Insex Control :-)
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-04-19 05:00 by Karl Denninger
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Insex Control :-)
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I keep seeing all sorts of crap on social media regarding ticks and insect-born disease (specifically, Lyme in the context of ticks) along with "recommendations" that are typically coming from extreme environmental jackasses that will not protect you whatsoever.

Of course it's not just ticks.  Mosquitoes are not just an annoyance, although in the US until recently that was all it was.  In much of the world mosquitoes carry yellow fever, dengue, malaria and more.  In the US we now have Zika (minor but real risk) but in terms of relative harm on a world-wide basis mosquito bites do a hell of a lot more harm than do ticks.

Second, contrary to popular belief ticks are not mostly propagated by deer.  Yes, they're part of the tick "circle of life" but if you want to know where the problem really comes from it's mice.

Most animals really don't like ticks on them and will try to groom or scrape them off, with varying degrees of success.  For reasons nobody I've seen explain with any degree of authority mice appear to not give a damn even when their faces are covered in the things, which means they get to exchange blood with said mouse and cross-infect one another.  Thus, where mouse populations are a problem ticks are sure to follow.

Controlling your risk when outside comes down to a few options, and IMHO there's only one that really works in a high-infestation of aggressive insect area, which I'll get to.

Worst and damn near worthless are the so-called "natural" products with eucalyptus oil and similar.  Don't waste your money.  Not only will they not keep mosquitoes off you they won't keep biting flies or ticks off either.  Mosquitoes and biting flies (along with most other flying insects that bite such as no-seeums) home in on carbon dioxide exhaled by animals and an alcohol, octenol, that is inherently in the breath of mammals. That's how they find you, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it as all mammals have it in their breath.  The so-called "odorish" repellents such as eucalyptus attempt to "poison" this homing mechanism by making you stink, basically.  While it does have some impact it's minimal.

In the category of "mostly works" is DEET-based repellents.

DEET works by targeting the actual receptors in the insect.  Is it perfect?  No, and among other things biting flies often ignore it entirely.  It's reasonably safe but you have to apply it essentially everywhere you have exposed skin and on clothing, because the bugs will bite through clothing that is not thick enough to prevent it.  There is no practical physical barrier option in warm weather because clothing thick enough to prevent a mosquito bite or a close-fitting enough to prevent a tick from getting inside is impossible to wear for any length of time in warm or hot weather.  DEET also will damage many synthetic fabrics.

In short DEET based repellents work to a material degree, they're reasonably safe, they're an option, but they're stinky, they require high-percentage coverage of skin and clothing to be effective, and some insects (specifically biting flies) will ignore repellents made with it.

None of these repellents do a thing for you once an insect finds you.  They simply reduce the probability of the insect's "homing mechanism" working.  In a place with enough of them you're still screwed; they'll reduce but not stop bites.  If a tick gets on you you will get bit even if covered in DEET.

This brings me to the only logical answer: Pyrethrum.

Pyrethrum is a pesticide derived from a naturally occuring chemical in the chrysanthemum flower.  Well over 100 years ago it was noted that a number of indigenous people of Asia and parts of Europe were using an extract from said flowers as an anti-lice treatment.  The molecule responsible was isolated and is now synthesized and available in a number of forms for various types of pest control.  It is the active ingredient in "de-lousing" shampoos for kids.  It is a primary component in flea and tick treatments for dogs and other animals, including livestock.  Of note is that it cannot be used on cats as it is highly toxic to them when in liquid form, but the dried residue is not dangerous to them -- only the liquid.

Again, I will note: The liquid will kill your cat.  It's safe once fully dry but the liquid must not be stored or used where a cat can get into it as fluffy will quickly become an ex-fluffy if it does.

What's especially noteworthy in this context, however, is that it is not a contact repellent but is instead applied to clothing and kills the insects that come in contact with it.  They also avoid contact to the extent they can; apparently they recognize the hazard.  And finally it doesn't smell; I can detect only a very faint odor although it certainly appears the insects can smell it a long way away and avoid it like the plague!

