The Roundup -

County Agent Update

Insect Repellent Clothing Means More Protection From Ticks And Mosquitos


Farmers, ranchers, consultants, scouts, seed inspectors, insurance adjusters, handlers, workers, and especially custom pesticide applicators are routinely subjected to ticks and mosquitos. For years, people have been advised to use DEET to treat their skin and clothing. However, treatments to clothing only provide repellency for up to six hours with DEET. Thus permethrin, either applied to clothing or impregnated into the clothing can provide much longer protection. In the case of permethrin applied repellents, protection can last for weeks and multiple washings. With respect to permethrin impregnated clothing, the repellency can out live the clothing, demonstrating activity after 60 washes or more.

For more than 20 years, the U.S. Armed Services has treated or had battle fatigues impregnated with low doses of permethrin insecticide. The risk of insect borne disease transmission is so great, that any adverse consequences from the pesticide have not been demonstrated to outweigh the benefits. You can read more about this at:

You can learn how to treat your clothing with permethrin by observing the following YouTube video developed by the U.S. Army:

You can learn more about clothing impregnated with permethrin at the Insect Shield website. In addition to obtaining clothes directly from retailers, they offer a mail in option for custom impregnating clothing you submit to them.

Permethrin repellent products and impregnated clothing are considered pesticides for purposes of state law and must be registered with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Not all products found on the world wide web are registered with the department. You can look up a particular product at the registered product database at:

Finally, permethrin repellants are NOT designed to be used on skin. Only DEET and Picardin are labeled for application to skin. (Note, topical creams containing permethrin can be used to control scabies and head lice, however these products are NOT labeled for tick or mosquito repellency.) This information is from NDSU Crop and Pest Guide, written by; Andrew Thostenson, NDSU Pesticide Program Specialist.


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