Studio Notes

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

Ticks, Chiggers, and oh my. What else do we need to worry about?

AKA, Yuck, Eek, Ewe, Argh, or commonly as Get that f**king thing off of me! Image Source:

AKA, Yuck, Eek, Ewe, Argh, or commonly as Get that f**king thing off of me!

Image Source:

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Could you be my neighbour?

I have been posting too frequently, but this past couple of weeks have been quite energising so I have a lot of ideas, experiences and whatnot to share here on Studio Notes nearly every other day. I was going to wait a couple of more days after my last post, but this one could not wait because it is that season again. Anything that has more than 6 legs bugs me. Pun intended. Let us see, that would be ticks, chiggers, bedbugs, spiders, centipedes, and millipedes. Did I miss anything else? I especially do not like ticks, chiggers, and bedbugs! 

This is the season when I and other plein air artist folks venture out into the fields and woods to paint. So what do we need to do to keep those buggers from reaching and biting our fragile skins? I learned about this synthesised compound called permethrin which is used by the United States Army. It is applied onto clothing in liquid form. Clothing can be soaked in it or sprayed with it. The clothing needs to be drenched. After the clothing has air dried, it is "safe" to wear, and its effectiveness could last up to 70 days or up to,  according to Wikipedia, 57 full days of UV exposure.

In its wet state this chemical is harmful to felines, so be very careful with how and where you apply it! If mixed into water or dirt, it will linger for a long time, so this could become an environmental contaminant if not used and disposed of properly. It is also an indiscriminate bug killer which kills by damaging its nervous system. This means it also will kill the beneficial insects, so please be extra careful with how and where you apply and dispose of it.

AKA, Yuck, Eek, Ewe, Argh, or commonly as Get that f**king thing off of me! Image Source:

AKA, Yuck, Eek, Ewe, Argh, or commonly as Get that f**king thing off of me!

Image Source:

When properly applied to your clothing, and allowed to air dry, the treatment on the clothing could last maybe up to 70 days of UV exposure. Some users have claimed that the treatment on their clothing lasted for nearly 6 months, so your mileage depends on how often you are exposed to the sun. It is supposed to retain its effectiveness even after many washes (perhaps up to 70 washes). While applying it, I get headaches, so I wash up soon after. The effects on you may vary because you may be less sensitive than I am to most chemical exposures.

If you have cats, you must keep them away from this chemical because it is harmful to them, but it is not harmful to dogs. Again, this is an indiscriminate insect killer, and it can become a long-term environmental contaminant if not applied and disposed of properly. So please read the product's warning label.

When properly applied, and the clothing allowed to air dry overnight, any insects or eight-legged critters that land on the surface of the treated clothing will die because the chemical compound shuts down their central nervous system. Again, it will kill any kind of insect, so please be extra careful. You can do an online search for permethrin on Wikipedia, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Go Go, or Amazon. Pick your favourite online search engine and take it from there. I hope this was helpful.

By the way, there are natural alternatives to using permethrin. Artist Martin Campos recently introduced to me a product by Nantucket Spider. The company claims that it is The Official Bug Spray of Park Rangers. Okay, if they say so. I am trusting them. I bought two bottles to try out. Please do not fail me because I do not like 8-legged biting bugs.

This was the first time I have heard of this product. It is made with natural ingredients that you have to reapply every 90 minutes. When you are busy painting, it could be easy to forget, so set your timers to remind yourself to reapply a fresh application. Use their store locator to find the closest store that carries their products, but I would call first to make sure they have them in stock.

Happy plein air painting, hiking, and camping. Whichever floats your boat, but please be kind, be mindful and be safe.