You can buy it in liquid, trigger-spray form at WalMart, BassPro and other places.  Some (online) places also sell it in concentrated form and it's a good way to save money but pay close attention to the "inert ingredients" -- some forms are intended for outside use and have a petroleum solvent in them, which is to be avoided on clothing for obvious reasons! 

Again, this stuff is not applied to skin -- it's applied to clothing before you wear it and allowed to dry first, which means you need to pre-treat your clothing at least a day or so before use.  The insect-barring treatment remains good for several washings, although it will eventually need to be reapplied.  You can also buy clothing pre-treated with it in a longer-lasting form (they infuse it under high pressure and claim it remains effective for a few dozen washings) called "Insect Shield", and if you really want to get crazy the company that does the treating will treat your clothing for you (send it to them, they treat and send it back.)

So if you want to keep things that bite off you, including ticks, try this:

1. Wear thin but long-sleeve and long-pant clothing.  Clothing exists that is made expressly for this purpose; it's typically constructed of very thin synthetics or very thin merino wool.  I've recently picked up a pair of "Rail Riders" pants which are the cat's ass in this regard in that they have zip open legs that remain protected by a mesh and are pre-treated.  Due to the zip-open nature of the bottom they're as cool as shorts on a hot day but provide more protection on cooler days.  For hiking or just general outdoor excursions they're excellent.  I used to use a technical long-sleeve running shirt for a top but have recently picked up a "technical" nylon, thin (and again, mesh under the pits and back of neck) from REI that I like a great deal.  That I treated as it didn't come already done.  Be aware that these pieces are going to be frightfully expensive, but you only need one or two pair of pants and one or two shirts.  This sort of clothing "breathes" exceptionally well and if you get it wet it will dry in minutes.

2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, again, treated.  The idea here is to protect your head which is a bitch to examine well for ticks and bites on the head suck anyway.  I have owned a "Tilley Hat" for quite some time and it's great; ventilated at the top, wide-brimmed, water-resistant (not waterproof!) and so far it has held up well through several years of use.  In an extreme biting insect situation you might consider a very thin silk bandana for your neck that you've treated as well although I've never needed it.

3. Wear long, merino-wool socks.  They're good at preventing hot-spots and blisters when hiking, are anti-microbial (read: don't stink inside of 15 minutes), will retain warmth when they get wet and dry reasonably quickly.  You can treat these if you want but I don't; the pants are good enough.

Let me note that since adopting this approach out in the woods I don't get bit at all and I've yet to find a tick on me either.

In addition to being bite-free approaching the problem this way you'll also get a free add-on -- no need for sunblock, since you already are wearing sunscreen in the form of clothing -- which (greatly) beats slathering on the goop.

And finally it's a lot more comfortable and easy to deal with than "traditional" light clothing (e.g. T-shirt and a pair of shorts); it's both warmer in the early morning (when you want it) and believe it or not, cooler in the middle of the day since you both get wicking/evaporation and protection from direct sun heating.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

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Maynard
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Tejas
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Looks like Permethrin is the synthetic name and can be found on amazon for a pretty reasonable price.
Would have been helpful when living in Costa Rica. Got Dengue and had a tick hatching in the house. Neither of which were fun.
Flappingeagle
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I spent two weeks out in the bush hunting in Tanzania about 10 years ago and I did a lot of what you are suggesting. I bought the liquid Pyrethrum treatment kit, put all of my clothes in the plastic bag and treated them before I went on the trip. No problems at all with bugs.

I didn't have the high-tech clothing you are recommending and I did have several sets of shorts and t-shirts so I still had to use a mixture of DEET and sunblock. But, it worked for me.

As usual, your suggestions are excellent.

Flap

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Tickerguy
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Quote:
I spent two weeks out in the bush hunting in Tanzania about 10 years ago and I did a lot of what you are suggesting. I bought the liquid Pyrethrum treatment kit, put all of my clothes in the plastic bag and treated them before I went on the trip. No problems at all with bugs.

