Deet-based bug spray around camera equipment/bags...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by KBeezie, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    So I been doing a lot of outdoor walking and photographing, sometimes off into the deeper woods where normally mosquito would eat me alive.

    I been using Off! Deep Woods which is basically 25% Deet and 75% other ingredients with decent results.

    Today I picked up some Repel 100, which is around 98% Deet.

    But on a whim I decided to do some research regarding deet, and saw a lot of comments about it eating plastics, or taking the writing off their camera buttons and so forth.

    My question is, how much of a concern is this? With the lower concentration stuff when I applied it I usually put down my camera bag, camera and tripod, walked about 6-10 feet away down wind from it and applied it to my arms, pant legs, and my hat, but not on the palms of my hands usually just sprayed on the back of my hands.

    Will that manner of usage be fine, or will I risk eating the plastics of my camera body, or let alone my brand new camera bag which is mostly a nylon coating?

    Alternatively how effective is the No-Deet Lemon/Eucalyptus oil sprays? And will that have similar impacts to plastics and synthetic fibers?
  2. Lodos

    Lodos Mu-43 Regular

    Deet has some effect on the plastics for sure, when I sprayed my arms it left some pattern on my watch strap (black plastic) which ended up looking cool and I liked it, but would not be so happy if those marks were on my camera..

    For your clothes (cotton or nylon) or camera bags you may use permethrin based stuff..
    Sawyer Permethrin Pump Spray - 24 oz. -
    you don't spray this to your skin..! but to the clothes and bags etc. and do it advance before your trip.. spray the item till it gets wet, then let it air dry.. then it should last few weeks even few washes..
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Good tip on the Permethrin.

    The 25% stuff hasn't done anything to my Casio Protrek which has been covered in it on every trip so either that plastic isn't affected, or 25% isn't enough of a concentration to cause an issue on a trip.

    But I guess I'll probably be careful with the Deet100 stuff in the mean time mainly putting it on my jeans when I'm out and on my hat to help mask my sweat/etc, and maybe on my arms up until my elbows, keeping away from the equipment/bag as I spray it.
  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Without going in to a lot of great detail, it really depends on the plastic that's used. A lot of times, Polycarbonate is used because it's a tough, impact resistant material. The downside to Polycarbonate is that it's susceptible to chemical attach from certain chemicals.

    I think by applying it down-wind and not on the palms of your hands that you should be OK, but I don't know how the stuff migrates over time as you sweat and what not.

    Also, sunscreens can be aggressive towards Polycarbonate as well. Banana Boat tends to be more aggressive than Coppertone, so that's another thing to keep in mind as well.
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  5. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    I only put it on bare skin,not clothes,except socks.You can get insect repellent clothes,but I have never had a problem with them going thuough clothes,except socks. Maybe you have super mosquitoes. Only deet is known to be effective. Sometimes the mosquitoes just don't bite,so some people swear by products that are not proven. No one knows what essential oils in alternative products do to cameras. I just put on deet and wash palms of hands real good. No camera damage so far.
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I use the Repel 100 also, because it's about the only thing I have found that is effective here in Texas. I don't know about what concentrations can do what, I do know that it can remove paint from your lenses and camera. For this reason I always spray down away from my Jeep and my gear, I also carry it on the outside of my camera bag.

    I have yet to find anything but Deet to really be effective and I have tried just about everything out there. I am still looking for something that works against horse flies, along the coast in the marshes they can be really nasty. I did hear from an old Cajun that putting some vanilla extract on your temples helps keep the gnats at bay (something Deet also does nothing for), so I have been using it and it seems to work for them.
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  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Deet is the only really affective solution - 100% Deet. And yes it melts plastic. Hate the stuff personally but it is the only thing that really works.

    I grew up in an area with 7 miles of saltwater marsh. The mosquitos etc were ferocious.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    View attachment 482143

    100% DEET is nasty stuff. I find that 25% is as effective and lasts as long in the real world. The only advantage of the 100% deet is that it lasts longer...theoretically. In practice doing anything active you are better off making more frequent applications of the 25% stuff. But there are better options IMO. Lately I've been using picaridin based repellent which isn't nearly as nasty as deet and pretty effective. Bugs around here are second to none and come in many forms. I use a multi-pronged defense depending upon conditions. Treat clothing with permethrin (I mix my own solution), head net/suit, applied repellent.

    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. bredman

    bredman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 30, 2013
    Sherwood Forest
    I was about to recommend picaridin. Isn't greasy like DEET and wont melt your eyeglasses and other plastics. It's the future. IIRC it's safer for kids and pregnant women etc.

