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Reviews > Health & Safety > Insect Repellents > BushMan Insect Repellent > Owner Review by Ralph Ditton

BushMan Personal Insect Repellent
Owner Review By: Ralph Ditton
16th February, 2009

                                                                                     Bushman 225 g
                                                                                      (courtesy of Bushman)

Personal Information

Name: Ralph Ditton
Age: 57
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 71 kg (156 lb)
Email: rdassetts at optusnet dot com dot au
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Product Information
Manufacturer: North Queensland Laboratories
Made in: 63 Koppen Terrace, Cairns.
Year manufactured: 2008
Product: Bushman 40% DEET Heavy Duty
Manufacturer's URL:
Manufacturer's listed net weight: 225 g (8 oz)
Measured gross weight: 284 g (10 oz)
MSRP: Not listed

Product Description
The  Bushman Personal Insect Repellent (herein after known as "repellent") is an aerosol spray designed for blood sucking insects, which comes in a tan coloured aluminium can with a yellow spray nozzle at the top. The cap is red. The propellant is a hydrocarbon comprised of a butane/propane mix which are flammable gaseous alkanes. An alkane is any saturated aliphatic hydrocarbon with the general formula CnH2n+2.

In this 40% DEET range there are two other sizes of cans available, the 60 g (2.1 oz ) net and 130 g (4.5 oz) net.

To operate, just press down on the top of the spray nozzle and hold the can about 15 - 20 cm (6 - 8 in) from exposed skin and lightly spray with a slow sweeping motion. The can can be held upside down to operate.

The active constituents/ingredients are 400g/kg (14 oz/lb) diethyltoluamide, ethanol, butane and propane. The liquid is clear and has a pH of between 5.5 - 6.5. It is non greasy and has a low odour which I find quite pleasant. In addition, the repellent is water and rub resistant.

The front of the can states that the repellent is good for repelling the following " sand flies, mosquitoes, ticks, leeches and march flies".
The repellent is supposed to repel insects for hours in areas of intense insect activity. The manufacturer states that protection should last for up to ten hours.

On the  reverse of the can there are warning and precautions listed along with first aid contact details if poisoning occurs. Basically, it is just common sense stuff.

                                                                                        reverse of can
                                                                                                (courtesy of Bushman)

Performance in the field
My first use of the repellent was over a weekend commencing on the Friday evening.
Whilst setting up camp around 6pm at Potters Gorge on the edge of Wellington Dam, I was attacked by March flies. I gave myself a spray of the repellent and that kept them at bay.
As darkness fell the March flies disappeared.

The next day was our big walk off-track looking for an old plane crash site. When we crossed to the other side of the dam wall and started our climb up the hill in temperatures fluctuating between 22 C and 26 C (72 and 79 F) to an elevation of 200 m (660 ft), our group of three was immediately attacked by scores of March flies.
Packs off and a very generous spray of the 40% DEET was applied. This had the effect of the March flies circling us continuously without landing on us whilst we kept moving. When I and the other two stopped for a break, the March flies would settle on our shoes, the only place we did not spray. They stayed with us all day whilst we were in the scrub without biting us. I did not reapply any more repellent as the initial spray was lasting very well.

Back at the campsite after the day's activities, I had a wash to get rid of the perspiration, sunscreen and insect spray.
Upon sitting down to enjoy a beer, I got bitten on a toe by a March fly that had landed on my Croc shoe and crept through one of the little round holes on top of the shoe to bite me. Needless to say, I gave my legs another light spray and had no more trouble.

Throughout the summer I liberally sprayed myself with the spray to protect me from any annoying flies and mossies whilst working outdoors in my profession. I have to get into shrubbery where wasps nest and other biting insects hide like spiders and ants. I am very pleased to advise that I have not been stung by a wasp or bitten by an ant or spider. The main spider types that I encounter are Huntsmen and Redbacks and the occasional White Tail spider which can make one very sick or temporarily numbed on one side of the body as I know. I have been bitten by one. I was partially numbed down the left hand side. I could draw a line down half of my face and onto the chest. One side was numb like I had been to the dentist with no feeling and the other side normal. Needless to say I am always on the look out for them.

I have been on twelve day walks with the Perth Bushwalking Club as either a helper or a leader and I always cover myself with a liberal dose of insect repellent so that I am ensured of an insect free day's walk. Invariably, I hand the can around for others to give themselves a spray after they become annoyed by flies on the walks. The sweat on our bodies seems to attract the flies. The flies do many figure of eights around me, frustrated in that they cannot land on me to sup the sweat from my face and arms.

A recent outing was back to my favourite camping area, Prickly Bark on the Coastal Plain Trail. It sits at an elevation of roughly 80 m (262 ft). The trail from the eastern terminus to the campsite is a sandy track that is mostly flat with a steep climb up a heavily vegetated sand dune over the last half a kilometre (0.31 mi) to the campsite. Vegetation is mainly Banksia trees, Grass trees (Balckboys) wildflowers and paper barks. Great fly and tick country, especially the Grass trees where ticks love to lay in wait on the tips of the fronds.
When I arrived and set up camp at 4.45 pm the temperature was 38.6 C (101.5 F) and the relative humidity was 21.5% as measured by my Kestrel 3,500 unit.

