Be safe from insects in recreation areas


Material Information

Be safe from insects in recreation areas
Series Title:
Home and garden bulletin ; no. 200
Physical Description:
8 p. : ; 24 cm.
Fluno, J A
Weidhaas, D E ( joint author )
United States -- Science and Education Administration
Dept. of Agriculture, Science and Education Adminstration :
for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978
Place of Publication:
[Rev. May 1977, slightly rev. Aug. 1978]


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 ; prepared by Science and Education Administration.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001192575
oclc - 04284915
notis - AFU2801
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text

Be Safe from
Insects in

Recreation Areas

M 5. nEi








For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402
Stock No. 001-000-03802-8

Repellents ..................................................... 3
Materials to use.....,.......... .....,...... ....................... 3
H-~ow to apply ................................................. 4
Space sprays...... ................................................. 5
Ulse of pesticides ................................................ 6
Other methods ................................................. 6
For more information ........................................... 7

On January 24, 1978, four USDA agencies-Agricultural Research
Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research. Service (CSRS), Extension
Service (ES), and the N\ational Agricultural Library (NAL)--merged to
become a new organization, the Science and Education Administration
(SEA), U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This publication was prepared by the Science and Elducation Admin-
istration's F'ederal Research staff, which was formerly the Agricultural
Research Service.

Washington, D.C.

Revised 1May 1977
Slightly revised August 1978


Insect pests can spoil a hike, pic-
nic, camping trip, or other outdoor
activity--unless you take meas-
ures 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 annoy-


Repellents are effective in vary-
ing degrees against mosquitoes,
biting flies, gnats, chiggers, fleas,
and ticks. They are not effective
against wasps, spiders, and scorpi-
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

Materials To Use

Materials used as repellents fall
into two general categories: gen-
eral-use repellents, which may be
applied to both skin and clothing;
and repellents that may be applied
to clothing only.

2IRSOcts Affecting Man and Animals Re-
search Laboratory, Gainesville, ]Fla. 32604.

General-use repellents contain
at least one of thne following active
ingredients: deet, ethyl hexanedio1,
dimethyl phthalate, dimnethyl
carbate, or Indalone. They are
available under various brand
names, and the ingredients are
listed on, the label. When deet is an
ingredient, it is sometimes listed
under its chemical name, N,N-
diethyl-rn-tol uamide.
Y~ou can purchase full-strength
ethyl hexanediol and dimethyl
phthalate, and a 50-percent solu-
tion of deet in alcohol from your
local druggist or supermarket.
Indalone is not widely available.
These repellents are also availa-
ble in lower concentrations in liq-
uid form, in pressurized cans and
ordinary bottles. Some may be pur-
chased 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.
D~eet is the best repellent to use
for protection against most insects.
It is very effective for most people,
However, the effectiveness of any
repellent varies from person to
person. Deet repels more kinds of
biting insects, ticks, and mites
than other repellents.


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

The general-use repellents lose
their effectiveness when the sur-
face to which they are applied be-
comes wet or is washed.
Although general-use repellents
are safe to use on your skin, as
directed, you should never take
them internally.
Benzyl benzoate may be applied
to your clothing only, to control
some kinds of insects. It is gen-
erally available from local drug-
gists. Never apply benzyl benzoate
to your skin.
Repellents dissolve or stain some
kinds of paints and plastics--for
example, plastic lenses of glasses,
fingernail 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
general-use repellents, dimlethyl
phthalate is usually the most dam-
aging. Ethyl hexanediol and deet
cause less damage to painted sur-
faces than the other repellents,
and usually cause no appreciable
damage to most plastics.
Repellents will not damage
nylon, polyester, acrylic, all-cotton,
or all-wool cloth, but may cause
temporary stains.

How To Apply

For mosquitoes, biting flies,
and gnats.
'You can apply anly of the gen-
eral-use repellents listed on page 3
for protection against mosquitoes,
biting flies, and gnats.
Application to skin.-T'Io protect
your skin, shake or spray a few
drops of repellent from the bottle
or pressurized can onto your

palms, and rub them together. Ap-
ply the repellent thoroughly to the
backs of your hands and to your
wrists, neck, ears, face, and other
exposed skin, as if you were wvash-
ing yourself; do not apply it close
to your eyes or lips. To help pre-
vent the repellent froml getting in
your eyes, do not apply too much of
it on your forehead.
Use enough repellent to make
an even film over your skin; the
insects will quickly find and bite
untreated spots.
Repellent is easier to apply if
you spray it directly from a pres-
surized can onto your skin and
clothing; however, you are more
likely to waste thie repellent, and it
is apt to come in, contact with
materials that are susceptible to
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 protec-
tion for 2 or more hours.
Application to clothing.-To ap-
ply 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, trousers, 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

Th]e following repellents are the
best ones to use against ticks, in
the order of decreasing effective-
ness: Indalone, deet, dimethyl
carbate, and dimnethyl phthalate.
You may apply them. to your cloth-
ing, as you do for mosquitoes (p. 4).
None of these repellents provides
complete protection against ticks.


