I have never understood the purpose of mosquitoes. To me, they are just annoying disease carriers. I keep looking for that elusive, all natural repellent that will keep mosquitoes in another zip code, but I’ve had little luck finding it.
I was offered a couple of mosquito control gadgets to test out this spring, and jumped at the chance. We’ve had a very wet season, so this was a good year to test them. Both worked quite well. Today I’m writing about the Thermacell Patio Halo, a compact unit that you will completely forget is near you.
The Thermacell Patio Halo works by heating a small mat treated with Allethrin, a synthetic version of Pyrethrum. (Pyrethrum is a botanical insecticide made from chrysanthemum flowers.) It uses small, liquid butane cartridges to heat the mat.
The unit is easy to start, although if you’re jumpy about igniting things you can’t see, like me, it takes a few tries to get comfortable with it. All you do is slide the ignition ring to ON and you’ll hear a soft popping sound. That’s the butane being released. Wait 3-5 seconds, then slide the ring as far as it will go and you’ll hear the pop of the flame igniting.
They say you can tell if it’s on and heating up by looking through the white ZoneCheck viewing window – the band around the center of the unit. When you first turn the unit on, there is a pulsating light in the window. Once the temperature for releasing the allethrin is reached, it stops pulsing and you are now in a No Mosquitoes Welcome zone. This can take 10 – 30 minutes, to cover the entire area. I had a hard time seeing the light, on a bright day, but I could see a vapor rising, with a very faint scent.
I was very happy to find that the Thermacell Patio Halo really does work. Nothing flies at me, when I use it while sitting on the rockers under the maple tree. It’s so small, it doesn’t get in the way or draw attention to itself. The only real drawbacks are the costs of replacing the mats and butane cartridges and the release of a pesticide in your general vicinity. The replacement items can be purchased easily from many big box stores, like Home Depot and Wal-Mart, or from Amazon.com.
As for the pesticide, as I mentioned, it is a synthetic version of Pyrethrum, a botanical insecticide made from chrysanthemum flowers. Allethrin has been in use since 1949. You’ll find it in many insect sprays as well as in mosquito coils. It is considered safe, in small quantities, but it is an insecticide and should be used with care.
People with hay fever, and specifically a sensitivity to ragweed pollen, may have a similar reaction to Allethrin. If Allethrin comes in contact with skin, it can cause dermatitis, itching or burning. While it is considered safe to use around humans and birds, it is very toxic to fish, and may have an adverse affect on bees – something to consider if you use the individual portable models in the garden. For more on the safety and risks of allethrin, check out Cornell University’s Extension Toxicology Network.
These days, the annoyance and discomfort caused by mosquitoes is not the only consideration, when dealing with these pesky insects. You have to weigh the potential risk of exposure to insecticides against the threat of disease. If you want to spend time outside without spraying yourself directly with chemicals, Thermacell Patio Halo is a good alternative. It gives you a pleasant mosquito free environment with very little hassle or inconvenience.
Thermocell Halo Essentials
Package comes with:
- · Repeller Unit and Cover
- · 3 Mosquito Repellent Mats
- · 1 Butane Cartridge
Cost: About $40.00.
The unit is compatible with both the 4 and 12 hour mats.
Each repeller covers 225 sq. ft. or 15 ft. in diameter
You can insert up to 4 liquid butane cartridges at once and they will burn in sequence, each for about 12 hours. You can run the unit with just 1 cartridge, but having more cartridges inserted means you can keep the unit running longer, without having to change the cartridge.
The unit will run without batteries, but if you want to see the ZoneCheck Monitor, which tells you the unit is on and heated enough to start dispersing the Allethrin, you will need to insert 4 AA batteries.
Company Page: Thermacell Halo Mosquito Repellers