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  1. #1
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    Default Mosquitoes on the Foothills Trail

    I plan to hike the Foothills Trail the 3rd week of March and I'm not sure if I'll need any bug protection. I never have on any other trips but I've never backpacked in SC before. I have family in Greenville, would the mosquito conditions there mirror conditions on the trail? If so, I can just call them as I'm packing up and ask if I they're getting bit yet.
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    That's a bit early for mosquitoes at all. A few early risers won't require protection. Late May and all of June they can be a bother.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    I plan to hike the Foothills Trail the 3rd week of March and I'm not sure if I'll need any bug protection. I never have on any other trips but I've never backpacked in SC before. I have family in Greenville, would the mosquito conditions there mirror conditions on the trail? If so, I can just call them as I'm packing up and ask if I they're getting bit yet.
    March can hold all sorts of weather conditions in the Southeast. I would take a small amount of insect repellant, the FHT has lots of water and low areas for breeding. I live in Atlanta last week we had 3-4 days of warmer temps and saw mosquitoes around my deck.

    Nice trail have fun.

  4. #4
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    I hiked it in October using a netless hammock, no issues. What does tend to happen more around spring is that gnats and other small flying insects - more so than mosquitoes - start to come out in the warm sun. Generally, not an issue at night. A lot depends on how cold the winter is.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
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  5. #5
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    Considering all the water, maybe because it's vastly moving non stagnant in nature, I've never experienced heavy mosquito or gnat pressure. I've only had to pull one tick off me as well so it hasn't been a tick haven experience either. I've never looked into why this might be the case. Most I find is minor gnat Bzz Bzz Bzz around my face occurrences but it's always been light pressure mimicking Scope's experience and that's in warmer months when I'm pushing it, sweating. Bear Camp Creek area is a lower lying lush bit boggy segment(trail is fine though) with some short foot bridges across creeks and camps where I've camped a few times in summer where I did experience low-med skeeter and gnat pressure. This is a known borderline temperate rain forest area.

    As far as protection only thing I've ever brought is a very small amount of DIY almond oil base with a few drops of different essential oils in a very small 1 oz or so spritzer bottle or .5 oz Sawyer(I think) small pump picaridin bought at REI or Wally world or the smallest bottle of Repel Lemon Eucalyptus oil.

    FWIW, I'm a big fan of matching the level of protection to the anticipated insect pressure and specific insects. That includes being a big fan of not slathering myself unnecessarily with anything. Doing so can indirectly accelerate gear performance fall offs of rain and wind jackets for example, affect eyewear, WPness and WR of other pieces, etc as well as decrease usable lifespans of pricier pieces. I've had this occur too many times. I've tried to observe how to do things better. Chemically applied insect repellent products attract dirt and increase grime build up. Few mention this. The level and type of pressure on the FHT is a prime time to experiment with other effective repellent measures IMO instead of taking the common rah rahed DEET advised approach. What's deemed effective has been heavily influenced in how 'effectiveness' has been pre determined in the repellent studies...and it favors DEET sales. Coincidence? Many times I could have lowered insect pressure to an acceptable level by simply choosing my camps more mindfully onto higher elevation dryer sites, wearing a LS shirt, and/or going into pants mode.

    FWIW, even though risks certainly exist, we have been fear marketed into accepting there is always a high risk with high pressure and high chemical need so we can be kept buying and using more insect repellents then what might be required. Don't assume that isn't occurring. LOL. It's exhibited here on WB. Repelling or avoiding insects DOES NOT DOES NOT have to always be addressed through buying and using chemical repellents.

  6. #6
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    Default Mosquitoes on the Foothills Trail

    Thanks for the info, everybody. I am really looking forward to this one.

    Dogwood, I'm with you as far as staying away from DEET. I am chemically sensitive, so I taste that stuff all day and night if I use it. My bug prevention method would be to carry my jungle hammock or bring my bivy if I decide im sleeping on the ground for this one. Sounds like I won't need to worry unless things really warm up in March.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

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    TU Devoidapop. I wasn't specifically hating on DEET. It's not my typical approach to solely use DEET but I still recognize situations where it might be included so leave that approach as an option open on the table. More accurately, surmising, I was saying match the protective measures to anticipated level of insect pressure and the insects one is trying to protect oneself.

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    I've always found DEET to be very effective at repelling insects, but when combined with dripping sweat, I didn't like it getting in my eyes or mouth. What's more, DEET isn't so kind to some plastics. My watch has a stainless steel back, but the plastic casing sometimes is in contact with my arm (as is the synthetic band), and that has proven to be a bit destructive to the integrity of the plastic. I have thrown away my 100% DEET, and for my other stuff (35%?) I use much more carefully, like when there's no watch.

    Recently tried Picaridin and it is supposedly equally effective. It's my understanding that it does not melt plastics. However, I've noticed 2 things. One is that it leaves my skin a little clammy, and second, when sweat drips off my forehead to the corners of my lips, I get a numbing sensation for a bit.

    Although I definitely am not anti-chemical, I agree that it is easier and much more pleasant to simply wear long sleeves when possible. Saves you from having to do sunscreen on the arms too. Bug headnets are effective too, but they're not so pleasant either, since they cut airflow - and you're likely to need such headnets when good airflow would be desirable! but they do work without making your eyes sting or your lips numb.

  9. #9

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    It has been very wet in SC this year and It could easily be 80 degrees in March. If your family in Greenville has them you might have a problem. If your family doesn't have them than wouldn't worry. I would be more worried about ticks and chiggers. Spray your clothes and gear with permethrine and you should be fine.

  10. #10
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    I use a systemic bug repellent known as B complex vitamins and Apple Cider Capsules and Garlic.Works for me.
    Deet ate some of my gear.Martin's 10 percent permethrin is what my clothes get treated with,just keep it away from children and pets when you're doing it and let the clothes dry completely on a line before wearing.

    Mosquitoes used to find me in a matter of seconds when I get up at night.Now they don't like me at all.If I do use a liquid repellent it will be picardin based and sprayed on a hat,bandana,gaiters,or back of hands and just a little to edge of ears.

    Incidentally,my cholesterol has gone down since I started using Apple Cider Vinegar.Could be a coincidence but it is supposed to have positive effects on health as does Garlic and B vitamin complex.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    Deet ate some of my gear.Martin's 10 percent permethrin is what my clothes get treated with.
    While the active ingredient is the same not all permethrin products are made to bind with fabric and are not labeled for that use. Some products Labeled for clothes and gear. J.T. Eatons, Duration™ Permethrin 0.5% RTU, and of course Sawyers. Martin's in not labeled for use on clothing. Please be safe using pesticides. The label is law (federally in fact) when dealing with pesticides.

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