Yep -- you can get the stuff at WallyWorld in a trigger spray, which also works if you pour it into a Ziplock, insert clothing, let soak for a while. Just wear basic PPE (vinyl or latex gloves) when doing it that way and then hang to dry out of the sun (e.g. in your garage.)

It's about $10 for a bottle at Wally; BassPro and most other outdoor stores also carry it but at a materially higher price. And while you CAN buy the concentrate you have to pay attention to the inert ingredients as some of them are unsuitable for use on clothing.

The advantage of the high-tech clothing is that it's wearable in warm or hot weather without roasting. You won't believe you can wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt outdoors in 80+F temperatures and actually do anything physical without turning into a puddle of overheated sweat until you experience it for yourself.

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Marquiri
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Karl,

Which Rail Riders do you own? I'm looking to pick up a pair.
Tickerguy
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These. If you PM me I can send you a 15% off coupon (I get one in return on a future purchase, but it's directed -- in other words, it goes to your email address and is user-specific.)

https://www.railriders.com/men-eco-mesh-....

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Michaelbl01
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Mississippi
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Any similar recommendations for running? The area I run in is thick with horse flies, and they have chewed me up on several occasions. Haven't found a good solution for it, and running in long pants and shirt doesn't sound enticing at all...
Tickerguy
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There really isn't a good one for running, other than run fast. I suspect treating your shirt and trunks would help -- perhaps a lot -- but whether you get enough help to keep them off your exposed skin is another matter. I would expect some benefit but nowhere near in the same class as for hiking.

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Happytrails
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For those sensitive to Deet, look into catnip oil. I used this on a two week trip to Belize, one week spent in the rain forest and one week sailing. I never got one bite. It is pretty smelly, though. I buy the straight essential oil online.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20....

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2840....
Tickerguy
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Quote:
For those sensitive to Deet, look into catnip oil. I used this on a two week trip to Belize, one week spent in the rain forest and one week sailing. I never got one bite. It is pretty smelly, though. I buy the straight essential oil online.

Here we go again. This is the exact sort of horse**** that drew my original article.
Quote:
Peterson put groups of 20 mosquitoes in a two-foot glass tube, half of which was treated with nepetalactone. After 10 minutes, only an average of 20 percent about four mosquitoes remained on the side of the tube treated with a high dose (1.0 percent) of the oil.

In other words nowhere near the efficacy. Just as DEET isn't good enough (never mind the bugs that ignore it, and presumably ignore this too.)

I'm very, very tired of the eco-weenie horse**** nonsense. Consider yourself flagged.

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Drole
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Thanks. I was about to research this very topic as we are headed to what I read is a rather tick (mice...???)-infested area this summer.

One statement i've heard but never researched is that fire ants keep ticks at bay. I might go poke around online on that, but curious if anyone has an opinion on that. Can't say I like the fire ants much.
Flyanddive
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For years, I've been using Bifen-IT to control bugs in my house, wonderful product.

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Tickerguy
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The existence of fire ants is proof that there is a Satan

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Comrader
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pa
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when hunting sika deer in the swamps of the eastern shore of Maryland I just spray the pyrethrum on bare skin including face and hair, I thought it called for that on the container. also carry a thermacell which also is pyrethrum I think.
Flappingeagle
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Someone here up north once asked me how hard fire ants bite. My reply was: those SOB's bite so hard that their back legs stick up in the air!

As for those herbal repellents I'm with you. I tried two or three over the years that people "guaranteed me" worked without a doubt. Bull****.

It's permethrin, DEET, or if you are stationary a thermacell. https://www.thermacell.com/how-it-works

If I did activities that resulted in the occasional tick, mosquito, or bug bite I would at least treat all of my socks, (shoes if they have a material that will absorb it), and underwear with permethrin. A lot of the crawlies look for those snugly places to bite or attach so you might was well keep them out.

Flap

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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
Ahhz
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Do you treat your footwear or is treated clothing good enough?

Sean
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Quote:
So if you want to keep things that bite off you, including ticks, try this:


1 - Move to Phoenix
2 - Move to Phoenix
3 - Move to Phoenix

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Tickerguy
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I do not treat my footwear.

