Innovative products take bite out of pesky bug problem

November 19, 2017
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Innovative products take bite out of pesky bug problem

After stain-proof shirts and crease-resistant pants its now turn for insect-repellent clothing.

A leading chain store Orvis dealing in a high-end sporting stores, has started selling shirts, pants, hats and socks treated with the same chemical used in bug spray to ward off pesky mosquitos and disease-carrying ticks.

Sold under the name Buzz Off, the clothing is expected to stave off of Lyme Disease cases, said David Weld, director of the American Lyme Disease Foundation.

Weld expects the number of reported cases this summer to exceed 25,000, up from the 23,763 cases reported in 2002. The actual number of people infected with the disease is probably five-to-ten times greater, since a majority of cases go unreported, he said.

Buzz Off clothing is treated with permethrin, a synthetic version of a natural insect repellant, said Abby Ward, a company spokeswoman, adding that the insecticide should remain active for up to 25 washings.

The Buzz Off clothes typically sell for $10 more than non-treated apparel, Ward continued. A long sleeve repellant shirt costs $69, pants go for $84 and hats for $24, she said.

But do Buzz Off clothes really keep bugs at bay?

Walzer, the editor, said she wore a Buzz Off shirt while gardening near her home in Guilford, on the coast of Connecticut, a usually buggy enclave given its proximity to the water.

“There are times in the summer when it’s so buggy it’s uncomfortable to be outside,” Walzer said. When she wore the Buzz Off shirt, she continued, “the bugs didn’t bother me at all.”

Based in Manchester, Vt., Orvis sells clothing through its catalog since 1856, with 28 stores operating around the country. Apart from the current range of insect-repellent clothing the company offers outdoor gear, including fly fishing rods, vests and waders, besides traditional items like brief cases, bedspreads and shoes.

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