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Anyone who has sat out on a porch or at a campsite during peak mosquito season knows how much of an annoyance the little blood-suckers can be. Constant fidgeting, swatting, and hand-waving to keep the mosquitoes from pestering you can turn a relaxing evening outdoors into a frustrating experience. It makes your skin crawl, leaves you itching for days, and can even lead to serious illnesses.
Mosquito repellents are an essential tool for keeping the bugs at bay, but each type has its drawbacks. Sprays are effective but also messy, smelly, and leave your skin greasy — they're great for day hikes but if you're sitting outside for an hour, they're not the best option. Citronella candles produce dubious results, and even a slight breeze will render them useless.
Butane-based area repellents, such as the Thermacell lanterns we previously wrote about, also have their drawbacks. Butane eventually runs out, so you'll have to buy both butane cartridges and repellent refills, meaning you'll spend more money in the long-term. It's also affected by altitude, and can't be carried on airplanes.
Thermacell has announced the development of a new mosquito repellent system called the Thermacell Radius. The company calls this product “its most significant innovation since the launch of its very first butane powered repellent in 1999” because it has eliminated the need for butane — the Radius runs on a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery. This battery activates and disperses metofluthrin repellent stored in a single liquid refill cartridge (good for up to 36 hours), and runs for up to 6 hours on a single charge.
The system is said to produce a continuous zone of protection that's ideal for a deck, patio, or campsite. There's also a built-in shut-off timer so it won't run all night if you forget to turn it off. Since there's no butane, it's great for air travel and use at higher altitudes, and you'll only need to replace one item when it runs out of repellent.
The Thermacell Radius has just been announced and will not be available until Spring 2018, at which time its MSRP will be $50. We'll be keeping an eye out for this new system, but in the mean time you can check out the complete product announcement PDF below or go to Thermacell.com for more info.
If you're interested in learning more about mosquito repellents, keep an eye out for our upcoming web feature from contributor Andy Schrader. He headed out into the bug-infested swamps of Florida to see how well these repellents work in the real world.