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Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby richlong8 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:22 pm

Thanks for all the great responses. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge out there. Tephite Tom, I always thought I might want to go to Alaska- you have convinced me to stick with looking at photographs!
The 2010 Skeeter Update posts have a lot of interesting info. Some of what I gleaned:

consider applying permethrin on your clothes

consider a suncap(Dorfman Pacific) for protection for hiking- more problems in camp at dusk or dawn for most of us

thermocell sounds ok, but backpackers always want to know, is it worth carrying the extra weight?

Rowell, Ranger Lakes, Beville area unusually bad for mosquitoes

100% Deet used by most, Ultrathon -34% Deet maybe an option, but I am not sure what you gain

reinforces my ideas- if you can get to your major destinations when there is still a little snow left, or in the first week after the melt, you will probably be ok, late August-October usually are great months to travel mosquito free(in most places)

Don't go to the north slope!


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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:22 pm

30% Off! was just as effective for me as 100% and was less likely to melt my gear. Which it will do.

I have a headnet and can eat with it on. Hat with a broad brim helps... long sleeves, long pants, permethrin, and a fully bugnetted hammock.
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby rrivera » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:09 pm

I would highly recommend permethrin...most of my backpacking clothes are treated with it at this point..and I am a big fan of DEET....as much as I tried not to be. As with all things there is a trade off...I like most people try to do my big trips mid Aug to mid Sept to avoid the buggers. However I have done a lot of stuff mid-June to mid-July and frequently get great locations to myself which I think is in part due to heavy snow and sqeets. I am just glad to be out though and will deal with the buggers if I have to.
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby fishmonger » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:54 pm

rrivera wrote:I would highly recommend permethrin...most of my backpacking clothes are treated with it at this point.

I've used that stuff over the last four years, Sawyer's soak and spray type, even the military grade concentration (scored a pack on ebay). Somehow, though, Sierra mosquitoes don't care much. The first day out with permethrin, I vividly recall a mosquito landing on my hat that was soak-treated just a few days earlier, and it just sat there for minutes walking along the brim, then took off. It may kill ticks on contact, but I have not seen much effect on the Sierra skeeters. DEET is absolutely necessary when they come in thick and strong, other places you may not see them at all. Permethrin may help a little, but it doesn't repel them - it may just stop them from carrying out their stinging business once they do land on your clothing. Still, I haven't seen a dramatic enough effect to know if that stuff does anything at all. I'll still put it on - just in case...
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby sirlight » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:43 pm

I have noticed a similar thing with the permethrin. The mosquitoes land on my clothes, take a poke at them and back off. The instructions say it should kill them. Looks to me like they are thinking "something just don't taste right here!", then they fly off. I don't care if they die or fly away, just don't bite me!

I usually treat my clothes if I am going out early season, but not later in the year.
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby gary c. » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:31 pm

I've had some pretty good results useing permethrin. Last summer a group of six of us spent a week together and three of us had treated cloths and two did not. For those of us that had treated our cloths the skeeters would hover around our cloths or only land momentarily while the untreated cloths were landed on and bit through. Not 100% of course but standing side by side it was obvious that the permethrin helped. I will admit that as far as my own aplication goes I had applyed the stuff much heavier than the instructions called for.
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby genreviam » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:32 pm

2009 Rae Lakes loop trip July 13-18. Mosquitoes were so bad it really detracted from our trip and we cut it by 2 days. My kids were using 100% deet. I was using Ultrathon, with long sleeves, long pants and Permethrin treated clothes. My kids were eaten alive, and although the little buggers were harassing me constantly, I didn't get a single bite. Once the kids started to use my Ultrathon, they stopped getting bitten as well. I am now an Ultrathon fan!
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby maverick » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:57 pm

Hi Genreviam

Welcome to HST!
I too use Ultrathon sparingly, and use the same set up as you do clothing wise, except
I have a bandanna under my baseball camp that is also treated.
Sometimes I carry a head net, and I have my 3 oz windbreaker which I wear when
the Permethrin doesn't seem to keep them off of me.
My pants are a convertible REI type which they cannot penetrate through, and I have
thin gloves which are also treated when needed, and this way I can avoid having to deet
up most of the time.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:22 pm

Chalk up another thing I've learned on this forum. I try to use DEET sparingly as well, but when the bugs are bad I lather it on. I never thought to pre-treat my clothes. I will definitely try that this summer.

I'll say this for the experience of being eaten alive by clouds of Sierra mousquitos: it makes the few that show up at almost any backyard summer BBQ inconsequential. I'll see people swatting one on their arm and say, "skeeters are getting bad" and think to myself, "You don't know how bad it can get."
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Re: Mosquitoes in the High Sierra

Postby Cross Country » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:01 pm

The key is to always come fully prepared and AlmostThere put it concisely and succinctly. It also matters when you go and where you camp. It also helps to be lucky hereditarily. I nether swell nor itch, nor do my 2 sons. There Mother did a lot.
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