Six months pregnant, and trying to garden during the height of a Zika virus mosquito infestation has been a fearful challenge. Now, add in being a dog walker and constantly outside, sweaty in 117F heat indexes with high humidity and bitten all day repeatedly by mosquitoes and I would almost rather stay inside. Did you know? Just the fact that a person or animal is breathing makes them attractive to mosquitoes. Warm weather that causes perspiration and elevated body heat in addition to activities that sometimes include drinking alcohol outside create the perfect storm for these flying invaders. Left with at the very least an itchy red bump; and at worst a blood-borne disease like malaria, or Zika virus which causes birth defects... there is nothing pleasant about this experience. The fate for your dog is much worse: heart worms are transmitted through mosquito bites.
In the past, there have been solutions that include applications of product to the skin for both people and pets, or burning candles to deter mosquitoes. Ones that use harsh chemicals are not only unhealthy for humans and pets but also dangerous for our environment. I personally do not like to apply anything to my skin when I am already sweaty and hot. And the smell of citronella oil in the air or on my skin makes me nauseous...pregnant or not.
When I found Thermacell, I was excited to try a repellent that did not smell like citronella or other chemicals, didn’t have an open flame which required less attention be paid while trying to do other things, and wasn’t in a form that I had to apply it to my skin. It's kind of a tall order...I'm picky and even more picky since becoming pregnant. Citronella makes me even more nauseous than usual now, and has been especially irritating as far as headaches are concerned during pregnancy. BUT: I am sadly one of the people who are more attractive to mosquitoes due to certain factors. I typically work in my garden almost every day (though I have been slacking due to tiredness and this horrible heat), and if I do not do some type of parasite damage control I am covered in mosquito bites. Within minutes they are landing on me. Not with my Thermacell lantern - once it's been on, and given about 10 minutes to create the magical force field of protection I am invisible to these predators.
At a very reasonable $29.99, the Lantern is my favorite mosquito repellent tool and I picked it up at my local Home Depot mostly because it's portable. After breaking out the Lantern while watering my garden, weeding, pruning and continuing to do more yard work, I was only bitten once and that was right after I turned it on. It’s effective in a 15’ x 15’ area so as long as I stay within that zone, I am safe! Moving around outside of that area definitely proves the effectiveness of the product. It’s pretty, with settings for a flickering candle or a light bulb look as far as illumination is concerned, and looks cute wherever I set it down in the garden. It can be used as a lantern without turning on the mosquito repellent as well. I have two so far, one for my front porch and one for my back yard. I now also own a Torch, which is even more convenient because it both mounts on a stationary 6-foot pole, or can be removed and used as a tabletop lantern as well. This way my dogs won’t wander out of the covered zone, no matter which version I am using. Operating on a single butane cartridge and batteries, the lantern warms a little pad which is infused with allethrin. “Allethrin is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in pyrethrum flowers, a member of the chrysanthemum family.” It barely smells like much of anything and is definitely effective.
Thermacell also sent me their Mosquito Repellent Appliance to try. It covers the same area as the Lantern but has the capability of being attached to the person using it via a belt clip and costs a few dollars less than the lantern. This allows for hands-free protection without having to carry the Lantern around as you move. I found it to be helpful when walking dogs, especially near fields and wet zones, but I really love the look of the Lantern in the yard so I use it much more often. Because I am often bending and squatting when gardening, the appliance is a bit bulky for me. It still works the same as the Lantern, with the same amazing effectiveness but is just a little too big for a person who is 6 months pregnant. I took both to picnics and barbecues and wasn’t bitten by a single mosquito. My friends were amazed! They are sold at your local Home Depot, Lowes, sporting goods stores, and Walmart. Refills are available on their website and also on Amazon. I am so happy with this product, and I know you will be too! I could see this product as a vital item to pack when camping or fishing as well. I can say for sure that I will not be gardening or walking dogs without it. Thermacell is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – follow and subscribe for coupons and specials.