How do I love thee?  In more ways than I can count!  We’re amazed at the different creative ways you’re using the SansBug screen tents.  Apart from bug protection for us humans, we’ve seen them used to provide a safe habitat for monarch butterfly caterpillars and also to house small plants to protect them from bunnies!  Contact us to share the different ways you’re using your net… and feel free to send pics!

Mosquito Nets for Summer Camp

It’s that time of the year again when the earth springs into life… but this year there is expected to be a little more activity.  A dozen states from NY to IL and south to GA will see billions of cicadas emerge this month or next after spending 17 years underground.  They will mate, lay eggs and die and the nymphs will hatch and burrow underground to repeat the cycle in 2038.  Unlike mosquitoes, cicadas are pretty much harmless but their buzzing mating calls are as loud as a lawnmower or a motorcycle!  Regardless of the increased traffic, the main culprit to watch out for is still the mosquito.  After a relatively mild winter, there are expected to be more mosquitoes this summer and an increase in West Nile virus cases this year.  Which is why it makes sense to protect you and your kids with a mosquito net tent – a totally enclosed bug shelter with a floor.  The open-air platform tents at summer camp are just that – open to all kinds of bugs and mosquito nets draped over PVC frames do little to thwart the pesky skeeters which still manage to sneak in through the gaps between the floorboards.

Seen and read:

Camp Read

 

Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Seen and Read:

monarch butterfly habitat cage

We’re thrilled that the SansBug mesh tent is being used as a giant insect terrarium to house monarch butterfly caterpillars.  Much larger than butterfly cages specifically made for the purpose, the smallest SansBug can house more than a dozen milkweed plants.

Monarch butterflies with their familiar orange and black pattern are known for their annual migration where some of them travel more than 3000 miles!  Considering the butterfly weighs only about half a gram, that’s mind blowing!

Monarchs in Eastern North America overwinter in central Mexico while those in Western North America overwinter in the southern California coast.  Eastern monarchs fly south along different routes, but merge together in Central Texas and fly along the same route to Mexico.  It’s amazing that they overwinter in the same 11 or 12 mountain sites, often the exact same trees, even though they’ve never been there before!

The epic migration south is done by the same super generation which lives up to 8 times longer than their parents and grandparents.  The return journey north to US and Canada is done in 3 or 4 generations.

Western monarchs have seen numbers dwindle by more than 99% in the last 30 years.  Eastern monarch numbers have gone down by about 80%.  The number one reason for their decline is the reduction of milkweed, a wildflower, which is the only food the caterpillars will eat.  Milkweed has been decimated because of indiscriminate spraying of herbicides across genetically modified corn and soybean fields and mowing along road sides.

Lately, there has been a growing call to reverse this population decline by encouraging people to plant native milkweed in their yards and cities.  And since survival rates are only 5% in the wild because of ants, spiders and other predators, the SansBug provides a safe rearing tent to increase that to more than 80%!  While rearing tents will not reverse the population decline, they are a great tool to learn and observe the amazing metamorphosis from egg to adult.

BIG or small… SansBug has you covered!

Toys for little kids…

Ball Pit

… and toys for BIG kids!

pickup truck tent

 

But seriously speaking, there are hordes of sandflies, horseflies, black flies and mosquitoes in the swamps, dense bush and forest up north, so the SansBug is not a toy… it’s a lifesaver.  Oh, and if you’re taller than 6 feet, get the 2-person which offers 7 feet of usable length.

Have a safe and bite-free holiday!

Helping Overcome Scouts’ Fears to Boost Retention Rates

 

We’re thrilled that the SansBug has been featured in Ask the Gear Guy section of Boys’ Life magazine under… Stuff we Like!  The SansBug has helped thousands of Scouts and their parents brave through summer camp.  Feedback such as “first time he came home without bites” and “first year he stayed at camp all week” is common with the SansBug.  We strongly believe that the SansBug is an important tool to boost retention rates.

“My personal experience tells me that kids that go to summer camp are much more likely to stay with the Scouting program until they age out.  And Scouts that go to three or more summer camps are much more likely to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.  This is one reason that bug-free sleep is so important.”

