Letter RE: A Forgotten Prep and Barter Item

Dear HJL,

I have gone back and, over a period of time, reviewed all of the entries in SurvivalBlog since its inception in 2005, plus numerous other survival forums. Among the most commonly posted forum inquiries are questions such as, “What do I need to add to my BOB/GOOD bag, BOL storage, et cetera?” Also, many ask, “What would be a good barter item for after the SHTF?”

Last evening, I reached up to remove an item from a shelf in the shop. I was very glad that I had it on hand and realized that I did not recall having seen it on a prep or barter list. It’s mosquito spray! It sits next to the cockroach spray, the spider spray, and the flying insect spray.

We all know that mother nature has a tremendous ability to repair itself and to revert to, well, nature when man does not interfere. Pests are pests during normal times and, during a major SHTF or TEOTWAWKI, we should certainly prepare for mother nature to attempt to reassert herself and send her small and sometimes dangerous pests out to be fruitful and multiply. This could only get worse if the event involved a die off with deceased people providing easy pickings for all sorts of critters, including maggots. After all, we do look like prime rib to a mosquito, and people, of course, die from Lyme disease carried by ticks and anaphylactic shock from bees and occasional spider bites, among other things. We can’t count on an ER room during a major event, remember? Plague and disease carried by insects of some type might itself be the next major SHTF. Who knows?

I think that one of the most valuable items during a serious event might be insect killers– bug spray, fly spray, and things to kill or ward off mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders, ticks, moths, and so forth.

This might be even more of an issue for those of you planning on bugging out by hitting the road and surviving in the woods. You wouldn’t be the first person to sleep on top of an ant hill. DON’T ask me how I know this! For those of us with a little space and real estate to protect, the answer is usually to buy concentrated pesticides and mix and spray them in bulk. You are probably already doing that if you have some property. However, what about your neighbor who lives in an apartment or duplex? I think a great barter item might be a couple of cases of assorted insect cans. These are often available at the local dollar stores, and Ace hardware stores (not a paid ad) often have their brand of spray on sale for two for the price of one. I often use the cans for “touch up” or for indoor eradication of pests when the 5-gallon sprayer of Malithion would be overkill and result in evacuation of the bedroom for a while. Remember, if you keep any spray can for too long and it loses pressure, you can always turn it over and CAREFULLY pop it open with an old style “church key” beer bottle opener to pour the contents out and put it into a pump style spray bottle or pour it onto an infested area. If you have to do this, go outside, point it away from your body and go very slowly to release any residual pressure before opening the can enough to pour out the contents. Also, remember to wear eye protection and gloves.

In addition, you might consider adding a couple of cans of “OFF” (or something similar to protect your person) and also something to protect an area . Avon Skin So Soft mixed 50/50 with water works for MOST people to repel bugs, especially mosquitoes. It also makes you smell better (especially after two weeks in the woods) and actually softens your skin.

Be safe and prep as if your life depended on it.

– GLD

P.S. What about bigger pests? Rat traps for barter?

HJL Adds: So far, there seems to be a resounding vacuum of double blind tests on DEET vs other repellents. Without the true double-blind test, the results of the test are guaranteed to be biased. I also find it interesting that Avon does not push their “Skin So Soft” as a repellent in the U.S., though they are marketing a similar product in Europe, specifically as a repellent. I have found that the best repellent is a 100% DEET on clothing, including a mosquito net around the face. Just don’t use it on bare skin.

A word of caution is in order. A couple of years ago, I had a “go” bag for a local Ham event. In the bag was a can of OFF. The lid came loose in the process of moving and something pressed up against the spray button. When I pulled out my 25-foot coil of coax, the plastic had melted off of the wire and was a large pile of black goo in the bottom of the bag. DEET eats plastic! It doesn’t take a large amount either. I also lost a lens hood for my camera by spraying OFF (Deep Woods variety) on my legs while wearing shorts and then resting the heavy lens on my legs as I sat awhile. I’d rather not have that on my bare skin, even if there is no evidence that it causes problems. Still, there is no more effective solution, if you use it with the appropriate netting or clothing.

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