Two reasons:

1. With long pants I've never had a problem with the lower legs and smartwool socks (which I use) are damn near bite-proof anyway (too thick to bite through). Even BEFORE I wore long pants I never had trouble with bites on the area covered by socks or shoes.

2. I wear Altra trail running shoes for hiking (far prefer them to boots) but they get both (very) dirty/muddy and wet *regularly.* I expect that this would quickly attenuate or even destroy the effectiveness of the material.

IF I was to get bit on the socked/shoed part of my body or ever found a tick there I'd change my mind fast, but I haven't thus far.

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Burya_rubenstein
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I'm wondering what the range of this stuff is, ie how far away from treated clothing can a piece of bare skin be and still receive protection? Presumably it's at least half a head height since you speak of treating a hat but make no mention of a face covering.

Also, could the range be extended at least to a full head height? I never did like hats... Half a leg length of range would be better still.
Tickerguy
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It appears (no science here) that the bugs are aware that if they land on the treated surface they're dead, and thus avoid it.

Now exactly how much "halo" you get from that I don't know, but I DID find it interesting that I didn't need a bandana to cover my neck in order to NOT get bit on the neck and ears.... although I haven't challenged this setup in extremely heavy "swarm-like" mosquito conditions as of yet. Nonetheless there were plenty of biting flies and such around while hiking (as there usually are) and I had zero trouble, even when stopping to eat or drink. Without this approach while physically moving I didn't get hit too bad, but if you stopped under tree cover (as opposed to on a bald), oh boy.... This of course makes trips to the cathole, especially in the evening hours, quite a high-wire act -- but since doing this, no problems THERE either.

I'm rather interested in trying this approach on a couple of places personally known for extreme biting insect behavior, and intend to this summer. And yes, I will have some DEET with me if supplementation is necessary (and it might be!)

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Mannfm11
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Thanks. I live on a creek and they will carry you away. I looked into the spray systems using the chrysanthemum extract and, had I found a willing partner with a bug license, I would have looked seriously at getting into the business, as there are several hundred homes in my neighborhood on creeks.

I'm going to read this over and take your advice. I have sprayed the yard with short term success, especially with flies, which will come by the hundreds when food is served outdoors. The mosquitos are another matter, as they don't stay gone for long. I'm arming myself. West Nile is a problem here every year.

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Tickerguy
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Up in the UP of Michigan in the summer time mosquitoes CAN be a problem but the ****ing biting flies are murderously bad. You CAN hike there without bug protection BUT you better not slow down or stop -- if you do you will get eaten alive within seconds.

Around here the flies are yellow but they bite like a mother****er in the summer time afternoons and it's a royal bitch to do the lawn without slathering up as a consequence.

In BOTH cases DEET is only partly effective as those flies will ignore it a good part of the time and bite you anyway, right on treated skin.

West Nile isn't a big issue around here and ticks, while potential trouble, aren't the problem they are in some other parts of the country (although we DO have them, so you DO have to be aware of it.) What we don't have there we make up for in the biting fly category -- in spades.

I adopted this as a hiking solution but you can bet I'll be using it generally as an "outdoors" thing where it's even remotely appropriate because it just plain old-fashioned works.

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Yourapostasy
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My personal metric measuring the effectiveness of mosquito repellents is how well they do against the Asian Tiger mosquito. Highly aggressive, will follow you into a building, and feeds throughout the day and night, not just at dusk and dawn. Brought to you by the wonders of loosely-enforced regulations around globalization.

If the repellent can ward off these suckers, then you're good to go. I can confirm Permethrin works against them. Please let us know what kind of species you test upon this summer and the conditions you tested in apart from the results, I'm always looking for better ways to avoid mosquito bites. A genetic bomb for all of them cannot come soon enough.
Tickerguy
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I spend enough time outside during the summer in various places that I'll get a very good handle on effectiveness in "other than hiking" conditions.....

It'll probably be in The Bar since this thread will expire as with most.

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Flyanddive
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We don't have fire ants in Michigan, we have another form of Satan spawn.

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