– Springfield Scout Leader Scott Newman of TroopResource.org

Recruitment is almost always easier than retention.  Nothing beats the old fashioned word of mouth for recruiting youth into Scouting.  It can happen organically by Scouts telling other youth of the rock climbing they did last weekend, or the model rockets they’re going to launch at the next troop meeting, or the wicked camp they went to last summer where they had whitewater rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, zip-lining, kayaking and so much more.  Parents can also tell other parents of how Scouting has had a positive impact on their child.  Those experiences can then be used in ad campaigns to amplify the word of mouth marketing.

But once you get youth to join, how do you make sure they stick around?  The outdoors is a major part of scouting; it’s not just about dull meetings in a basement or selling popcorn.  However, fewer and fewer kids are spending time outdoors… kids today spend an average of 7 minutes a day playing outdoors vs. 7 hours in front of a screen.  How much of that outdoors has green space is another issue but the disconnect with nature makes many kids anxious about bugs, insects, spiders, or even the dark.  Getting Scouts who have these fears to stay at camp for the whole week is difficult, much less expecting them to return the following year.  Are they just going to tolerate camp one year or will they look forward to next year?

Paul Kautz of BoyScoutTrail.com is a Red Cross authorized provider of CPR/AED and Wilderness First Aid training and Master Educator of Leave No Trace.  He was a Scoutmaster for 7 years and he knows of a few young scouts just starting out who missed some great campouts because they were scared of the bugs.

Providing a safe cocoon at night when most critters are active has helped thousands of Scouts enjoy summer camp.  Netting draped over poles has always been there but critters are still able to come in through the floorboards.  And it’s not just about not being able to sleep because daddy long legs is looking down at you from the corner of the canvas tent, mosquitoes can come in through the floorboards and spread disease or at the very least keep you up by buzzing in your ear all night.  The SansBug has a sewn-in floor so it’s totally enclosed.

“Life changing! My son has a bug issue this year so we got him one of these and it’s working out great for him!”

“First year he stayed at camp all week!”

It’s not just the kids, even the grown ups take comfort from the instant refuge.

“There were flying cockroach looking bugs that came out at night, but my daughter and I slept securely knowing no bugs were going to crawl on us.”

If you can help conquer or at least manage Scouts’ (and their parents’) fears, they can then focus on learning new skills and enjoying the outdoors and camping.

Mobile Pop up Catio

mobile catio

Being cooped up inside for 2 months, we now have a taste of what our cats feel like.  Walking around the block or spending more time in the yard was a welcome relief from the lockdown-generated back pain.  But don’t you feel guilty when the kitties are sitting on the window sill looking outside at you?

If cats are not provided a stimulating and exciting environment, behavioral and psychological issues can arise.  Unlike in European countries, where cats spend the majority of their time outdoors, most Americans keep their cats strictly indoors.  It has thus been noted that American cats suffer more from anxiety and stress related issues.  Since one of the top reasons given for surrendering cats to shelters is behavior problems, it is important to provide sufficient stimulation for indoor cats.

Catios (outdoor cat enclosures) provide a nice balance of indoor and outdoor living without the risk.  But if you don’t have yard space or are renting, a permanent structure in the backyard or even your balcony may not be possible.  If you have calm cats who are not shredders, the SansBug provides a cost-effective way to provide some secure outside time, supervised of course.  You can keep their toys, food, water, bed and litter box in it for hours of fun “outdoors.” Unlike other pop-up tents made specifically for cats, the SansBug has a solid floor so it also blocks out bugs.

The SansBug would also work great to contain cats indoors when you’re renovating your home or to prevent them spraying or scratching the hotel room when traveling.  Hotels can charge a lot of money for that.  It would especially come in handy for breeders when they travel to cat shows.  When you’re at a cat show, your cats must have had their nails trimmed as the judges won’t let a cat scratch them so the SansBug would hold up since the cat won’t have sharp claws to tear the netting.

Kate Benjamin, cat style expert, prefers the SansBug as an alternative to the clunky, finger-pinching cage to prevent her cats from running all over her studio which has lots of hiding places when she has to bring them in to work.  You can see a couple of her kitties hard at work testing out their new fort!

Don’t be surprised when one of your kitties immediately takes over the SansBug as soon as you pop it open!  The SansBug is tall enough for a small cat tree and gives the kitties lots of light and visibility so you can place it by a window.  The waterproof tarp floor is also very easy to clean.  If need be, you can just take the net outside and hose it down.

