The Effectiveness And Safety Of Spatial Repellents
Metofluthrin and allethrin, the active chemicals in our picks, are both pyrethroids, based on a compound found in the chrysanthemum flower. While we understand the hesitancy of sitting in a cloud of bug repellent, numerous studies have demonstrated these chemicals effectiveness at repelling mosquitoes when used in a spatial repellent. Both metofluthrin and allethrin have undergone thorough vetting by the EPA and other regulatory agencies around the world and are deemed safe for this intended use.
First well discuss the effectiveness:
The E90, EX90, LIV, and Tiki lights use metofluthrin, which the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found to be highly effective at repelling mosquitoes. In the Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Urban Pests , researchers write: Results demonstrate that metofluthrin treated emanators are effective at repelling mosquitoes under outdoor conditions.
Now for the safety:
Both chemicals, in their pure form at high, regularly administered doses, have shown toxicity to lab animals. But spatial repellents like our picks use a diluted version that then vaporizes into the air in an outdoor setting. Joe Conlon, writing about repellents and pesticides on the AMCA website, notes, The dosages at which these products are legally dispensed are at least 100-fold less than the point at which public health and environmental safety merit consideration.
Why You Should Trust Us
While researching this guide, we spoke with Joe Conlon, then the technical adviser of the American Mosquito Control Association, a position he held from 2000 to 2020. Conlons experience with mosquitoes is wide ranging and has spanned nearly four decades. Since 1981 he has been a medical entomologist, and in that time he has presented more than 350 invited papers on vector control to various universities, medical and public-health associations, and national, regional, and state mosquito-control groups. In addition, he has conducted vector-control operations or on-site consultations in 34 countries. He has published at least 20 articles on vector control in refereed journals and more than 70 articles in trade publications.
For questions on repellent safety and the EPAs pesticide approval process, we spoke with Lawrence Feller, a consultant who assists companies with the development and approval of EPA-regulated products. Feller is also a contributor to the Insect Repellents Handbook. He spoke with us on behalf of Thermacell, one of his clients.
Additionally, we spoke with Sonja Swiger, associate professor and Extension specialist at Texas A& Ms Entomology Department, to get her thoughts on repelling mosquitoes. Swigers area of expertise is with nuisance insects and their effects on humans and cattle. She also develops educational programs for various municipalities on mosquito control, among other work.
The Setup On The Thermacell Is Very Easy If You Follow The Simple Directions Included
The butane fuel source at the bottom of the device easily screws in, and the blue repellent mat slides in at the top. You can purchase more of the mosquito repellent scent-free replacements and fuel cartridges separately when the initial few that come with the unit run out.
Thermacell is perfect for mosquito protection on patios, decks, pools, porches, camping, and is an easy way to stay outside and enjoy yourself while avoiding the itchy mosquito bites that can happen, especially during the summer months!
Mosquito bites are the WORST, arent they?!
The Thermacell mosquito repeller can be such a lifesaver if you or your kids welt up with big skin reactions to mosquitos! My daughters bites have also always been so bad and painful/itchy. Above is a photo of what one softball practice without any protection can do!
I try to be proactive and prepared by wearing mosquito repellent when we are active outdoors and the Thermacell is another smart way to protect your family from mosquitos while sitting outside.
Hip Tip: If youre looking for a great natural, organic mosquito and bug repellent for skin, check out our helpful review of No-Bite-Me cream! I purchased it myself to try after Saras recommendation, and I agree that it works great.
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Compared To Deet And Other Repellents
Of course, Thermacell claims that Thermacell products are the best. Lets see if that stacks up with what has been published in the literature
One study did indeed find that Thermacell products were at least as good as Off! Clip-on products on their ability to kill and repel ticks. The Off! Clip-on products worked well at a short-range, but the Thermacell products were able to induce mortality at a much longer range. This is likely due to the heating method they use to disperse the repellent, which spread the insecticide over a much bigger area.
However, there are no specific studies on Thermacell compared directly to other repellents on mosquitoes. So, in areas heavily populated with mosquitoes, you may want to go with multiple forms of protection.
In fact, experts recommend that people layer different repellents for the best protection. In their own words:
he most effective uses of insect repellents are to layer a topically applied repellent, such as DEET or picaridin, on the skin, with permethrin or other synthetic pyrethroid-impregnated clothing that act as contact insecticides and provide better and longer-lasting protection against mosquitoes and ticks.
Best Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Reviewed
Thermacell offers a variety of different products, which all repel mosquitoes and other insects to some extent. Our top pick is the original Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller.
