By Pete Rogers
For over twenty years during the early season of our deer season, I would hunt for deer coated in Deet. Scent control was out of the question. In order to stay in the woods during the dog days of August and September when our archery season opens, you have to deal with the hordes of mosquitoes. And when I say, hordes, I mean hordes. Mosquitoes in South Carolina are legion and their blood thirsty assault make hunting prior to late October almost unbearable.
The buzzing in your ears, eyes and the constant biting by the hundreds make it nearly impossible to be successful hunting. Although our season is open early, many hunters would simply wait until it was cold enough to rid the woods of mosquitoes before venturing into the woods.
Hunters needed an alternative to solve the problem of the hordes of mosquitoes. Along came ThermaCell. This simple appliance in my opinion and the opinion of many others has revolutionized hunting as much as the metallic cartridge.
I have to admit, in my line of work as an outdoor writer, I see a lot of gadgets that are designed more to sell a gadget than to actually work. Many have come and go, making a pile of money in a few years for the inventor. Then they are gone, and they never really change anything. ThermaCell is different. When I first saw it I was admittedly skeptical. I did not understand how this odd looking device could actually repel mosquitoes. I was so wrong.
ThermaCell mosquito appliances not only make hunting during the early season possible, it actually makes it enjoyable. The mosquito appliance uses a small butane fuel canister to ignite a burner that in turn heats a small metal grill. ThermaCell describes their methodology like this: “Thermacell repellent devices are powered by a butane cartridge. Butane provides the cordless, portable heat that activates the devices. The heat generated by the butane cartridge is directed to a metal grill. A small mat saturated with repellent is inserted on top of the metal grill. Heat disperses the repellent from the mat into the air, creating the zone of protection.”
One of the interesting elements of the appliance is that it uses a synthetic version of a natural repellent. “This repellent, allethrin, is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.” This process provides a 15’x15’ zone of protection. It reminds me of the old Force Field from Star Trek. A zone of protection that mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-um will not penetrate.
I remember vividly while hunting along the Wateree river swamp, the place where three different varieties of mosquitoes thrive. As I exited the truck, hundreds of mosquitoes began alighting on me. I jumped back into the truck only to find the roof of the truck literally covered with hundreds of mosquitoes. I lit my ThermaCell appliance and waited for it to heat up. Then I exited the truck again and walked into the woods. As the sun rose and it was bright enough to see, I could hear the droning sound of millions of mosquitoes in the swamp. But none were bothering me. Upon further inspection, I noticed some of the hordes of mosquitoes outside the fifteen foot barrier wanting desperately to get in, but they could not penetrate the zone of protection.
That day made me a full believer. I have never hunted during mosquito season without my ThermaCell. Not once.
Since the introduction of the original appliance. ThermaCell has expanded its offerings. Today there are two portable appliances, five lanterns, two torches, and one backpacker. I have to admit, I own a dozen or more of these appliances of one kind or another. I never go outside without my ThermaCell.
At the 2017 SHOT show, ThermaCell introduced their newest portable device called the Backpacker. This little device is a barn burner! At just slightly over 4 ounces, this backpacker unit is capable of attaching directly to the same canister many backpackers use for their cook stoves. The four, six or eight ounce butane canister attaches directly to the bottom of the unit and will burn for up to ninety hours on a four ounce canister! Now, campers and backpackers can have a mosquito free zone all night long with this one unit. Here again, ThermaCell is changing the game. Making the outdoors enjoyable again for so many people.
The SHOT show also introduced a fully redesigned mosquito appliance. With its redesigned grill, one hand operation and build in belt clip, the new model has many excellent features. I am curious why they put a bright blue indicator light on the top of the appliance. They describe it as an easier way to see if it is working. But personally, it is too bright. A little electrical or duct tape will cover it.
This year (2017) also saw ThermaCell enter the world of tick control. Of all the animals I come in contact with in the outdoors, ticks cause me the most concern. These little things are hard to see at times, and difficult to remove. The diseases they carry can be very debilitating. ThermaCell’s new Tick Control Tubes offers a solution.
Thermacell Tick Control Tubes are the no-spray, easy-to-apply way to kill ticks in your yard.
These tubes offer a unique method of removing ticks from your yard. Placing the tubes around your yard in likely places. Mice will be attracted to the tubes, who will enter the tube, and remove the contents to line their nests. The contents are coated with materials that will kill the ticks of the mice and thereby the ticks from your yard are also killed. Mice are the number one host of small ticks. Using the mice to transfer the material to the ticks is ingenious and effective.
ThermaCell products have changed the way people enjoy the outdoors. From the removal of citronella candles, to no more “soaping down with “bug dope.” ThermaCell has eliminated the need for chemical applications to our bodies.
Ralph Cianciarulo of the television shows Archers Choice and The Choice on the Outdoor Channel says: “Without question ThermaCell has changed how we hunt.” Cianciarulo continues: “From hunting turkeys in Florida to bears in Alberta, we never go anywhere without our ThermaCell.” He is not alone. Hunters and anglers all across the world are convinced that hunting is more enjoyable and better because of ThermaCell. It is the one thing I will turn around and go back and get. If I leave home without toilet paper I can make do – but my ThermaCell is something I cannot leave home without.