Does the Thermacell mosquito repellent product really work?
July 4, 2005 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Recently purchased a mosquito repellent device from Thermacell and am wondering if anyone else has used a similar device, and how effective they really are.

I searched the web for reviews and the ones I came up with all seemed to be worded a little too similarily to not raise some flags about them coming from the manufacturer. It is not cheap to buy refills for these devices, and living in the Canadian prairies there are a lot more mosquitos than hours in a refill cartridge.

I'm a little leary to open the package and get stuck in the endless loop of refills if this product turns out to be a bust.

If you have any other suggestions you have found to be effective I'd like to hear those as well.
posted by gfroese to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Well in South Africa as a child we had devices that would plug into an outlet, and used pads filled with repellant. Basically the pads were heated up and released the chemicals into the air. This seems to be a similar concept but portable and uses butane to heat the pad. I can't seem to find anything through Google about the SA versions, but this lamp from OFF uses a candle and pad for the same effect: (sorry have no idea how to html that link, first post I think). IIRC, the pads we used in SA were effective. Hope this is some help. I have no idea of the chemicals used in the pads, but it is not DEET.
posted by chupwalla at 12:38 PM on July 4, 2005

Or you could try this beast:
posted by chupwalla at 12:45 PM on July 4, 2005

This country has mosquitoes but it does not, for reasons I can't imagine, have window screens, so we have used a similar device. I don't remember the manufacturer, but whatever it was was effective.
posted by pracowity at 12:58 PM on July 4, 2005

Is this one of these ultrasonic devices? No chemicals or smoke added, just batteries? 'cause those don't work. Agriculture Canada (the pesticides testing people), looked at these years ago and figured that they were completely ineffective.
posted by bonehead at 1:00 PM on July 4, 2005 CBS 6 Albany gives it a C. Apparently it uses a mat but is inefficient in it's use of butane.
posted by chupwalla at 1:05 PM on July 4, 2005

i use a thing marketed by raid (might be johnson + johnson?). it's a version of chupwalla's heated chemical, but takes bottles of fluid. it works fine, and smells less than the tablets, but irritates my nasal passages a bit. i've found that if i run it on a time, it works just as well with an initial blast for an hour or so on an evening and then just running a few times for short periods over the night. that way i wake up less full of snot, but still bite-less. the bottles last a couple of months, used like that.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:31 PM on July 4, 2005

My father invested in a couple of the devices that chupwalla linked to, or something similar (here it is again for the lazy).

If I understand it properly: it combusts propane to generate CO2, mimicking mammals, which attracts the little buggers. There's a vacuum attached, and the bugs get sucked in when they're close.

Dad remains unconvinced of its effectiveness. For one thing, it's hard to compare mosquito density in a meaningful way from year to year when the summer weather can vary quite a bit (he's in cottage country in central Ontario - last year was a bit wet and dreary, whereas this year has been hot and humid). He also likes pointing out that killing a "million" mosquitoes isn't likely to do you a lot of good if you start off with two million. In short, there's a lot of dead bugs when he cleans the filters, but there still seem to be a fair number still flying around.

Other data points: he has to refill the propane tank every couple of weeks, which adds up over a summer. And when one broke, he found out that there were no options to have it serviced in Canada, it had to be sent back to the US.
posted by flipper at 2:12 PM on July 4, 2005

You could try a mosquito racket. Very effective for mosquitos and little pests.
posted by webmeta at 10:50 PM on July 4, 2005

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