Make sure your summer is skeeter-free

Protect yourself from Mississippi’s unofficial state bird

What’s the worst part about summer? The heat? Nope. The fresh-out-of-school kids terrorizing the neighborhood? Maybe. In my estimation it’s no one thing but rather hordes of a certain small thing; mosquitoes. The agony of mosquitoes generally starts around the time turkey season is in full swing and continues way too long, into early bow season. However, there’s a remedy that you ought to be familiar with if you aren’t already: Thermacell. I learned what  Thermacell is a few years back on a turkey hunt in Mississippi. Swarms of the blood-suckers were making it impossible for me to sit still and I was fast losing my patience. A buddy said he’d had no problem with them because of a “new-fangled contraption” (as he put it) he kept in his vest. It was a Thermacell, and my life outdoors has changed since I became acquainted with them.

I recently became the proud owner of both of Thermacell’s newest units, the MR450 and the Backpacker. My wife, cousin and I were frying trout in my front yard when the subject of mosquitoes came up. I mentioned I had a surefire way of keeping them at bay and retrieved the bigger MR450 unit form inside. I installed the butane fuel tube, slid a pad underneath the grill and with a matter of minutes the unit created what Thermacell calls the “Zone of Protection.” That’s marketing speak for the 15 x 15 foot mosquito-free area that’s created after the unit has been running for few minutes.

My cousin Andy lives down the bayou in Raceland and has a dreadful population of mosquitoes just outside his stoop, where he sits, has a drink and lets Daisy the Mutt romp. As I was enlightened to the Thermacell years ago, I figured he could use one unit more than I could use two, so I gave him the Bakcpacker, the smaller of the two.

The Backpacker itself is smaller than the MR450, but once you get it all set up with a fuel can it’s bigger. But, as the name implies it’s designed to be toted on hikes when you would likely have one of these fuel canisters that’s commonly used for camping. I thought it was one of the standard Coleman propane units, but it’s not. Look for  JetBoil Jetpower isobutane/propane fuel cans or something similar. A small 3.53-ounce keg has enough gas to keep the little Backpacker going for up to 90 hours. That’s a lot of skeeter blocking.

The MR450 retails for $34.99 and the Backpacker, with extra pads and a bag, will set you back about $40.