You can reduce the number of
flies, mosquitoes, and gnats in the
air if you use an imsecticide space
spray. Some of these sprays come
in ready-to-use pressurized cans.
Others must be applied with a hand
sprayer that produces a fine m~ist.
Space sprays usually remain
effective for at least 30 minutes,
and, if the insects are not migrat-
ing, effectiveness may last as long
as several hours.
Space sprays are clearly labeled
for use against flying insects. Fol-
low the directions and heed all
precautions on the labels.
To use a space spray inside a
tent, automobile, or trailer, spray
for only a fewi 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 pressur-
ized can, 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 utensils before
you apply a spray to prevent them
from becoming contaminated. Do
not apply a space spray directly
onto trees, shrubs, and other desir-

TIo protect yourself against chig-
gers, apply repellent to your cloth-
ing and to exposed skin on your
arms and legs. The repellent does
more than keep chiggers from bit-
ing; it kills them.
Barrier method.-The simplest
way to apply repellent for chiggers
is in a spray that contains a gen-
eral-use repellent.
Y~ou 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 y~ou are not
sitting or lying on the ground, or
sitting on a log.
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 wvaistband
of trousers or slacks; the cuffs (or
armholes) and neckband of blouses
or shirts; the hem and waistband
of skirts; the neckline, hem, and
cuffs, sleeve hems, or armholes of
dresses; and on your socks or stock-
ings, both. above and below the tops
of your shoes.

For fleas

Deet is the most effective repel-
lent 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 re-
mains effective on clothing for a
week or more.
You can also protect yourself
against fleas if you smear or spray
deet on your socks and the legs of
your trousers.

For chiggers

For ticks

able plants; sprays contain oil,
which can damage the plants.
Never apply insecticide to your
skin. or clothing.


This publication is intended for
nationwide distribution. Pesticides
are registered by the ]Environmen-
tal P~rotection 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
Rodenticide Act, as am~ended. This
act is administered by EPA.
According to the provisions of the
act, "It shall be unlawful for any
person to use any registered pes-
ticide in a manner inconsistent
with its labeling." (Section
EPA has interpreted this section
of the act to require that the in-
tended use of the pesticide must be
on the label of the pesticide being
used or covered by a Pesticide
Enforemr~ent Policy Statement
(PEPS) issued by EPA.
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
Cooperative E~xtension Service,
State agricultural experiment sta-
tions, or county extension agents
for information applicable to their
The pesticides mentioned in. thnis
publication, are available in, sev-
eral different formulations that
contain varying amounts of active
ingredients. Because of this dif-
ference, the rates given in this
publication refer to the amount of
active ingredient, unless otherwise

indicated. UIsers are reminded to
convert the rate in the publication
to the strength. of the pesticide
actually being used. For example,
1 pound of active ingredient equals
2 pounds of a 50 percent formula-
The user is cautioned to read
and follow all directions and pre-
cautions given on the label of the
pesticide formulation 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 pes-
ticides are normally revised at 2-
year intervals. If your copy is more
than 2 years old, contact your Co-
operative E~xtension Service to
determine the latest pesticide rec-
ommendations. TIhe pesticides
mentioned mn this publication were
federally registered for the use in-
dicated as of the issue of this pub-
lication. The user is cautioned to
determine the directions on the
label or labeling prior to use of the

D~o not overlook mechanical
methods of protecting yourself
from insects. When you are camp-
ing, make sure all of the windows
in. your tent are screened. Use a
bed net if you are sleeping in. the
open. To keep scorpions or spiders
out of your tent, make sure the
floor is tightly fastened to thie
Where ticks are a problem, wear
slacks or long trousers and tuck
them into the tops of your socks or
T~o keep insects from landing on
food, cover open food dishes with. a
small fine-mnesh. net.

Practice san itation. A clean
campsite or picnic area is less
likely to attract most kinds of in-
sects than a littered area.
]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
scorpions are a problem, look for
them inside your shoes before you
put your shoes on each morning.
TIhere is little you can, do to get
rid of yellow jackets that come
around whien. you! are pienicking-
except move to another area. On
your own property, you may spray
their nests with insecticide, but on
public or private park land this
should be done only by a ranger or
other responsible person,

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
protect yourself with insect repel-
lent or a space spray. If you are
bitten, do not scratch the bites;
this can break the skin and invite
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 con-
tain benzocaine (ethyl amnino-
benzoate) can help alleviate itch-
ing and mild pain. They are availa-
ble in drug stores as ointments and
pressurized sprays. It is a good idea
to include one in a first aid kit for

camping and other outdoor activi-
Although most insect bites are
annoying, cause itching, or are
moderately painful, some can even
cause serious illness and severe
allergic reactions in certain. sen-
sitive people. If you feel dizzy, nau-
seated, or feverish. after having
been. bittern by an insect, or if in-
tense pain. lasts more than. a few
seconds, get medical attention. as
soon as possible. Consult your doc-
tor if you have ever experienced an.
allergic reaction following an, in-
sect bite.


'You will find detailed informna-
tion on control of some of the in-
sect pests discussed in this bulletin
mn the following publications:
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 Governmental and Public
Affairs, U.S. Department of Ag-
riculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
Please include your IZIP code num-
ber in. your return. address.
Mention of a proprietary prod-
uct in this publication is not a
guarantee or warranty of the prod-
uct by the U.S. Department of Ag-
riculture and does not imply its
approval by the Department to the
exclusion of other products that
may also be suitable.
Department publications con-
tain public information. They are
not copyrighted and m~ay be repro-
duced in whole or in. part with or
without credit.






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