Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Say "Buzz Off" to Bugs

If you're going somewhere with lots of bugs, it's good to take an extra weapon or two.

For me it all started with a Buzz Off hat I picked up before a trip to Africa. Then I got a long-sleeve shirt and a short-sleeve shirt. I never used them alone - always in combination with DEET - but I can't remember getting a single bug bite while I was geared up with the Buzz Off clothes, so I believe they deliver.

How's it work? The fabric is impregnated with Permethrin, "a man-made form of a natural insect repellent found in the Chrysanthemum plant." There's apparently some kind of nanotech process at work here, because you can wash the items 25 times before they lose their power. (No dry cleaning though--that'll kill it.)

When I was heading off to Guatemala and the jungle around Tikal in June, I wanted to make sure my daughter was protected, so we set her up with a whole Buzz Off outfit for kids. (Pictured here.) She loved the clothes and was amused to watch an ant continually crawl toward her pants, turn around when he got close to the fabric, and keep repeating the process. This way we didn't have to cover much exposed skin to bug spray but she came away from the jungle bite-free.

These items aren't cheap, but they're well-made and I imagine they will easily hold up to the 25 washings. There's no odor we humanoids can smell and the fabric feels just like any other fabric that's not treated. Besides mosquitoes, the clothes are also good at keeping away pesky ticks and ants. You can find the best selection at the ExOfficio BUZZ OFF Clothing site, but you can also find some good sale deals no the items now and then at Sierra Trading Post.

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