Thermacell was originally conceived for use on camping trips and around the campsite. Therefore the first and still most popular model is the portable one.
Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repellent provides hours of protection from mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and no-see-ums. Its a scent-free insect repellent device that can be clipped to your belt when youre sitting around the campsite, fishing, or enjoying nature.
Due to this products portable nature, it can be used in any situation. Rather than buy a separate Thermacell patio shield to keep skeeters and other bugs away, you can simply use the MR150 while youre enjoying a quiet evening on the patio.
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In My Opinion Mosquito
If youre a mosquito magnet like me, then definitely consider the Thermacell mosquito repellent shield as an option for added protection outdoors thats easy to use! I find it to be super helpful at reducing mosquitos on the patio and think you will as well. Let us know in the comments if you have tried the Thermacell mosquito repellent!
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
The biggest downside to the Thermacell E90 is that it loses its effectiveness in any sort of wind. However, all similar spatial repellents have this flaw, and mosquitoes struggle similarly in the wind. The E90s performance in our anecdotal tests was not perfect, as our sources predicted. We found that even after 25 to 30 minutes of the E90 being active, an occasional mosquito would land on us and take a bite. The conditions then were mostly still, though a slight breeze did pass through from time to time. Whether the occasional mosquito bites were the result of the winds interference or just the general limitations of the E90, it proved Joe Conlons point that there is no silver bullet when it comes to controlling mosquitoes.
The E90 is designed for mosquitoes, so you may not see a huge reduction in other flying pests. Thermacell told us that more-robust bugs, such as horseflies, can be affected by its spatial repellents. But because theyre less susceptible to the small amount of chemical repellent in the air, they may be able to fly into the protected area and take a bite before absorbing enough to be prompted to go away. Though this can be seen as a negative, it also indicates how little repellent is released into the air, which may comfort those who are wary of spatial repellents for health reasons.
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Also Great: Tiki Bitefighter Led String Lights
We also wish there were more to indicate the diffusers are on. The light at the toggle switch is nice. However, because it is often placed off to the side , it was easy for us to forget the diffuser was on, and we realized hours later that we needed to shut it off. But even with these faults, the BiteFighter Lights are an interesting option for those who also want to spice up the vibe of their porch or patio.
Using The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Device In The Garden
Youre not always sitting in one place, so how do you get protection while youre moving about, such as when youre working in the garden? One of the accessories thats available as an additional purchase is a special holster to carry the appliance. It has pockets in which to carry extra repellent mats or cartridges and a clip on the back to attach it to a belt or tool bag.
The appliance is a little bulky so I clip it to the back of my pants while gardening at dusk. As long as I stay within roughly a 225 square foot area, the device provides enough protection to keep mosquitoes away. But when I move quickly from one side of the garden to the other, it takes a while for the repellent vapors to catch up with me.
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What Does Thermacell Include
To use the Thermacell system, youll need a mosquito repeller and a fuel cartridge.
These are the two basic parts that make up this product, but there are lots of ways to achieve this and customize it to what youre after.
A quick look on the Thermacell Patio Shield website will show you their extensive product range, and there are so many different ways to buy and use it that might appeal to your unique setup.
Among some of their current product offerings are the following:
Important Guidelines On Thermacell Patio Shield Use
Here are some helpful tips to get your Patio Shield working effectively:
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How Does The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Work
The battery-powered device creates heat with a 12-hour fuel cartridge that warms up and activates the small mosquito repellent mat on the top. It repels without smoke, flames, or citronella, and creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitos.
The unscented repellent mats last up to 4 hours each and change color when its time to refill. There is no mess, no DEET, no spray, and no on-skin chemicals. The active ingredient is based on naturally occurring repellents found in plants.
Final Verdict On Thermacell
Spray-on repellents with DEET are still considered to be the most effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay. But a spatial repellent like the Thermacell is an excellent option when youre outside and relatively stationary, or for those times where covering yourself in bug spray isnt an option, like a backyard dinner party. Keep both options in your camping kit the spray gives you protection when youre on the move.
Where to Buy
You can get them just about anywhere. The companys products are also available on Amazon. Prices range from $15 to $50.
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How To Use Thermacell Mosquito Repellent
Thermacell is not a bug spray. This means there is no spray to worry about getting in your eyes or flames like you have with citronella candles.
There are several types of Thermacell repellers. Most are powered by fuel, but one runs on batteries.
The battery powered option is the:
- Radius Zone mosquito repellent
- Patio shield repellers
Despite their differences, these products all work in a similar way.
The lantern, patio shield, and portable repellers require two simple things: Replacement fuel cartridges and repellent mats.
