Entomology and Pest Management

DoD Insect Repellent System

Last Updated: June 19, 2018
                                                    
The DoD insect repellent system is used against arthropods of military significance.

In order to provide Soldiers with the best possible protection from disease-carrying insects, the Army has introduced a permethrin factory-treated Army Combat Uniform (coats/trousers) known as the ACU Permethrin. Effective October 2012, the ACU Permethrin replaced the non-permethrin ACU in Military Clothing Sales Stores (MCSS). In February 2013, the ACU Permethrin replaced the non-permethrin ACU as an Army Clothing Bag Item. ACUs purchased at MCSS prior to 1 October 2012 will not be returned/exchanged for the ACU Permethrin. In May 2013, the ACU Permethrin was made available to Army National Guard/Army Reserve Enlisted Soldiers, and the Senior/Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

 

With the introduction of the ACU Permethrin, the Army is providing a product that will enhance Force Health Protection and Readiness. A single factory treatment with permethrin offers significant benefits to the ACU Permethrin wearer including increased protection against the bites of mosquitoes, flies, midges, ticks, and chiggers for the life of the uniform. The ACU Permethrin protects Soldiers from insect-and tick-borne diseases (such as malaria and West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes and Lyme disease carried by ticks), while in garrison, training, and non-combat deployed environments worldwide. Wearing permethrin-treated uniforms is a key component of the DoD Insect Repellent System. Soldiers wearing an ACU Permethrin should continue to properly protect themselves against insect bites and diseases by wearing the uniform with the sleeves rolled down, closing all openings in clothing that might let in insects, tucking pants into boots and undershirt into pants, and keeping the uniform loose. For over 20 years, the DoD Insect Repellent System has been proven to be highly effective in preventing biting insects from becoming an annoyance or making Soldiers sick.

 

SAFE

  • There are no know adverse health risk associated with wearing the OCP Permethrin treated uniform.
  • Safety testing of permethrin has been conducted almost continuously since the 1970's, following its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration for use with a variety of applications including food/feed crops, livestock, Public Health mosquito abatement programs, pets, and clothing.
  • After thorough research proving the safety of permethrin, the EPA registered it as an insect repellant for use on clothing, and the US Food and Drug Administration approved it for medical treatments of head lice and scabies.
  • In 2009, the EPA completed the human health and environmental risk assessments for permethrin.  The EPA's review reassessed the potential adverse health effects resulting from wearing permethrin-treated uniforms.  Based upon the best science and studies performed to date, the EPA has determined that wearing or coming in contact with permethrin-treated uniforms is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

For more information on the effectiveness of the uniform to include wearing it while pregnant, please check out our resources below.


Fact Sheets:

DoD Insect Repellent System and Permethrin Treatment of Military Uniforms
Permethrin Factory-Treated Army Combat Uniforms (ACU Permethrin)
Permethrin Factory-Treated Army Combat Uniforms FAQs
Pet Flea and Tick Collar Hazards to Soldiers
Using Insect Repellents on Children

Poster:  "ACU without Pregnancy Poster"

Wallet Card:  "DoD Insect Repellent System"


Videos:

DEET Works
How to apply DEET
Ticks on ACU that has been treated with Permethrin
Treating bed nets with Permethrin
Treating Civilian Clothing with Permethrin
Permethrin Effectiveness - Mosquitoes on ACU that has been treated with Permethrin


Guidance Documents

AFPMB Technical Guide 36 External Link, "Personal Protective Measures Against Insects and Other Arthropods of Military Significance"
AFPMB Technical Guide 24 External Link (CAC required), "Contingency Pest Management Guide", September 2012
ATP 4-25.12 External Link, "Unit Field Sanitation Teams"  April 2014
ATP 4-02.8 External Link, "Force Health Protection", March 2016

Armed Forces Pest Management Board Resources

Standard Pesticides Available to DoD Components & All Federal Agencies External Link (CAC required)
DoD Pest Management Material Other Than Pesticides External Link (CAC required)


Other Resources

GTA 08-05-062, "U.S. Army Guide to Staying Healthy"
Army.mil: Insect-repelling ACUs now available to all Soldiers External Link
Army News Service Article: Information Sources for Permethrin Treated ACU's External Link
STAND-TO! Permethrin-Treated Army Combat Uniforms External Link
STAND-TO! Army Combat Uniforms without Permethrin External Link
APHC: Breastfeeding Resources
APHC: ACU's for Pregnant, Nursing, and Female Soldiers Trying to Get Pregnant
ALARACT 289/2012 Factory Treated Uniforms with Permethrin (ACU Permethrin) External Link (Password protected - AKO)
ALARACT 170/2013 Update of ALARCT 289/2012 Factory Treated Uniforms With Permethrin External Link (Password protected - AKO)
Permethrin-Treated Uniforms - What It Means To You (PowerPoint presentation)
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