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Old 06-16-2014, 04:28 PM   #1
jodyamorgan
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Question Bear Safe Bug Repellent

We are going to heading to the high peaks area in early July and trying to find a safe bug repellent to spay on all our packs and tents as well as ourselves, that does not attract the black bears in the area. Any validated suggestions?

Last edited by jodyamorgan; 06-16-2014 at 04:29 PM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:17 PM   #2
yellowcanoe
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Never saw bug repellent as a bear attractant.

You will be lucky to see a bear.

You can treat clothing with Permethrin. Why you need to spray bug repellent on packs and tents is beyond me. I've been camping in bug country since 1963.

I do use 100 percent DEET but very sparingly. It will dissolve plastics. Its meant to be used sparingly. Appropriate clothing goes a long way to avoiding the over reliance on bug repellent. There are lots of other bug repellents available that don't have the undesired effects of DEET.

I sense you have never been to the ADK's much and have some apprehensions. Bears go after things that look like food.. ie in July you will find them grubbing and berrying. More than half a bears diet is vegetables. Curiously there is anectodal evidence that bears find capsacin appealing. Thats the active ingredient in bear spray. Spray works by irritating the bears eyes. If you put the spray on the tent.. the capsacin remains and the bears eyes are not exposed. They do are attracted to the peppery scent. So don't do that.


You will probably need a bear canister and get a can of bear spray if you wish. But don't worry about the bug spray.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:52 PM   #3
RichieC
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We have forgotten to raise the bear bag leaving it nose height, we once left the strip steaks on a rock under the bear bag that was rigged after dark… the batteries and oatmeal made it 30' high over the water- but not the meat… I could go on for ever! in short we've done everything we could to call in bears, ( to on purpose) ... maybe we snore too loud… in 40 years, i have yet to see one… seen tracks and scat, and claw marks on a trunk… but no fur… and I'd like to!

However, we have been lucky and NOT usually in the high peaks where people do see & deal with them from time to time, we preferring canoes and lower lands. Sadly, if there ever was a mishap anywhere- it would make front page news- like the shark attacks of a few years ago, proclaiming a huge increase in them. It was a huge increase in reporting them!, the actual number was down. Freaked everybody out… scared to go into the water. And of the millions upon millions of people in the water every day, no death's. Never heard of anyone getting attacked by bears, only de-fooded.

High peaks do require a bear canister, and keeping food out of tents… the DEC has it figured out- just follow their common sense rules. Take normal precautions and you'll be just fine.

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Old 06-16-2014, 09:55 PM   #4
stripperguy
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I was sure when I read the post header that you wanted bug repellant that's safe for use on a bear!! Oops...
As others upthread have said, it should be no big deal, even in the high peaks.
I have been camping in the ADK's since 1960, and only have seen 2 bears in the wild. Plenty at town dumps, state campsites, etc, but in the woods? Naw.
Besides, all that's left now is mosquitoes and deer flies, and no seeums.
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Old 06-17-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
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Try honey.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:18 PM   #6
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I too have camped overnight in the Adirondacks many times per year for decades and have never seen a bear in the woods. Like others, no sign of them trying to get my food either. I normally hang it all, but not always. My experiences are not in the high peaks (except in winter).

The bugs may be there but donít worry about them getting on your pack or tent. The permethrin tip is appropriate for clothing as a deterrent but must be done ahead of time. Some clothing is sold with such treatment and I do feel they work (somewhat). I have found Repel brand repellant made from Lemon Eucalyptus fairly effective but not nearly as long lasting as even 15-25% DEET. You will need more of this than you would DEET due to periodic re-application.

For your campsite, I have found the Repel sticks effective if upwind of them, though a nice breeze and campfire (though not in the High Peaks) also help a lot. Have a long sleeved shirt & long pants with you in case they get bad. A hat is a must and better to put the bug spray on than your head or neck Ė particularly if you find the need for DEET.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:54 PM   #7
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Hello and Welcome, Jody!
I agree with everyone else that you probably won't have to worry about your bug spray attracting bears, but bears definitely appear on a regular basis in areas of the High Peaks such as Marcy Dam and Lake Colden, so I'd avoid scents like lemon eucalyptus or citronella, just in case.

I prefer an insect repellent with 20% Picaridin. It works just as well as Deet and doesn't harm skin or clothing, etc. You can find it from manufacturers such as Sawyer and Natrapel (the Sawyer brand has barely no scent at all) and at most gear stores, such as Campmor, EMS, REI, etc.

Make sure to cook far enough away from your camp site and avoid eating after dark if possible, when bears are more active. If you do use something with a scent, just stash it in your bear canister (required in the High Peaks).

Good luck! Debbie
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
yayabrazie
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I would stick with local bug spray that is made right in the Adirondacks, its tested right in the area. I bought mine in Saranac Lake.

Also about the bears...I have never ever seen one and I am an avid outdoorist.
Now about the black flies....there is nothing that will keep those suckers away other than the wind.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:35 PM   #9
bassanglers912
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yayabrazie View Post
Now about the black flies....there is nothing that will keep those suckers away other than the wind.
I swear on my son's life that my wife's perfume (happy by clinique) repels all insects, including black flies. It's been amazing over the past 12 years, she is always bug free, and I'm getting hammered by bugs. I even used the 70% DEET that I got issued when I deployed, and still got attacked. We hiked and she'd be yelling at me the whole time "you're not going to see anything waving your arms around like that-besides, there arent any bugs".
Easy for her to say as I'm getting swarmed by flying teeth. And all the time, i'm teasing her about bringing perfume camping. Then, one day, she forgets to put it on and gets swarmed. The next hike, we both use it, and i don't get bothered.
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassanglers912 View Post
I swear on my son's life that my wife's perfume (happy by clinique) repels all insects, including black flies. It's been amazing over the past 12 years, she is always bug free, and I'm getting hammered by bugs. I even used the 70% DEET that I got issued when I deployed, and still got attacked. We hiked and she'd be yelling at me the whole time "you're not going to see anything waving your arms around like that-besides, there arent any bugs".
Easy for her to say as I'm getting swarmed by flying teeth. And all the time, i'm teasing her about bringing perfume camping. Then, one day, she forgets to put it on and gets swarmed. The next hike, we both use it, and i don't get bothered.
Probably not the perfume. Different people attract (or don't) attract bugs to a different degree. I think it my have to do with how much their skins absorbs or doesn't absorb heat. I have one frient who attracts every bug in the area and I make sure to always invite him on hikes and put him in the maddle of us.

And yes, I'm serious.
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