I had the dubious honour of having my own personal escort of bush flies during the walk to the campsite. As I had sprayed myself, the flies did not land on me.

Upon reaching the campsite and taking the pack off my back I was greeted by a swarm of March flies and a few black bush wasps that had taken up residence inside the three sided hut to escape the heat and for shade. Again they did not land and bite me.
I unpacked and set up my bivy under the shade of a tree.

Coming back inside the hut, the wasps and March flies had disappeared which made me curious as to where they could be. I then proceeded to spray the Bushman Personal Repellent inside the hut especially the walls, sleeping platforms and under the table. Then I sprayed under the sleeping platform that had lots of cobwebs and it was dark under there. Well, that got a reaction. Out came the March flies and the few black bush wasps very angry. They buzzed me vastly agitated so I gave them another burst for good measure whilst in flight. They got the message and took off out of the hut never to return whilst I was there.

                                        Prickly Bark hut
                                                                                               Prickly Bark campsite

In the above photo, the gap between the dirt floor and sleeping platform can be seen where the black bush wasps and March flies had taken shelter from the heat.

Giving myself another spray I then went exploring around the campsite because I did not want to get another tick bite as the campsite in summer is notorious for ticks.

Returning back to camp I was very sweaty and feeling sticky from the spray and sweat so I stripped off and had a good wash using my collapsible kitchen sink of 5 litres. Refreshed and with a change of clothes I gave myself a very light spray as the sun was starting to disappear and mosquitoes were starting their shift.

I am happy to report that I did not get bitten by the black bush wasps, March flies, ticks or mosquitoes during my stay at the campsite.

As an outdoor worker in the city, I have been using the spray to ward off the annoying housefly when I am on the job over the summer months. The flies do not land on me but still fly in circles millimetres from my face trying to find a spot to drink the perspiration. It drives them crazy judging by the sound of their frantic wing flapping.

My last outing was to the Central Wheat belt Area of Western Australia. I based myself at the very tiny township of Bullaring in a vacant home owned by my friend's nephew. There are only three homes, a vacant general store and a community hall. It is remote and the bush flies love it.

The daytime temperature was hot and the weather dry. The daytime temperatures ranged from a cool 19 C (66 F) around 7am to a high of 38 C (100 F) around 11am. It stayed fairly constant at that temperature then started to drop around 5pm to a comfortable 27 C (81 F) with a pleasant cooling breeze.

We explored the area on foot. Before leaving the house, both of us sprayed ourselves very liberally with the spray.
During the walk, on the odd occasion, flies did actually land on my arms and face. However, they only stayed for a nano second before departing as the spray was doing its job.
Again, I had a constant swarm of bush flies around me hoping against all of the odds to find a spot that I may have missed spraying and land on me to feed on my salty, sweaty skin.

                                               view out the back of the house of the country we walked in
                                                        view out the back of the house of the country we walked in
                                               another view of the country
                                                                              another view of the country
I did find it irritating to have the flies as constant companions but the spray did do its job of keeping them off me.

When I was back in the home of the late afternoon, I did
have a wash to clean the spray off me as it did feel a bit grubby with it all mixed up with sweat. I certainly noticed the difference as my skin did feel fresher after the wash. Sadly, so did the flies. Fortunately, they were not in the numbers as earlier in the day so I was able to tolerate the few persistent flies as I sat outside in the shade enjoying a beer or two with my walking mate.

We did not experience any mosquitoes at this location during the evening as the area is very dry as evidenced by the photo taken from the back of the house, so they have nowhere to breed. All of the water tank lids are sealed up with padlocks and the in flow pipes have a mesh to keep insects and leaf litter out.

Over the summer period I have been using the spray on a regular basis whilst working and enjoying the outdoors whilst bushwalking.
My next purchase will be the smaller spray can of 60 g (2.1 oz) which is ideal for backpackers who are now becoming very weight conscious with the gear they pack into their backpacks.

The spray has done its job of keeping biting, stinging fauna away from causing me grief.

At no stage has my skin reacted to the spray. At worst after a few hours I feel a bit grubby when the spray becomes mixed with salty sweat.

I did learn very quickly not to rub my eyes with the knuckles of my hand as the spray on the back of my hand did irritate the edge of my eye lid ever so slightly. I just did it without thinking when it was itchy.

The can is left in my work van for ready use during the week as I do not spray every day. I can tolerate a few house flies buzzing around whilst working, but when they arrive in force then I have the can handy.

As an aside, I have also used the spray as a surface spray at some campsites because I have seen ticks walking across the dirt to get to me and it seems to have worked as none got onto me.

Things I like
  • Very effective in stopping ticks, flies and mosquitoes getting onto me
  • Has a rather nice smell
  • The spray last for a good six hours after an application
Things I dislike
None that I can think of. I had no negative experience with the spray.

Read more reviews of BushMan gear
Read more gear reviews by Ralph Ditton

Reviews > Health & Safety > Insect Repellents > BushMan Insect Repellent > Owner Review by Ralph Ditton

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