use a pressurized canI,
hold it upright and as close to the
ground as possible; if you use a hand
sprayer, hold it about 3 feet above
the ground. Cover food, drinking
water, and cooking and eating uten-
sils before you apply a spray, to pre-
vent them from becoming con-
tamrinated. Do not apply a space
spray directly onto trees, shrubs, and
other desirable plants; sprays contain
oil, which can damage the plants.
Never apply insecticide to your skin
or clothing.

equals 2 pounds of a 50 percent for-
The user is cautioned to read and
follow all directions and precautions
given on the label of the pesticide for-
mulation being used.
Federal and State regulations
require registration numbers. Use
only pesticides that carry one of these
registration, numbers.
USDA publications that contain
suggestions for the use of pesticides
are normally revised at 2-year mnter-
vals. If your copy is more than 2
years old, contact your Cooperative
Extension Service to determine the
latest pesticide recommendations.
The pesticides mentioned in this pub-
lication were federally registered for
the use indicated as of the issue of
this publication. The user is cau-
tioned to determine the directions on
the label or labeling prior to use of
the pesticide.

Do not overlook mechanical
methods of protecting yourself from
insects. When you are camping, make
sure all of the windows in your tent
are screened. Use a bed net if you are
sleeping in the open. To keep scor-
pions or spiders out of your tent,
make sure the floor is tightly fastened
to the sides.
Where ticks are a problem, wear
slacks or long trousers and tuck them
into the tops of your socks or boots.
To keep insects from landing on
food, cover open food dishes with a
small fine-mesh net.
Practice sanitation. A clean camp-
site or picnic area is less likely to
attract most kinds of insects than a
littered area.


This publication is intended for
nationwide distribution. Pesticides
are registered by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) for
countrywide use unless otherwise
indicated on the label-
The use of pesticides is governed
by the provisions of the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and Roden-
ticide Act, as amended. This act is
administered by EPA. According to
the provisions of the act, "It shall be
unlawful for any person to use any
registered pesticide in a manner
inconsistent with its labeling." (Sec-
tion 12 (a) (2) (G))
EPA has interpreted this Section of
the Act to require that the intended
use of the pesticide must be on the
label of the pesticide being used or
covered by a Pesticide Enforcement
Policy Statem~ent (PEPS) issued by
The optimum use of pesticides,
both as to rate and frequency, may
vary in different sections of the
country. Users of this publication
may also wish to consult their Coop-
erative Extension Service, State Agri-
cultural Experiment Stations, or
County Extension Agents for infor-
mation applicable to their localities.
The pesticides mentioned in this
publication are available in several
different formulations that contain
varying amounts of active ingredient.
Because of this difference, the rates
given in this publication refer to the
amount of active ingredient, unless
otherwise indicated. Users are
reminded to convert the rate in the
publication to the strength of the pes-
ticide actually being used. For
example, I pound of active ingredient

Before you pitch a tent, clear the
area of dead leaves, twigs, and loose
stones. If possible, do not camp near
rockpiles or fallen trees; scorpions
and spiders often hide in such places.
In areas where scorp ions are a
problem, look for them inside your
shoes, before you put your shoes on
each, morning.
There is little you can do to get rid
of yellow jackets that come around
when you are picnicking--except
move to another area. On your own
property, you may spray their nests
with insecticide, but on public or pri-
vate park land this should be done
only by a ranger or other responsible

If you are bitten .
If you are in an area where there
are many insects, you are likely to
receive a few bites, even if you pro-
tect yourself with insect repellent or a
space spray. If you are bitten, do not
scratch the bites; this can break the
skin and invite infection.
After you have been in an area
infested by chiggers, take a hot,
soapy bath as soon as possible. If you
can do this within an hour, you can
kill most of the chiggers before they
attach themselves to your skin.
Sunburn relief products and other
local anesthetics that contain benzo-
caine (ethyl aminobenzoate) can help
alleviate itching and mild pain. They
are available in drug stores as oint-
ments and pressurized sprays. It is a
good idea to include one in a first aid
kit for camping and other outdoor
Although most insect bites are
annoying, cause itching, or are mod-

erately painful, some can cause
serious illness and severe allergic
reactions in certain sensitive people.
If you feel dizzy, nauseated, or
feverish after having been bitten by
an insect, or if intense pain lasts more
than a few seconds, get medical atten-
tion as soon as possible. Consult your
doctor if you have ever experienced
an allergic reaction following an
insect bite.

You will find detailed information
on control of some of the insect pests
discussed in this bulletin in the fol-
lowing publications:
HG 84, "Controlling Mosquitoes mn
Your Home and on Your Premises";
HG 121, "Controlling Fleas";
HG 122, "Controlling Wasps";
HG 137, "Controlling Chiggers".
To obtain single free copies, send
your request on a postcard to: Office
of Communication, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
20250. Please include your ZIP code
number in your return address.
Some of the repellents mentioned
in this bulletin may not be available
in your local stores. If you cannot
find a repellent locally, the Agricul-
tural Research Service, Beltsville,
Md. 20705, can give you a list of
national suppliers. When you send
your request, be sure to include your
ZIP code number in your return
add res s.
Mention of a proprietary product
in this publication is not a guarantee
or warranty of the product by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and



does not imply its approval by the
Department to the exclusion of other
products that may also be suitable.
Department publications contain




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public information. They are not
copyrighted and can be reproduced in
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