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Field Studies


Extensive scientific tests have been conducted by numerous resources verifying the efficacy of
ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent against mosquitoes, black flies, and sand flies. These tests have resulted in a sizable amount of scientific data.
*The entire library of test data is available on request. Result highlights are below.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute Selected ThermaCELL as the #1 Tabletop Mosquito Repellent
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the consumer product evaluation laboratory of Good Housekeeping, reviewed four tabletop devices aimed at keeping mosquitoes away from the patio area.
Their favorite was the ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Lantern, which uses an allethrin repellent mat and butane cartridge.

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Tested ThermaCELL against Mosquitoes in Costa Rica – Ratings were Outstanding
Scientific testing was conducted on the ThermaCELL® Mosquito Repellent unit for effectiveness against mosquitoes and other biting insects by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Costa Rica. The product was tested from a distance of 7.5 feet, 15 feet and 25 feet. The test data showed that ThermaCELL was very effective in protecting people up to 25 feet away from the unit.
Research results are as follows:

  • 96.7% protection from mosquitoes
  • 95.8% from culicoide
  • 95.5% protection from sand flies

ThermaCELL is a new Area Repellent System developed under a cooperative research and development agreement between The Schawbel Corporation and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. This area repellent device has been tested by Dr. Michael Perich in the field with U.S. Army Units in Korea and found to provide excellent protection (Up to 98% from biting mosquitoes especially Malaria Vectors in Korea). Unpublished studies conducted at other locations gave excellent comparable results.

  • A study conducted in the "Joint Security Area" near Pan Mun Jom in the summer of 1998 thoroughly evaluated ThermaCELL in open guard posts and bunkers.
  • Label directions were closely followed. Mosquito landing counts were used to collect data on the mosquito populations in the bunker study. Standard mosquito light traps baited with CO2 were used in guard posts to measure the level of mosquito activity before and during treatment. Control sites were maintained with no ThermaCELL treatment.
  • Ninety Five plus percent (95%) of the mosquitoes captured were Anopheles sinensis, the primary malaria vector for the region.
  • A level of protection from malaria mosquitoes of 81% to 98% was achieved using ThermaCELL in open bunkers and guard posts.

These results are the best yet reported for a product developed for use as an area repellent system.

Scientific Coordination Tested ThermaCELL Against Black Flies in Maine
Scientific Coordination, an independent consulting firm specializing in insect repellent providing regulatory affairs support and testing, conducted a study in central Maine. The field tests were carried out in areas of high black fly infestation. The study commissioned against black flies used a protocol that meets the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) guidelines.
Research results are as follows:

  • The ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent works remarkably well against black flies.
  • Protection is greatest 1.15 meters away from the unit where 79% protection was provided.
  • The test conducted by Scientific Coordination in Maine was done under windy conditions. Thereport states that in no-wind conditions, the protection level would most likely have been higher.

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Allethrin Fact Sheet

ThermaCELL™ Mosquito Repellent uses a repellent known as Allethrin. Below is information on this repellent.
What is Allethrin?
Allethrin is a synthetic analog (chemical copy) of a naturally occurring insecticide, pyrethrin, found in the pyrethum flower, a member of the chrysanthemum family.
How effective is Allethrin?

  • Mosquitoes, sand flies and no-see-ums: up to 98% effective. Protection is greatest at 7.5 ft (15 ft diameter) and closer to the unit.
  • Black Flies: up to 79% protection. Protection is greatest 3.75 ft (7 feet in diameter) from the unit.

Testing was done in windy conditions. In no-wind conditions, the protection level would most likely have been higher.
What happens when Allethrin is used in the environment?
Allethrin in an outdoor environment will biodegrade in a relatively short time and is not considered a persistent pesticide. Allethrin will be broken down into water, CO2, and other carbon based materials. The longevity of Allethrin in the environment varies from 1-2 hours in the atmosphere to less than 8 hours in an aqueous environment. Allethrin is known as a “knock-down,” quick-acting pesticide that has no residual activity because of its short half-life in the environment.
Is Allethrin safe to use around adults and children?

  • Studies have been conducted on the affects of Allethrin. One such study was done by Toxicologist Anne Costello*. Below are some of the findings from the study.
  • When ThermaCELL is used outdoors as directed, the risk of exposure is low due to naturally occurring air movement.
  • When people are exposed to Allethrin by inhalation or touch, it is metabolized (or digested) very quickly. Allethrin does not “accumulate” in or stay in people’s bodies.
  • The study concluded that, even under “worst case scenario” conditions (a small indoor room with poor ventilation), ThermaCELL does not pose an unreasonable risk to humans (adults or children) because the exposure level is 2000 to 3000 times less than the No Observable Effect Level (NOEL) for Allethrin. NOEL is the highest dosage given to an animal that does not cause any significant health effects.

Are there any health risks?
If used according to the manufacturers instructions no risk to human health is imposed. ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent has sold hundreds of thousands of units and over a million refills. No health problems have been reported to the company.

