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Sometimes summer rolls around and you realize you need some new things to survive the season. Last year’s swimsuit no longer fits. Your inflatable pool no longer holds air. Or you finally decide that you’ve had it with bug bites, you can’t take it anymore, and after the pandemic, you no longer care what you look like to others, anyway, so you’re getting a pair of mesh mosquito pants.
The camping pros at Coghlan’s came up with these netty, natty pants, of which Coghlan’s says: “Made with ultra-fine no-see-um polyester mesh with 1150 holes/in², this pant is the ultimate protection against mosquitoes and other flying insects!” The Amazon listing for the mosquito pants promises that the product “protects against mosquitoes, wood ticks, deer ticks and no-see-ums.”
Because they look exactly like the sort of thing my dad would both make fun of and own, I sent him the link, and predictably, he declared them “hilarious.” I’m now waiting to see whether he buys a pair for birding, which is an activity wherein we often find ourselves standing still in the woods while mosquitoes chow down at will.
Let’s be real: These mosquito pants look goofy. There’s no way around it. But I’ve been in mosquito-heavy situations where I could have used these, and I’d rather look goofy than have malaria or Zika or West Nile virus.
What’s more, warming is changing the boundaries of where ticks (and therefore tick-borne diseases) can live and thrive. And in some parts of the U.S., medical professionals are worried about a boom in Lyme disease cases in 2021 because it’s looking like a big year for nymph-stage ticks, which is when they’re most likely to spread disease to humans and their pets.
Of course, ticks are horrible tiny ninjas that will hitch a ride on your pants, sneak into the waistband and give you a (figurative) heart attack when you discover one sucking away hours later, and it seems like a tick could choose to do that even if you’re wearing bug pants. So it’s worth noting that these mosquito pants might have some limitations. And though they have plenty of positive reviews on Amazon, there are some complaints as well.
“It reduced the overall number of mosquito bites,” wrote a reviewer named Wanderer. “But mosquitos still bite through the areas when skin has contact to the bug clothes when crouching down to work in the garden. It’s rather warm to wear in the summer too.”
It seems like one benefit of throwing the mosquito pants on for gardening is that you wouldn’t have to bother with mosquito repellent, but this review makes me think that in some situations, it might be best to use picaridin on top of or even underneath the pants. (Since the pants are polyester, spraying DEET right on them could degrade them.)
Reviewers reported using the mosquito pants for working in the yard, a canoe trip and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, all of which begs the question: Are they durable?
“I purchased these a year ago for my husband while working at his family home in south Texas,” wrote a reviewer named Grace, who offers some insight into the durability of these bug pants. “Little did I know how invaluable they would be to him while cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey. The mosquitoes are beyond out of control. He said they kept him from being eaten alive. They only lasted him the year, but well worth it. The material is thin, so they do tear easily when up against brush and broken limbs, however under ‘normal’ wearing while mowing and weed eating they held up just fine.”
And since I grew up in the Midwest and learned early that ticks and mosquitoes are not the only things you have to worry about chewing you up in the woods, I was intrigued by a reviewer’s claim that the mosquito pants keep chiggers at bay as well, even though Coghlan’s doesn’t mention the nasty little critters in their description.
“No bites, easy outfit to take on/off, fabulous price,” Emily wrote. She then asked for bug suits for her dogs.
Coghlan’s does make a bug jacket, complete with head net, as well. Makes sense — if you need the pants, then you probably need to cover your arms, too.
However you keep the bugs away this summer, good luck and stay healthy!