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African Safari 2007

This is information I have gathered about insect repellents.

picaridin   It is used on clothing, tents, and bedding. See web site for more information. DO NOT USE ON SKIN.

Repel Insect Repellent

Consumer Reports published an updated report using Repel and it actually performed better than deet or picaridin (3-4 hours of protection against the "aggressive type mosquitos" and much longer against non-agressive ones vs. 2-3 hours for deet and picaridin)


We may or may not encounter tsetse flies in some parks.

"In my experience, nothing worked against tsetse flies. Nothing worked! not even the horrible skin-searing concoctions composed of 100% DEET! So it was with considerable doubt that I took a vial of SkeeterBeater to try out on safari to Zambia-- the tsetse fly capital of Africa am pleased to report that SkeeterBeater worked pretty well in repelling tsetses. My clients and I tried it in some heavily infested areas in Kafue National Park-- a place where we are normally tortured by swarms of tsetses as we past through thickets or dense forests (tsetses do not occur in open plains areas such as Tanzania's Serengeti). I gave the SkeeterBeater a fair test- spreading the oil on my arms and legs and leaving them bare and therefore open to possible attack. Occasionally flies buzzed around me and I received the odd bite. My clients, with less need to subject themselves to attack in the interests of science, wore much better clothing (long sleeved pants and shirts), but they too thought that SkeeterBeater was effective in preventing bites and buzzing around their exposed parts (face and hands).

I also found that I liked to use the SkeeterBeater. I find the patchouli smell and the feel of the oil on my skin quite pleasant-- a sharp contrast to the horrible odors and sensations associated with DEET-based insect repellents."

3M Ultrathon

Insect Repellent 12 Lotion

The 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion is the most effective, longest lasting bug repellent on the market. Period. In fact, in a recent comparison test of the top 9 insect repellents on the market, Consumer Reports rated Ultrathon #1 for effectiveness

SIZE: 2 oz (59ml) tube

  • Rated the #1 most effective insect repellent lotion by a leading consumer magazine.
  • Splash and sweat resistant to protect even in the most challenging environments.
  • Lotion, with 34.34% DEET, provides continuous protection for up to 12 hours.
  • Patented Controlled Release Technology prevents DEET from quick evaporation from perspiration or rain.
  • Ultrathon™ insect repellent provides protection from mosquitoes and deer ticks, the two insects that may carry West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
  • Also repels biting flies, chiggers, gnats and fleas.

NEW FINDINGS support the use of DEET
With Ultrathon™ insect repellent’s Controlled Release Technology, you get durable long-lasting protection without reapplication. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that DEET-based repellents are the most effective way to protect against insects and are very safe when used according to label directions.

Insect repellant likewise. Worst bites were from tsetses in Tanzania getting into a closed vehicle. I found aloe vera good against tsetses having been put onto it by a Masai guide in Tz.

It's a good idea to bring some bite-eze or other treatment to stop pain from bites.

New-2/10/06-Unlike mosquitoes in the Americas, the mosquitoes in Africa are only problems from dusk to dawn. And they do NOT bite through clothing (which I believe some type of mozzies can do...but not in Africa). So the permethrin is of extremely limited use: it will only protect the part of you that is covered by clothign...but since mozzies don't bite thru clothing, you are already protected there and don't need the extra permethrin. And if you are NOT covered up because it is hot--well you can still get bitten on bare again the permethrin isn't helping.

Now if permethrin protected you from tsetse flies it might be worth trying. But it does not. Nothing really works against tsetse flies. (Though anecdotally people try various things like lavender oil or tea tree oil and say is helps, somewhat.)

So the best solution is to cover up as soon as the sun goes down, and to use an effective repellent on your skin. Deet does melt plastics, but if you choose a safe formulation, it is not bad. Both Sawyers and Ultrathon have deet in a base that minimizes skin absorption, a good thing. I also find the formulations in stick form very useful for quick application, since you don't get the stuff on your hands while applying lotions. I don't like sprays because aerosol versions are so easily inhales--yuck.

4/20 What I get from this - and please correct me if I am wrong - that anything up to about 35% DEET is best?

ANSWERS: I'd say upwards OF 35% (not under it) and up to 50%.
Look for 35% to 50% strength.

The point I'm trying to make is; a lot of stores promote products with more than 30% DEET as being more effective. And you can guess it; these products cost more of course.

But there's no need to spend more money. The repellent does not become more effective once you go higher than about 30%. The only thing you really get is a downside; the smell.

DEET %: A 2005 practice recommendation which reviewed the literature reported that concentrations of DEET over 30% offer no increase in effectiveness, but they are effective for longer durations. The full text is located at That article cited perhaps the ultimate mosquito prevention: "In a field trial conducted in Alaska, persons wearing permethrin-treated uniforms and a polymer-based 35% DEET product had more than 99.9% protection (1 bite/h) over 8 hours, even under conditions of intense biting pressures; unprotected persons received an average of 1188 bites/h." Ex Officio's BUZZ-OFF contains permethrin plus a prorietary compound, so if you're really worried about bites you can invest in some of that clothing.

6/26--Yes, of course, take the pills. You can DIE from certain kinds of malaria. We have used Malarone on a number of occasions with no problems. I also recommend Ultrathon insect repellant. It is extremely effective, and one application works the whole day.