It also works very well to contain litters of kittens.  Mary has been using the SansBug for a while now for kitten containment and it’s working out great for her:

Racing on the Big Muddy

kayak tent

How many of us are ready to take a week off work to paddle down the Missouri River?  Not your typical Huckleberry Finn float trip, but paddling from one end of Missouri to the other in America’s longest continuous river race which has to be completed within 88 hours (about 3 1/2 days) across 340 miles of water, heat and bugs!

You’ll start at Kansas city from where Lewis and Clark plunged into unknown territory and snake your way back towards St. Louis while dodging river traffic, parked barges, buoys, wing dams, bridge piers and 15 lb fish that fly out of the water into your canoe/kayak and if they hit you, can cause dislocated shoulders and concussions, all the while making sure you’re eating, staying hydrated (and ummm…. finding ways to relieve yourself) and avoiding sunburn.

To be competitive you’ll have to skip some sleep so by the second night, you will start hallucinating and might see mermaids or tree people.  You will question what madness you have got yourself into and you will probably cry.  By the time you’re done with the race, you will have a raw posterior (if you didn’t have a comfortable seat) and will need 4 showers before your family allows you back into your home.

Whatever your reasons for doing this, by the time you finish (if you do), you will be a changed person. This is the third year that Darrin will be using the 1-person SansBug in the annual MR340 (Missouri River 340 miles):

After 20 years in the Marine Corps and hip injury I can’t get out and run like I used to. The race still keeps me active and when done I know I’ve accomplished something most others wouldn’t try.  Pretty cool getting your picture at the finish line.

On some sections of the river you almost had to use your paddle as a Samurai Sword to keep the mosquitoes away.  Couple buddies had hammocks, all I had to do was toss out my SansBug pop-up bug net and I was long asleep while they were still tying theirs up.

Those 3 hours (which is all you can afford if you want a shot at winning) of bite-free, deep restorative sleep will help you get back to your kayak and keep going instead of quitting this definitely-not-normal race.  This year’s race is on August 4 – 7, 2020.

Kissing Bugs?

standard camp issueWhich do you prefer: kissing bug, assassin bug or vampire bug?  All three actually refer to the same bug; the triatomine which tends to bite humans on the face and lips while they are sleeping!  As if the motionless daddy long legs in the corner of the tent was not enough to give you the heeby jeebies, now there’s one more pest that comes up close to give you sleepless nights.

You’ve probably heard about the kissing bug in the news lately as the CDC reported of a case where a young girl was bitten on her face in Delaware.  Even though the bug has been around in the southern US, this is the first time it has been identified in “the first state.”

But not to worry, while others may lay awake in the dark and jump at the rustling of leaves, you can be enjoying peaceful sleep in the protective cocoon of your SansBug.  In fact, one scout says he prefers the open A-frame canvas tents (even though they are notorious for spiders and mosquitoes) over bringing his own sleep-on-the-ground backpacking tent.  So make sure your camping gear also includes the SansBug… one mom said that when she dropped off her daughter at camp, she was surprised by how many kids had “these exact same things” – it was almost like the SansBug was standard camp issue!

Mosquito Nets for NGOs

Dr. Hanna Ekstrom is in the business of saving smiles in remote parts of the world, one child at a time.  Her team currently serves 9000+ children.  They have worked extensively among the Miskito Indians (no, not related to the word mosquito) in northeast Nicaragua.  Many of the towns in this area are only accessible by river. When we asked how the SansBug was working out, this is what we got:

We LOVE LOVE LOVE the nets.

I purchased several of these mosquito nets for my team of dental health promoters.  We use them for our NGO when we are on emergency brigades along the Rio Coco, where the mosquitoes are heavy and dengue and malaria are rampant.  Since getting these nets, we have not had a single case of mosquito-borne disease!

They are tall enough to sit up in and wide enough to spread out your things comfortably to sleep.  I sometimes hang a tiny camping lamp from the “roof” so I can read safely at night, with no bugs sneaking in at the corners of a loose mosquito tent.  I recommend these highly if you are camping where there are any annoying bugs.

Dr. Hanna Ekstrom, Founder of Save their Smiles
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