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AOJ Outdoor Tips

Tip #49 Expanding Your Bug-free Zone!

Mosquitos, white sox, and no-see-ums are pesky biting insects found everywhere in Alaska and make it downright uncomfortable to enjoy the outdoors when they get thick. Bug sprays and "dopes" work OK if you don't mind rubbing those chemicals on your body and into your skin, but in some situations the presence of liquid bug repellant on your hands may taint the fishing bait or even the lure and fly you touch and result in a lower fishing success rate. These liquid repellants can also "attack" and destroy certain synthetic products when they come in contact with each other.

The most popular bug repellant to cover large areas such are patios, decks, and yards is the PIC mosquito coil. These coils use an incense style delivery system where you light one end and it burns as an ember producing smoke containing the repellant. As the air currents spread the smoke around the bugs high tail it out of the area. These really come in handy when you are barbequing or batch processing a boatload of sockeye salmon you just dipped from the river. The problem is the small metal coil holders (see photo) sometimes aren't very appropriate for placing these coils strategically around your work or recreation area. There are "store bought" holders such as the one shown in the photo which twists apart to receive the lit coil and can be hung from just about anything. Other manufactured coil holders are made of pottery clay and similar materials and are heavy, bulky and don't hang. These fancy holders will run you $7 to $11 EACH.

Fred Zumbuhl from Sterling comes to the rescue with his very inexpensive method of producing as many coil holders as you may ever need for just a few cents each and they work as well or better than most of the high priced units.

Purchase a one foot by three (or four) foot piece of metal screen at your local hardware store. Cut the pieces of screen into units that are 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. Fold the piece in half. Then on either edge adjoining the folded edge, bend the screen over itself, thereby creating a holder with two sides open. Insert a wooden pencil or dowel between the two halves of screen and gently reshape the metal fold to create a bit of a space or gap between the two sides so that it won't pinch the mosquito coil. (The coil may extinguish itself if the screen is pressed tightly against the coil.) Add a loop of cord or an "S" shaped piece of wire for hanging on whatever objects are handy around the area you want to protect. For less than the price of a single store bought PIC holder, you can make a half dozen of these in just a few minutes and have all the protection you need for large areas or where changing air currents require positioning coils in many locations.

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