Thermacell Mosquito Repellent

I received this gadget a few years ago, but never really used it until recently.  It claimed to be a mosquito repellent but every time I tried using it I couldn't get it to work.  I'd test it at home and it would work fine.  I'd take it up to northern Arizona with me and I couldn't get it to light.  Most of the reviews I've ever read online are from areas where people really know mosquitoes, like Florida, so I figured I just had a dud.

I recently read where Thermacells don't work at altitude.  That solved the mystery for me as to why I could get it to work at 1000 feet above sea level, but not 5-7000 feet above sea level.  Not long after reading how Thermacells wouldn't work at altitude I read on a forum somewhere that if shaken for 30 seconds or so and then lit, the Thermacell will light up at altitude. 

Thermacells use a butane cartridge and an internal striker to produce a spark to light the butane.  A little element lights up, heating up a metal plate that a pad treated with allethrin sits on.  When heated, the allethrin undergoes volatization, which means it is released into the air as a vapor and repels mosquitos in a 15x15 foot area.  I found the 15x15 foot area to be a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely kept the mosquitoes off of my wife and I this past weekend while I was glassing.  It takes about 10 minutes for the Thermacell to heat up and become fully effective.  

When the pads are used up they turn from blue to white.  According to Thermacell, this takes about 4 hours.  A butane cartridge is supposed to last about 12 hours, or 3 pads. 

Now that the mystery of how to get my Thermacell to work at the higher elevations in northern AZ, I'll be getting some replacement butane cartridges and pads and make use of this handy gadget while glassing, sitting stands during early season hunts, or sitting in ground blinds.  Supposedly the repellent doesn't spook animals, but I'm not sure how true that is.


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