In any Thermacell fuel-cartridge repeller, open the bottom and insert the cartridge.
Repellent mats are equally easy. The mats start out blue when they turn white, replace them. To do so, slide a new mat in place, under the grill, which will push the used one out.
The Thermacell Backpack Repeller works differently. For one thing, it requires a camping gas canister, which is not included, nor are they sold by Thermacell.
This video by Thermacell explains exactly how the Backpack Repeller works.
When you turn the on/off switch to the On position, youll hear the hiss of gas. Give it a few moments to build up a ball of gas inside the combustion chamber, then press the igniter button. Youll hear a soft whump sound as the gas ignites.
Thermacell Radius Vs Patio Shield Size
If you want an inconspicuous mosquito repelling device the Radius fits the bill. Being able to fit in the palm of your hand means you can place the Radius on most level surfaces out of sight and enjoy a mosquito free zone. In contrast the Patio Shield is more than twice as big and more noticeable. Once again point Radius as its effective and easy to keep out of sight.
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Can Mosquitoes Bite Through Nets
A mosquito net is designed with small holes in a piece of fabric so that the insect cant get through to the person or thing underneath it.
However, if your skin was up against the fabric and the mosquitos sharp proboscis was as well, it could penetrate through the small hole to bite you.
How It Works And How It Is Different
The device gets the same 15 feet of mosquito repellent as the butane model, but with different means. Instead of a mat that gets heated, the Radius has a reservoir of pesticide and a wick. The battery heats the wick which released the pesticide into the air to create the barrier effect.
Another difference is that the Radius actually uses a different pesticide metofluhrin. Studies have shown this chemical to be 95-97% effective at repelling mosquitoes.
A single battery charge will operate the Radius for about 6 and a half hours. In terms of replacing the repellent, Theramacell offers those in both 12 hour and 40 hour sizes.
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How Does This Mosquito Repeller Work
The repellent creates a zone of protection that stops mosquitoes before they can get close enough to bite. The efficient design of the repeller means no open flame, no recharging and no cords. The unit’s compact, lightweight size makes it blend beautifully into your outdoor space and easy to store. Scent-free and spray-free, the Thermacell Patio Shield Repeller creates an ideal mosquito-free zone so the whole family can enjoy the outdoors on a patio or deck. Evaluated by the EPA for safety and effectiveness and comes with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Turn it onmosquitoes gone!
- New and improved no-spray repellent
- DEET-free, scent-free mosquito repellent
- Without the mess of sprays, candles, or torches and without any chemical-to-skin contact
- Large area of protection
- Lightweight, portable with no open flame
- Invisible 15-ft zone of protection
- Mobile and convenient.
- 48 hours of mosquito repellent included
- Highly effective and trusted mosquito protection
- Cordless, compact and lightweight unit
- Simple and clean to use
- Keeps mosquitoes away without spray
- Creates a powerful invisible barrier against mosquitoes
- All Thermacell products come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Thermacell Patio Shield Review: Halo Mosquito Repeller
The Thermacell Halo is a more advanced version of the Patio Shield Repeller. It sports a ZoneCheck indicator running at the middle circumference of the cylinder. The ZoneCheck lights up and signifies that the product is working. It eliminates the guesswork of whether or not the device is in operation.
Theres no need for you to check on the yellow glow by the hole in the grill. The ZoneCheck needs four additional AA batteries to power up. You can purchase these batteries separately.
The ZoneCheck makes the device slightly different from the other units, but it has nothing to do with the repeller mats action. If your battery dies, you still have protection from the shield. With 48 hours of mosquito-protection, you may want to have this sitting on your patio for a long time. The design is also sleek, and you can choose from either a black or white selection.
Why We Like It this Product
- Plastic body
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What Is The Thermacell Mosquito Repellant Appliance
The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance comes with a butane cartridge and three repellent mats
Appliance is a strange name but its hard to come up with something better. Its a device that emits a repellant that keeps mosquitoes and black flies away. Theres no need to spray yourself and theres hardly any odor. And yes, it works.
The original Thermacell mosquito repellent device was the 8 by 3 item shown in the photo at right.
Since then, the company has introduced a wide variety of device styles, from portable ones similar to the original, to lanterns and torches, and unobtrusive appliances that are meant to stay outside on your balcony, patio or deck . Theres even a backpacker model that attaches to a camp fuel canister!
And the company continues to innovate. The Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller, Gen 2.0, lasts 40 hours on one refill, uses a rechargeable Li-ion battery that recharges in 5 hours and even has a shut-off timer .