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Consumers Learn Repellent Lingo as Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Flourish With West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis becoming more prevalent in the United States, consumers want and need to become more familiar with reading mosquito repellent labels. What is the active ingredient that makes one repellent more effective than another and when should a specific repellent be used? There are dozens of insect repellent formulations and hundreds of products today. When in doubt, it is best to look to the experts for advice.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of products containing active ingredients that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These products have brand names that consumers recognize such as OFF, Cutter, and ThermaCELL — an area repellent that is up to 98% effective and is quickly gaining popularity. Area repellents are a good solution for parents who do not want to put harmful repellents on their child’s skin.
When the EPA registers a repellent, it evaluates the product for efficacy as well as potential effects on human beings and the environment. EPA registration means that the EPA does not expect a product, when used according to the instructions on the label, to cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Repellents registered with the EPA have demonstrated a high degree of efficacy and contain active ingredients such as:

  • Allethrin: a synthetic analog of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers that is odor-free and is an alternative to lotions and sprays which must be reapplied to skin. Allethrin is an area repellent that is dispersed into the air and is up to 98% effective in fighting mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums.
  • DEET: (N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Repellents containing DEET are safe for adults and children when used according to directions. Don't put repellents with DEET on kids’ hands because it may get in their mouth or eyes.
  • The CDC warns: Use these repellents carefully as DEET in high concentrations may be harmful to kids.
  • Permethrin: a cousin to Allethrin, is recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Permethrin is not to be used directly on the skin.
  • Picaridin: (KBR 3023) forms a barrier on your skin, which blocks an insect’s ability to locate humans. Picaridin was tested against mosquitoes, flies and ticks in both field studies and in laboratory cage tests. Picaridin provides equal or longer protection than identical concentrations of DEET. Efficacy against ticks has been demonstrated in laboratory cage tests.
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus [p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)] is a plant-based repellent. In two recent scientific publications, when oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes found in the US, it provided protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET.

What repellent should be used when?
Hiking, biking or walking in cooler weather
Applying permethrin to your clothing ahead of time will provide greater protection.
Enjoying the patio, at a camp site or spectator sport; gardening at dusk or dawn
Area repellents, such as ThermaCELL products that use Allethrin, provide hours of protection, are highly portable and create a 15 x 15 foot zone of protection. The hand-held units and lanterns are up to 98% effective in fighting biting insects and are affordable. The ThermaCELL lantern was voted #1 Tabletop Mosquito Repellent by Good Housekeeping Institute.
Playing a sport at dusk or dawn
For many hours outside (over 3-4 hours) and/or where biting is very intense – look for a repellent containing more than 20% DEET.
Helpful Tips -Even if you’re going out for 10 minutes use a repellent —that’s long enough to get bitten.

  • Products with more than 50% DEET DO NOT offer additional protection.
  • For shorter periods of time, repellents containing less than 20% DEET, a repellent with 7% picaridin, or a product containing oil of lemon eucalyptus may provide adequate protection.

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Since West Nile virus has been detected in almost all states this season according to Center for Disease Control, trying to avoid getting bitten by potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes needs to be taken seriously. There are a few simple steps to take in and around your home. Create a Mosquito Protection Plan for your family; be sure to educate your children about the potential harm of mosquito bites and empower them to protect themselves against these bothersome, biting buggers.
This includes the following:

  • Wear protective clothing at dusk and twilight hours; long pants and long sleeves will minimize skin exposure and light colors are best. Always have a change of appropriate clothing in the car.
  • Read the labels of repellent sprays thoroughly as they can contain potentially harmful chemicals, such as DEET. Sprays need to be reapplied frequently to maintain effectiveness. Be cautious as aerosols can be easily sprayed in the eyes. Also, tired children tend to rub their eyes, potentially spreading harmful repellent sprays and creams.
  • Choose safe area repellents such as 98% effective ThermaCELL that creates a 15x15ft protection zone for your family by releasing a repellent into the air.
  • Bath oil, such as Avon’s Skin So Soft, does offer some protection from mosquitoes but they are effective for less than 30 minutes.
  • Don’t eat bananas during mosquito season as sugar-loving, female mosquitoes love banana oil.
  • Try spreading vanilla and olive oil on skin to ward off mosquitoes and ticks naturally. Outside Your Home
  • Place screens over water collection devices such as cisterns, rain barrels, tanks, etc.
  • Change bird bath and pet dish water every other day, especially in the summer.
  • Cover pools and Jacuzzis. Be sure to store barrels, wheel barrels and flower pots upside down or in a shed.
  • Rid your property of any still water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Try Citronella candles for a quick solution as a repellent but protection is not strong and is short lived, up to 30 minutes.
  • Install or repair screens in all areas of your home; check attic and cellar windows and screen doors for mosquitoes can find their way to warmer zones.
  • Electronic repellents that emit high frequency sounds do not repel mosquitoes or other pests. Additionally, electric bug zappers do not control mosquitoes or other insects.
  • Plant plenty of marigolds around your yard as they serve as a natural bug repellent.

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