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by Bob Banfelder

Apart from being pestered by a noisy, nosey neighbor, there is nothing more annoying than being plagued by a swarm of malicious, malevolent mosquitos and flies when fishing, crabbing, clamming, et cetera. Before I go any further, lest I be accused of being a cranky old man, I should make it quite clear that neither Donna nor I ever suffered the likes of a noisy, nosey neighbor. Yes, we lead a charmed life, for we've always had fantastic neighbors. What we have endured, however, from Gananoque to Punta Gorda, are teems of pesky winged insects that could ruin your day while fly-fishing a favorite pond, angling for bass on a backwater or bay, or bowfishing a lazy river.

Through the years, Donna and I have carried head, face, and hand protection, either in the form of a netting material and/or malodorous insect repellent sprays for clothing, skin, and gear, especially chemicals containing high percentages of DEET (diethyltoluamide, a.k.a. N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). Due to concerns of toxicity, over the course of years, many folks have switched to DEET-free insect repellents, which in all honesty are far less effective than repellents containing DEET and another active ingredient, Permethrin. You would have to seek out DEET-free plant-based repellents containing active ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus for the repellent to be time effective (measured in terms of minutes rather than hours), regardless of a manufacturer's claims.

There were those early mornings and evenings while pike fishing in Ontario, Canada that Donna and I would slather on insect repellent containing such active ingredients in addition to donning mesh netting apparel, too. Thank goodness we can finish up our years on the water (hope there are still many of them ahead) by using hands free, state-of-the art, heat activated, mosquito repellent technology. Thermacell is hassle-free and so much more effective than having to deal with all those messy chemicals and outerwear.

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Thermacell Mosquito Repellent MR450 Unit.

The beauty of the Thermacell MR450 unit is that it covers a 15 foot x 15 foot zone of protection, creating a barrier against mosquitoes and flies. No longer is it necessary for Donna and me to tote duplicate sets of mesh head nets, parkas, pairs of fingerless fishing gloves, nor messy chemicals applied to skin and clothing as shown.

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Left to Right: Bug-Out Outdoorwear ~ Mesh Head Nets ~ Mesh Jackets (Parka-style design); L.L. Bean Mesh Hat/Head ~ assortment of insect repellents.

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent's blue heat mats are activated by a butane cartridge, releasing the insect repellent into the air (active ingredient: d-cis/trans allethrin 21.97%). The repellent is a synthetic copy of a natural insect repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.

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Thermacell MR450 Mosquito Repellent Product: unit, case, butane cartridge, mosquito repellent mat.

Thermacell MR450 unit's effectiveness:

I don't want to be bugged when I'm fishing or hunting. Therefore, the Thermacell MR450 Mosquito Repellent product is a piece of equipment seriously worth considering. A fair question of concern is the unit's effectiveness. A candid response is that it depends on whether or not there is a significant breeze to negate or limit its efficiency. In a calm setting, the unit works remarkably well, covering a 15 x 15-foot radius as advertised. To counter its limited effectiveness in a moderate wind, I spray my hat (not my skin) with OFF! Deep Woods insect repellent, which contains 25% Deet, or Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (Deet-free) repellent. Among these controls, I'm good to go. To keep my hands from being bitten up on extremely buggy days when angling, I also don a light pair of Dr. Shade 100% nylon fingerless fishing gloves; they offer UV protection as well. Also, I lightly spray the backs of the gloves (not my hands) with one of these repellents. Keep in mind that Thermacell's heat-activated mats are both Deet free and virtually scent free. I have field-tested the item for well over a year; Donna and I have never had an issue with this fine product.

Although the unit has belt clips for convenient carry, I do not wear the item when angling, hunting, bowfishing, or lounging around a deck or patio. For best results, I position the Thermacell unit horizontally upon a convenient surface several feet away from food and beverage. While relaxing on our back deck or neighbor's patio on a calm evening, this single unit has taken the place of a circular parade of citronella bucket candles. The unit provides 4 hours of protection before having to change the blue mat, which is placed behind the unit's protective screen. This is done in a matter of seconds. Simply slide in a new mat while pushing out the old. The butane cartridge is good for activating three mats; hence, you have 12 hours of protection before having to insert a new cartridge.

Get out out there and enjoy your bug-free outdoor activities with a Thermacell product. For their complete line, Google

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America

Shelving Publication Book Window blind Book cover

Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.


The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.
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