Difficult Mosquito Nets
I was lucky when I travelled, my friend lent me his mosquito net he used in Zimbabwe. Was fairly lightweight and free!!
My first night in India, in Bombay, me and my friend wanted to use our mosquito nets, but could not concieve of how to do this... The room was so high we couldn't reach the ceiling even standing on the beds or chairs, and I am 6'2".
I figured we could maybe run a line across the room to tie onto, but i only had five meteres of chord... not enough. in the end I slept in a shirt and kept my sleepsack over me.
The only time i really used it was in Goa... we stayed in a shack on the beach, and I didn't want any bugs on me!
I discovered the best cure to major snags or holes in the mosquito net is to put duct tape on both sides of the hole. fixes it good. I don't travel without a little duct tape.
1. You absolutely need to soak mosquito netting in Permethrin to make it really effective. Permethrin is a chemical which is now synethetically produced but which is similar to what is produced naturally by chrysantheum plants. It acts as a nerve poison for small insects but is easily deactivated by the human liver/kidney (at least in the small quantities resulting from brushing against the mosquito netting at night or not washing your hands after soaking the netting) and so can be considered safe for humans (in small quantities--though NOT if a child drinks the whole bottle). This same chemical is used in flea/tick collars for dogs (but not cats, which don't metabolize the chemical as well as dogs/humans). Any mosquito/tick or a variety or other insects that brushes up against a net that has been soaked in permethrin will go into nerve spasms and die instantly. Thus the netting will remain effective even with small holes and you don't have to worry so much about carefully securing the bottom of the netting. Just drap the netting around the bed and the mosquito is sure to brush up against the netting on its way to bite you--and that is enough to kill it.
Permethrin can also be used to soak clothing so you don't have to wear DEET and other mosquito lotions during the day. The idea is that before a mosquito bites your arm or face, it is likely to land first on your shirt or hat--and if the shirt or hat is Permethrin treated, that will be enough to kill the mosquito. Permethrin soaked clothing/mosquito nets are mandatory for US soldiers in tropical areas (like Iraq). You can buy Permethrin at US outdoor shops. Get the Military soak style rather than the spray on style which is less effective. The Sawyer Military Style Treatment, for example, is sold for about $6 at rei.com. The treatment should last for about 6 months to a year for a mosquito net which is never washed (only a few weeks for clothing which is washed frequently, however).
2) Nylon mosquito netting will normally be stronger/durable than knit polyester, and both will normally be much stronger/durable than cotton. You will probably have to buy good nets in the US/Europe since the 3rd world tends to use el-cheapo cotton whereas nylon is a much more expensive fabric (polyester is in-between).
Avoid mono-filament polyester no-see-um netting if you are JUST trying to protect against mosquitos. No-see-um netting is for protection against gnats/midges/sand flies which are much smaller than mosquitoes. The holes in no-see-um netting are much smaller than the holes in mosquito netting, and hence block the breeze much more. Also, the mono-filament polyester used in no-see-um netting does not absorb Permethrin effectively.
3) If you treat a hammock with permethrin, then mosquitoes won't be able to bite through the bottom, since they will die as soon as they land on the hammock. If you sleep naked agaist the hammock, then your skin will tend to deactivate the permethrin, so you'll probably need to retreat every 2-3 months rather than just every 6-12 months as with a mosquito net. Also, since hammocks are large, you may need several bottles of treatment chemical to soak the whole thing effectively.
4. Permethrin treatment will last longer if you keep the fabric away from sunlight and oxygen. So if you carry a netting around but only use it occasionally, then I would recomment storing in a plastic bag when not in use.
"You absolutely need to soak mosquito netting in Permethrin"
This chemical sounds great, I do think the idea of repelling the mosquitoes from holes, or the edges is a goood idea.
I will go and buy some here in Togo, Africa.
No-see-ums is a big problem, I used repellant on my ankle often.
I wonder where there is chrysantheum plants?
I am in favor of treatment, however here in Africa, the cost is a huge problem.
However, they have not convinced the locals to use the nets. I think there is an essential obstacle that needs discovered. The locals do not buy the idea of Mosquito nets.
I do, I am lying under one now, it it is daytime, so I have it up. I am thinking seriously about buying some screen for the windows, that maybe I can tack up and take down. This room in Amlame, Togo has a wood frame and I could cover easy and cook.
The girl next to me, does not even use sheets, or Mosquito net, she is from Togo, the younger sister or the owner.
I only found two photos on your site of the mosquito net you use.
HoboTraveler Mosquito Net Photos
What does it look like when packed? I'm curious as to how compact yours is.
I'm going to buy one soon and am leaning towards getting the light free standing ones that you don't have to hang. Untreated.
>I'm going to buy one soon and am leaning towards getting the light free standing ones that you don't have to hang. Untreated.
A free standing bug-tent, such as the ones sold at rei.com is a good idea. Another possibility is a simple bug-bivy which only needs to be supported by a hook on the wall above the head. Since most beds rest with the head end against the wall, you can drive a nail above the head if needed. With the type of net shown in Andy's photos, you need an overhead support and that is going to be tough to find or create in most hotel rooms. The advantage of Andy's net is that it is much cooler because of all the space it creates.
Eric, why are you opposed to treating your net with Permethrin? This is what the UN recommends (that phrase "traite avec insecticide" in the UN sign is referring to permethrin), this is what the military requires and what everyone who has studied the subject recommends. Permethrin is the same chemical used in dog flea/tick collars, so if you've ever touched one of those, you've been exposed to it. It is also the same chemical found naturally in chrysanthemum plants. Long-term studies have shown the human body easily metabolizes and excretes this chemical if absorbed. And in any case, there is little chance of absorbing the chemical from a piece of netting. Even from clothing worn directly against the skin, the amount of chemical absorbed is negligible. I'm certainly not in the business of pushing Permethrin, but I have a feeling there is some knee-jerk fear of chemicals going on here. I say this because I felt the same way about the permethrin myself. It does stink something fearsome in the form it comes in the bottle. But now that I've used the chemical for a while and studied the subject more, I realize I was just being irrational.
(PREVENTION IS BETTER THEN CURE)
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