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updated: 8/28/2013 6:21 PM

Finally, a remedy for buggin' out

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By the time you read this column I probably will have been presented with the Outstanding Citizen Award by my local village officials for actions above and beyond the call of good neighborhood behavior.

Even though I have served in the military, I have never experienced combat like the battles I've endured in recent times.

And this brings to mind a trip several years back to the North Seal River with noted mosquito hunter Mike Seeling.

We were ensconced in a fairly new cabin with many modern-day comforts and features.

After a very heavy-duty day of catching monster northern pike, we both decided to hit the sack after dinner. Of course we'd had a king's feast, because we deserved it.

I went off to dreamland in less than a minute, while Seeling was deeply engrossed in his paperback.

I was rudely awakened by the sound of Kamikazes attacking my head and ears. I ask you -- how many times can one swipe and smash one's head and ears with a rolled-up brochure made from high-gloss enamel paper before calling in a swat team (appropriately named)?

Silly me. I hadn't bothered to check an off-kilter window screen above my bed.

It wasn't until Seeling had his fill of those pests that we both looked outside and on the ground, only to discover the screen itself was down there.

The next evening I covered myself with small, anti-bug towelettes. But Seeling was stubborn and went to bed bareback, so to speak. After getting his share of bites and buzzes, Seeling affixed the screen where it belonged. Skirmishes like that one happened dozens of times in the north country.

That brings me to the present.

It's been a banner year for those territorial bloodsuckers. I have one acquaintance who contracted West Nile Fever from these dangerous creatures, while another friend stays confined to his home as the result of getting Lyme's Disease from a deer tick.

When I am home and not traveling, my wife and I spend a lot of time on our back deck before and after dinner.

Since we started this ritual earlier this year, we had been bombarded by mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums. If we were to enjoy the light breezes and wonderful aromas of our spruce trees and our neighbor's newly constructed cedar fence, I had to do something to protect both of us from looking like we had dueling cases of the mumps.

Of course we applied an over-the-counter temporary fix in a lipstick-like applicator called After Bite. But it's the before-the-bite mode I want to eliminate.

Enter ThermaCell's outdoor lantern.

This device will handle the back- and front-yard interlopers when I move it to either location.

I did not want to install one of those electronic bug zappers because of the constant noise, night and day; the accumulated smell of the hundreds if not thousands of mosquitoes sent to the great beyond and the nearly constant maintenance and cleaning that would entail.

The ThermaCell unit uses special insert pads to repel the biters, as well as black flies. I got my unit through the mail, but if you're fed up with battling mosquitoes, flies and other flying nuisances, you can easily purchase one of these at Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops.

And one other note: if that isn't enough glamorous action for you, there is also a light that can be turned on as you slay the beasts. As they are drawn to the light, the bugs are automatically given a dose of ThermaCell's unique knockout power.

And if someone from some animal rights groups knocks on your door and screams at you in a threatening manner, invite them to join you where you have the heaviest infestation of enemy dive bombers.

Make sure you offer them a cup of aromatic tea and some aftershave cologne.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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