Peyto Lake, Alberta.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ruth is in Calgary, and Kevin is in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Nova Scotia on August 17th.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If you hate mosquitoes, you need to read this post!

This seems to be an exceptionally bad summer for mosquitoes in many parts of North America. So I'm going to explain how we deal with these little pests.

In one word, Thermacell

This is going to sound like an advertisement, but we strongly believe in the product and you know that we tell it like it is. I'm also going to get into the details of how this product works. And some of you may have misconceptions that caused you not to buy the product, and I want to explain the research that I did.

We originally found out about the Thermacell product line in the summer of 2010. The mosquitoes at the KOA near Kingston, Ontario where we were staying for the summer were so bad that you couldn't sit outside. Even with repellent on, they would be harassing you. Someone recommended a Thermacell and the very next day we went out and bought one.

That evening, I followed the instructions and lit up the Thermacell, giving it the required 15 minutes to take effect. The mosquitoes had been thick, and I doubted anything would work. But without any repellent on, we were able to sit outside comfortably. I did receive one or two bites, but considering how bad they had been, I was sold that this product worked as advertised.

We left that Thermacell at Sturgeon Lake last year because we thought we were going to return there. So we bought a new one this spring. We have yet to use it though, because the problem hasn't been nearly as bad here as it was up there!

We wanted to have one on hand, just in case!

So, let me tell you how it works.

First of all, they call it a "Mosquito Repellent", and that's not quite true. It actually is a mosquito killer. Not that we have a problem with that, but some people do. The active ingredient is called Allethrin, and's a pesticide. Some people get all bent out of shape when they see that word along with warnings on the box that say Harmful if inhaled, do not breath vapours and Remove and wash contaminated clothing before reuse. 

So I did some research.

Allethrin is a man made copy of a naturally occurring pesticide that is found in the chrysanthemum flower.

I found an article where they interviewed one of the founders of the product and he addresses the toxicity of the amount of Allethrin in the Thermacell. Rather than reprint the whole thing, I'll tell you the basics. Essentially the EPA forces them to put these warnings on the box regardless of the amount of chemical in the product. It turns out that you could use this product in an enclosed room for eight hours straight and still be 2,000 to 3,000 x less than the toxicity limit for humans!

The Thermacell comes with little pads, then when heated by a tiny butane cartridge release the Allethrin into the surrounding area. 

Interestingly, we found products containing Allethrin approved for indoor use in South Africa. We used them a couple of times and they're very popular because they simply plug into a wall outlet in the room you're in.

I've done enough research to satisfy myself that the product is harmless. If you feel otherwise, then go ahead and slather yourself with if that's better!

When you buy a Thermacell (there are different varieties) they come with three pads, and one butane cartridge. The pads last from three to four hours each, and the butane lasts for about 12 hours. Then, you need to buy refills. We have one on hand just in case...

You can buy standard refills such as the one in my hand, or bulk packs that contain more.

And yes, you can buy the different Thermacells through our Amazon Affiliate links.

And yes, some of them happen on be on sale. Although that's just a lucky coincidence. I didn't even know that until I had written the article!

If I was to buy another one, I would buy the lantern...

And here is the link to the refill kits, which also are on sale...

Happy Mosquito hunting!! I know for a fact that some of you already use the Thermacell. What do you think of the product, and what is your experience with it??


  1. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our thermocells! I did a blog post about them and kinda sounds like a commercial too, but they are SO worth it!

    (the lantern doesn't work as well, and less of an invisible "dome" around you, I think it doesn't heat up as high as the flat units do)

    What we liked best was the little grandtots didn't need to have their skin slathered with skeeter dope or sprays! Little kids always put their hands in their mouths... have you ever tasted your skin after spraying on some Repel, Off or Cutters?...ewwwwwww!

    We could sit out on our deck by the river and have one going on each side of the deck and sit in complete comfort. Our dogs even realized that huddling close to us, they didnt have skeeters buzzing in their faces.

    It makes an invisble "dome" around us about 10 feet wide. If you look up towards the sky, you can actually see them up there about 10 feet high, swarming and daring each other to try to dip down to bite us. LOL and once in a while one will swoop lower and go right back up to the safety zone they determined is as close as they can get.

    Seriously, we buy the big refill packs at the beginning of summer and each pad works for about 6 hours. If you want to turn it off after 1 or 2 hours, let it cool, and slide the pad back into the tin foil envelope and tape it shut. Good again for 4 or 5 more hours. One bottle of the butane is good for 3-4 pads. Once the blue pad turns whitish grey, it is used up.

    Thermocells are used by bow hunters in the fall when skeeters are still out. The deer are not alerted by the smell like if you sprayed on Off, Repel or Cutters. also used by fishermen in the boats sitting on the water. Set one on the seat next to you and you are skeeter free to fish. Plus you don't have skeeter spray on your hands or your line or lures to scare away the fish. (Fish are smart, they are in schools)

    Karen and Steveio

    1. Actually, I think it was you who originally told us about the Thermacell back in 2010...thanks!

  2. Oh, forgot one more thing.... especially for us ladies. Sometimes we are boondocking where saving water is an issue and you can't always wash your hair each day. If you spray yourself with bug dope, your hair stinks. Especially at night in the camper you roll over on the pillow and all you smell is bug dope! But with the Thermocells going around you, you don't smell like anything at all ... and your hair don't stink when you crawl into that camper bed at night.

    1. It's so true, when we have bug spray on, we have to shower before bed. I really hate the smell and the feel of the stuff on at bedtime.

  3. Haha. Good blog post! Did I make you think of writing it?
    I'll check out walmart again.

    1. Don't forget about Canadian Tire as well. Too bad you can't get it ordered from and delivered to Canada.

  4. Important to note that these "fogger" systems are most effective in totally still air. Least effective in light wind between 1-4 mph. Above 4 mph, mosquitoes have a hard time flying in general---and targeting mammal CO2 in particular---so using a fogger is likely a waste of money under these conditions.

    1. Yes, this is true. It does work the best when the air is still.

  5. Thanks for the helpful hint !!!!

    1. For us, we find it the best thing for those stupid mosquitoes! Hope you find that it works as well as we think it does.

  6. Thanks for the info! I am very allergic to mosquito bites, so anything that can help rid the area of them I am willing to try. This stuff sounds great!

    1. We find it really works. Kevin absolutely hates mosquitoes but they really love him. When we are using the ThermaCELL, Kevin will actually sit outside and enjoy the evening and that says something. if they are really, really bad we have noticed a few will get through but not many.


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