I live in Central Texas and we’ve had an extremely rainy winter and spring. This equates an absolutely heinous mosquito, chigger and tick season. Our home is down in a hole and seasonal creeks running through the property add to the favorable conditions for the incessant blood suckers. Toad & Co.’s recently expanded Debug collection posed a way to help defend against the formidable enemies lurking in the woods, utilizing the Insect Shield brand of permethrin treatment. The Debug Quick Dry LS Shirt and Debug Trailblaze Pant became my armor of choice recently during cedar clearing missions in the swarms of bloodthirsty insects. Here’s what you need to know.
The cotton/polyester blended long sleeve shirt feels comfortable against the skin and is actually quite airy, something that is welcomed in the formidable Texas humidity. The pant’s “Lightrange” nylon/spandex fabric, combined with a gusseted crotch, aids mobility and proved durable as well. Both shirt and pant fabrics are Bluesign approved before treatment with Insect Shield and carry UPF ratings in excess of 45. The clothing feels normal in all ways, with no noticeable odors present that might indicate some form of treatment.
Permethrin treated apparel works differently than the usual insect repellent. Most repellents attempt to keep the offenders from making contact, where permethrin kills them once they do stray too close. Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that mimics the natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower and is 2,250 times more toxic to ticks than it is to humans, making a tiny amount very effective.
Insect Shield technology was born in 1996 as a response to a request from the US Military to bond permethrin to uniforms, resulting in a patent pending process and proprietary formulation. After years of steady increase in the number of Lyme Disease cases, West Point Military Academy treated their uniforms with Insect Shield in 2002, resulting in zero cases afterwards. The US Military, Marine Corps and West Point Academy continue to treat uniforms with Insect Shield to help protect against insect borne diseases. In 2003, the EPA granted a registration for Insect Shield apparel as a safe and effective repellent against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, midges and chiggers, with no restrictions on use, which is viable through 70 washings.
The Toad and Co. Debug apparel indeed demonstrated effectiveness at keeping mosquitos at bay during my vigorous cedar clearing efforts on the homestead. Our child cannot even venture outdoors during the dusky parts of the day thanks to mosquitos so thick that the swarms are visible from a distance. Unfortunately, these are the times of the day that are most open for me to cut down the equally invasive, non-indigenous cedar trees.
Normally I douse myself with repellent and hope for the best but still sustain plenty of mosquito bites along the way. Since the arrival of the Debug Quick Dry LS Shirt and Debug Trailblaze Pant, I have foregone the application of any other repellents and have fared so much better during my forays into the swarms. The only places I have been bitten are on my face and head. The ticks and chiggers have yet to amass their forces, so I can’t comment on the effectiveness against those equally unpleasant armies, but I can absolutely say that the Insect Shield did indeed prevent mosquitos from biting. I am certain applying repellent to the skin would improve results even further.
Summer is approaching and along with it, bug season. In many parts of the south, the large amount of rain during the winter and spring guarantees increased amounts of biting insects. The Toad and Co. Debug line can provide an effective and convenient layer of protection against the nuisance and possible health issues posed by these creatures, and the clothing looks good enough for family outings too. I felt bad thrashing mine through the thickets, as they are some of the nicest looking pieces of clothing I own. I just might have to get another set to save for summertime outings that don’t involve chainsaws and machetes.
The Debug Quick Dry LS shirt is priced at $89, whiel the Debug Trailblaze pant runs $99. Find out more at toadandco.com.