Mosquitoes are a major nuisance for us during the Summer months. In the “Golden Corner” of Upstate, SC, we are surrounded by lakes, rivers, and creeks, so mosquito breeding grounds are plentiful. I live in a really beautiful rural area on an old family farm with acres of pasture, woods, and a creek running through the property. When the mosquitoes come out to play, they often become so unbearable they chase us back indoors in the evenings.
We work hard to keep the little pests from ruining our fun. On a typical Summer evening you will usually find us surrounded by citronella candles and tiki torches, doused in bug spray containing DEET, and more than likely hiding out in our screened tent. I loathe the smell of citronella, and I find the candles aren’t really that effective. When it comes to bug spray, I hate using chemicals on our skin, especially my little ones, but we suffer through it all because we know we have to protect ourselves from mosquito borne illnesses like West Nile, Encephalitis, and Zika Virus.
Is there a better option than DEET?
Summer isn’t officially here, but it sure has felt like the dog days of Summer in the South this week. Gorgeous sunny days in the upper 90s and clear warm nights have kept us outdoors. We spent the weekend at a local campground enjoying the weather and the lake. Our days were filled with swimming, and our nights were spent sitting near the campfire. It was the typical camping trip with one exception.
I left the DEET laden spray at home. Mosquitoes were everywhere, but I walked away without a single bite!
During our camping trip we had the opportunity to test out the Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Protection Torch, a combo torch and lantern that repels mosquitoes with no smell, and no need to rub chemicals on your skin.
I admit I was really skeptical when the Thermacell arrived. I have tried similar products in the past, and I have been highly disappointed. They either didn’t work at all, the protection area was too small, or the products were just too expensive in the long term.
But, the Thermacell has been evaluated by the EPA for both safety and effectiveness, so it has me intrigued. The company claims their products are 96% effective, 8x more effective than citronella and they provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Thermacell products have even been used by the U.S. Army in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. If these products are good enough for the guys protecting us, I definitely had to give them a try.
How does the Thermacell repel mosquitoes?
The lantern operates by using a butane cartridge to heat a repellent mat. The heated mat released allethrin in the air to repell mosquitoes in a 15’x15′ protection zone. There is no odor and no open flame making it safe to have around children. It can be staked in the ground on a pole that extends up to 5′ high or placed on a table for protection during outdoor meals and such. The mats last approximately 3 hours each before needing to be replaced.
Does Thermacell really repel mosquitoes and biting bugs?
Yes, it worked wonders! I originally staked the Patio Shield near our picnic table while my sister and I prepared dinner. We could literally see mosquitoes buzzing around in the air, but they were NOT entering the protection zone. However, my husband and brother-in-law were sitting just outside the protection zone under a canopy with a citronella candle between them and tiki torches staked around. Both were constantly swatting mosquitoes!
During dinner time I removed the Patio Shield from the stake, added the included base, and placed it in the center of the picnic table. We ate dinner at dusk, so the Patio Shield worked as mosquito protection as well as a table lantern while we ate. A favorite feature of mine is the separate switches for the lantern and repellent. If bugs aren’t an issue, the lantern can be used on it’s own without burning the repellent mat and wasting product. We even used the lantern in the tent a few times to provide light in the dark.
After dinner we put the kids to bed and the adults gathered under the canopy to unwind. My sister lit her citronella candles and tiki torches, and yet again they weren’t doing the job. My husband moved the Patio Shield Lantern stake under the canopy, and after quickly popping the base off the bottom we had it back on the stake. Within a few minutes the mosquitoes were gone, and we spent the rest of the evening free of biting bugs.
Overall, we were all really impressed with the Thermacell Patio Shield, and it has quickly become my bug spray replacement. After our weekend of camping I used it again the last two nights to keep bugs away on the patio while grilling and enjoying the pool.
I’m going to purchase a couple more units to stake around the deck to protect the entire pool area and provide ambient light. The Thermacell products really are great at protecting the family without all those chemicals on our skin!
Is it expensive to use?
I have researched prices at many different retailers, and I’m finding an average price around $30 for the Patio Shield. I was certain the refill kits would be extremely expensive, but surprisingly they are reasonably priced. I picked up a refill kit containing 3 repellent mats and 1 butane cartridge (12 hours of protection) at Walmart for $6.23.
The Thermacell products are available at retailers nationwide and online via Amazon. If you’re looking for a DEET free way to protect your family from biting bugs, I highly recommend adding a Thermacell to your patio or camping gear. You won’t be disappointed!
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