    I can also recommend permethrin, it doesn't work applied on skin but you can soak your hat, shirt, and shoes etc, it will kill the mozzies on contact. Safe for all mammals except cats fwiw
  10. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    I posted a photo on one of my fb groups, of a humid shot under the canopy, and it triggered a discussion about repellents. I haven't tried this yet, so take it with a grain of salt. One lady mentions horse flies, "I live in Alabama now and the horse flies are bad down here too. I mix peppermint oil & witch hazel in a spray bottle. Then shake and spray on skin. The horse flies HATE it. It works"
    Sounds good to me. Add a little vanilla, and you might be good to go.
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks, I will have to give that a try.
  12. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Might be a placebo effect or you could put it on your partner so they attract the bugs :)

    Seriously though, total waste of pesos. none of the citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint hippy organic stuff is any good for serious bug country. DEET or picaradin is the only thing that works on skin, permethrin for treating clothes.

    Pup and I are off to bug country tomorrow
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    You got to go with science. I use Ben's 30% Deet or 100% if it is in the middle of spring melt.

  14. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
  15. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Anyone use themacell units?
  16. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Guessing it's more or less 2~3 hours as opposed to say 6-ish on 25% deet and 10-ish on ~100% ?

    How is the Lemon Eucalyptus? oily? Heard it smells quite a bit and will permeate anything it's near.

    Also given the bag I got is Clik Elite meant for "Adventure Photographers" (marketing blurb or not who knows), you would think they would have considered the material they use with such chemical.
    • Wow Wow x 1
  17. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    None of us? Who is us?
  18. System13

    System13 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 11, 2016
    Wisconsin USA
    AMC Outdoors in "Picaridin vs DEET: Which Is the Best Insect Repellent?" says at
    Picaridin vs DEET: Which Is the Best Insect Repellent? - AMC Articles

    For more than 50 years, DEET has reigned as the undisputed champion of insect repellents. No longer. There’s now a potentially better alternative on the market: picaridin....

    But DEET has some notable drawbacks. It imparts a greasy feel to the skin upon application. It emits a distinctive—and to many, unpleasant—odor. And it has the ability to dissolve certain plastics and some synthetic materials, including rayon, spandex, and vinyl. This is a particular hazard for sunglasses and plastic eyeglass lenses. (It has no effect on nylon, wool, or cotton.)...

    Studies have shown picaridin to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Unlike DEET, however, picaridin is odorless, non-greasy, and does not dissolve plastics or other synthetics....

    Consumer Reports in "Mosquito Repellents That Best Protect Against Zika" says at
    Mosquito Repellents That Best Protect Against Zika

    To find the most effective mosquito repellents, we tested products containing a variety of ingredients, including deet, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, chemicals called IR3535 and 2-undecanone, as well as a variety of plant oils, such as cedar, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass, and rosemary...

    The most effective products against Aedes mosquitoes were Sawyer Picaridin and Natrapel 8 Hour, which each contain 20 percent picaridin, and Off! Deepwoods VIII, which contains 25 percent deet. They kept the mosquitoes from biting for about 8 hours. (The Sawyer product was our top insect repellent overall. It was the only one that also kept Culex mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile disease, and deer ticks, which can spread Lyme disease, away for at least 8 hours.)...

    We advise skipping most products made with natural plant oils, such as California Baby Natural Bug Blend (a blend of citronella, lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and other ingredients) and EcoSmart Organic, (which includes geraniol, rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil). They did not last for more than 1 hour against Aedes mosquitoes, and some failed almost immediately...
    • Informative Informative x 3
  19. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    The local Meijer didn't have any (they only carried Deet , and 1 bottle of permethrin based product, which I'll probably get later) , however when I hit up walmart they had Natrapel which is 20% Picaridin, so I went ahead and grabbed that, was about $5 for the 6oz can.

    What I'll likely do is spray my ankle/pants legs, as I always wear full length pants when out on these longer walks with the 98% deet before leaving home (mainly for the ticks and chiggers), and then use the Picaridin everywhere else.

    I did send an email to Clik Elite just because I was curious about their opinion/response regarding deet based sprays being near their bags. As I mentioned before, being targeted at 'adventure' photographers, I imagine they probably least thought about the possibility of the two coming into contact.

    As a side note, I found it ironic (perhaps wrong choice of word) that they showed a fly fisher picture on the product images of this Sawyer Picaridin, considering that it's toxic to fish.
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