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Exclusive Interview: Why Thermacell Units Are the Best Insect Repellent [PICS]

Thermacell
All images via Thermacell

Why does Thermacell reign as the market’s go-to mosquito repellent? Well, the proof is in the pudding.

You’ve seen Thermacell units on countless retail shelves and highlighted in several popular outdoor programs. But do you know the story behind the products or what makes them so effective?

We recently had the chance to chat with a Thermacell representative by the name of Mike May. He works with Backbone Media, but helps the company with external relations and graciously took time to discuss the range of Thermacell offerings.

What sets Thermacell units apart from other approaches, such as sprays, candles, etc.?

Mike indicated that Thermacell units are a good alternative to insect repellent sprays because they won’t leave a sticky residue on your skin. Many people are concerned about applying potentially toxic chemicals to their children, which you can avoid with this approach.

Handheld units also have advantages over citronella candles because there is no open flame, making it very portable and safe to transport. In addition, there are so many types of Thermacell appliances and lanterns to suit multiple needs (e.g., hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, etc.).

Thermacell garden

How does a Thermacell unit work?

A flameless butane cartridge heats a small mat saturated with a synthetic chemical called allethrin. This chemical mimics the natural chemical produced by chrysanthemum flowers, which deters insects. Once vaporized and activated, the allethrin repellent creates a 15-foot x 15-foot zone (225 square feet) of protection from flying biting insects.

Each cartridge can run three mats, which lasts for 9 to 12 total hours. Refill kits include both the cartridge and mats. All handheld appliances and lanterns use the same cartridges and mats, so you don’t need to buy separate pieces for each product.

Thermacell hunting

What insects is the Thermacell technology effective against?

According to Mike and the Thermacell website, mosquitoes, black flies, and common “no-see-ums” are repelled by the units. However, most flying biting insects will avoid the zone of protection.

Mike has heard numerous testimonials at trade shows, especially in southern states, about how a Thermacell is on the “must-have” gear list while turkey hunting in spring or bowhunting early season.

Has this technology been tested anywhere?

The U.S. military has tested Thermacell units in multiple countries around the world, given the obvious benefit to soldiers stationed in jungle settings. Specifically, it has been tested in Costa Rica, Turkey, Korea, and many U.S. locations.

The Environmental Protection Agency has also tested the synthetic chemical (allethrin) used in Thermacell units, and determined it safe for use around humans.

What new offerings does Thermacell have out this season?

The camp lantern is a new offering in 2015. It has multiple uses, as it can function as a traditional battery-powered lantern with a built-in mosquito repellent, or be separated into two pieces to act as a mosquito repellent and a hanging tent or camp light. The lantern lasts for 50 hours on its brightest setting.

Thermacell lantern

Any other products you’d like to mention?

A Thermacell item that Mike uses often is the backyard torch, which operates much like the lantern. It maintains a 15-foot x 15-foot zone of protection from insects, and operates without an open flame making it much safer to use around children than typical yard torches.

Stick it in the ground next to your deck or patio for mosquito-free grilling. Mike also likes to put one near the camper or tent entrance when camping, as a contingency for children who occasionally leave the doors open.

Thermacell torch

What would you say to anyone on the fence about buying a Thermacell unit?

Seeing really is believing. Many customers use these units in the peak of mosquito season, and get to see a literal dome of protection where bugs will not cross into. Once you witness this, you’ll be a believer. Try it out and watch it work.

Check out Thermacell on their website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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Exclusive Interview: Why Thermacell Units Are the Best Insect Repellent [PICS]