Practically everyone who frequents the outdoors knows that mosquitoes and black flies can be problematic. Not only are such pests a huge nuisance; they also present a health threat from various diseases. Avoiding them while engaged in outdoor activity is difficult but essential.
A long list of products is available today to help keep bugs away. Sprays and lotions are common. These work to varying degrees and certainly help in the battle against bites. They can, however, be troublesome. And, some individuals are sensitive to the chemicals found in many of these. Enter the ThermaCELL.
The ThermaCELL is a nifty little unit that creates a barrier around the user to keep out critters such as mosquitoes and black flies. It uses a butane-fueled burner to heat a wafer. This wafer, which is replaced when its blue color fades to white, contains ingredients from a flower that repel mosquitoe. To employ the ThermaCELL, the user pops the bottom off the unit and inserts the butane cylinder. He or she then removes the wafer from a foil pouch and slips it into a grill at the top of the unit. One switch turns the ThermaCELL on and another ignites the butane. On top of the rig is a small window that allows the user to see the tiny glow to be sure the butane is ignited. A simple flip of the On/Off switch turns it off.
There is no open flame, only a friendly glow inside the unit creating enough heat to extract vapors from the wafer. And that heat is not intense. The outside of the cover is warm to the touch, but it doesn’t get truly hot. One cylinder of butane will fuel several wafers, each wafer lasting four hours or so. Refills of butane cylinders and wafers are readily available and easily carried
The latest addition to the wafer selection is an earth scent. That same flower extract of the original wafer keeps the bugs away, but it drifts upward with the scent of fresh earth. This is especially appealing to deer hunters concerned with odor. However, I have never had any problem with deer spooking from the original wafer. Just this past October I used a ThermaCELL extensively while bowhunting in the Mississippi Delta. The property we hunt there is plagued by hordes of mosquitoes, and keeping them at bay on an afternoon hunt is near impossible. It can be a dreadful experience. Two of us were there and each using a ThermaCELL. In four days of hunting not one deer was alerted by the original wafer scent. One afternoon I had 16 whitetails come by, most within bow range, and none detected me. The mosquitoes stayed away. I took a big Delta doe while using an osage and bamboo stickbow that afternoon.
Does the ThermaCELL work? Absolutely. It is now a constant companion when I go into the woods or to the lake. In all fairness, high winds seem to diminish the impact of the unit because these disperse the vapor rather than allowing it to drift up around the user. Even then the unit is effective. But minus that high wind, the ThermaCELL creates an invisible barrier of approximately 15 feet in circumference that mosquitoes and other such biting pests refuse to enter. And it does this with no mess and very little bother. Clever, the ThermaCELL.