this is probably the only pro-deet blog you will ever read. but after i found that a follower of my blog found me through searching the internet for information about the mosquito population on cape hatteras, i decided it was time to educate the public.

let’s back up. for those who aren’t in heavily mosquito infested states, deet is the most common ingredient (chemical) in bug spray. you pretty much take a deet shower when applying Off! to go camping. it’s all good, right?

sure, according to this wikipedia article, not only is deet a pesticide, toxic to fish, and harmful to the environment…it also has severe effects on your health such as seizures, insomnia, mood disorders, impaired cognitive function, and death.

but you know what else gives me insomnia, mood disorders, and impairs my cognitive functions? mosquitoes.

from june to september you are a walking feast for thousands of buzzing blood suckers in north carolina. day in, day out. there is no rest. there is no peace. they are particularly bad near the shore. while on vacation, i counted 16 mosquito bites on my left leg alone.

and that’s just going from the car to taking an outdoor shower (stupid, i know), and running in a panic up the steps to the deck, swinging at all insects in sight. this was, of course, without applying deet.

i have tried just about every organic and deet-free insect repellent out there. and let me tell you my friends, they just don’t cut it. in fact, the more deet the better. we actually went insect repellent shopping and bought Off! Deepwoods Cutter because it contained the most deet out of every other product… and we weren’t messing around.

off-copy“now with more deet.”

beach-404-copy“contains the most deet legally allowed by law.”

while we were at the beach we actually saw large trucks driving around spraying everyone’s yard with what we assumed to be large quantities of deet. i wanted to joyfully run in its mist, but thought the chances of my skin falling off might be a little too real then. afterall, it was probably industrial strength deet.

without the deet, the mosquitoes feasted. and it was horrendous. we were up all night, groans and snarls while we furiously itched our legs. i remember geoff getting up in a stupor one night, running into the living room and spraying his legs blindly with bactine while half asleep. talk about insomnia, mood disorders, and impaired cognitive functions.

with the deet, there was relative peace with the mosquitoes and 100% avoidance from green head flies (another north carolina pest). i have found that no product works better. so bring on the seizures, mood disorders, and death! mosquitoes cause all those things anyway! i’d rather take my chances with the deet.

dad-copydad in happier times: inside. not pictured: giant can of deet just off camera.

in related deet news, while on vacation we found a wonderful surprise in our rented house. there were two journals filled with entries from previous guests and the owners.


besides the obvious hilarity we found from reading hundreds of pages written by strangers, who at the best of times were polite and sane and at the worst of times were pretty much lunatics, we also took great delight in writing an entry ourselves. we gathered what we had learned over the week and wrote several lists of tips for the guests about the house, area, and other stuff.

among the tips was a list of DRAs: Deet-Required Destinations. and, since some poor soul following my blog inquired about the mosquito population in cape hatteras, i decided to repost the list to raise mosquito awareness and aide in the prevention of itchy insanity while you’re at the beach. these are destinations where you will require a heavy shower of deet before you go:


tiny mosquito drawings courtesy of steve scott.


1. the outside shower

2.the ouside

3. the path to the [pamlico] sound

4. the [pamlico] sound

5. the path to the beach

6. the sandy part of the beach

7. all roads in ocracoke (dear god do not visit the ponies)

8. anywhere that you see people running and slapping themselves

9. anywhere that is not air conditioned or underwater

:) have a great friday! see you on saturday.

so during our beach trip we woke up several times before it was light in order to get down to the beach and get shots of the crabs. when we went to cape hatteras when i was little (and still willing to wake up before dawn), the ghost crabs were always out in the early morning light. however, they must’ve decided, like me, that they’d rather stay up late and sleep in because no crabs were ever out. sure there were some really tiny ones, but not like the kind we knew.

so one night geoff, laura, and i ventured out into the mosquito infested wildnerness covered in deet and decided to look for the crabs at night. and voila! we have crabs. we took a flashlight, but there were so many of them we were practically jumping to avoid stepping on them. they were all fiddler crabs and ghost crabs.


needless to say, they are terrified of my flash. they jumped into the air when i shot it. felt kinda bad.

anyway, the next night my parents took us out to dinner and we had leftover hush puppies. so of course, we all went down to the beach and tried to feed them to the crabs like any sane and respectable family would do.

but it worked! and OH MAN do crabs love hush puppies. they grab them and run. and all the while you swear you can hear them laughing:

crabhushpuppy“hahaha! so long, suckers!”

if you can’t tell, the photography skills required to catch a crab in pure darkness with a telephoto lens while laughing hysterically are hard to acquire, so i did the best i could. this was one of the crabs, running frantically away after snatching the hush puppy and presumably taking it back it’s crabby liar to feast for the next several years.

i miss the beach!

top of the dunes overlooking highway 12:

beach-352-copy“oh my god, the mosquitos are everywhereeee!”