20170720A.jpgThis has been a rainy year where I live and rain means mosquitoes, enough to make puttering around in the garden, which is something I do a lot of, a bit annoying. For a long session outdoors, I’ll take the time to apply a spray-on mosquito repellent, but often I’m just pulling a weed or two on my way to do something else. That’s why I’m finding the clip-on mosquito repellent (I’ve only seen Off! clip-on locally) you’ve probably seen on TV particularly handy.

It’s a small plastic unit containing a silent battery-powered fan (batteries included) that emits a chemical repellent called metofluthrin, a pyrethroid. You clip it onto your belt or pocket and turn it on when mosquitoes are around. It has all the official government approvals and is considered safe, but who really knows? DEET, which is what I would otherwise use, has its critics too, but I’ve learned to live with any risk there, so…

If you don’t feel at ease with chemical repellents, stay indoors. I’m willing to take the risk!

A Gardening Tool

20170720B.jpgI’m finding the device makes a great gardening tool. It doesn’t seem to work well if I’m moving through my garden at any great speed (I assume my movement is diluting the vapor), but when I stop to remove a few weeds, hand water or plant something, mosquitoes do stay away. I switch it off when I’m in the sun (where there are rarely any mosquitoes) and on when I move into the shade and on cloudy days (where there are).

I’ve talked to a few other people who tried it and most find it effective. Apparently not against hordes of mosquitoes, as in fishing-camp numbers (a thorough dousing in DEET would be the answer there), but for moderate numbers, it works like a charm.

Each device is supposed to last 12 hours (I haven’t used mine’s resources up yet, after about two months of gardening, as I only use it sporadically), then you can buy a refill for about $5 to $6. The device itself costs about $12 in Canada; $10 in the US. I’ve seen it in both drug stores and hardware stores, but it reallly should be in garden centers.

Please note that S.C. Johnson, the product’s manufacturer, did not pay me to write this testimonial … but if S.C. Johnson reads this and wants to send me a huge check or a lifetime supply of Off! Clip-on, I’ll gladly accept!20170720A

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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