Keep the Bugs Away while Camping
– By MeCamping should be a lot of fun and, although you can take measures to minimize the risk of encountering flies, wasps, mosquitoes, ants and other creepy crawlies, it would be silly to think that you can spend your time in the great outdoors without ever coming into contact with any of these creatures - it is, after all, their home that you are visiting. You are the guest, they are the resident.
However, there are things you can do to keep the bugs away and make things as enjoyable as possible during your stay in the outdoors. The amount of precautionary measures you take will also depend on the location of your trip. For example, you will run into scorpions in dry areas of the country, and potentially bears in the mountains. The pests we will focus on today are the flying, stinging, generally annoying insects that seem to be common in most camping areas.
Insect repellent is your first line of defense in the outdoors against insects. It comes in all kinds of varieties and is formulated to deter wasps, flies and mosquitoes from annoying you. Insect repellent can come in an aerosol form, stick application, wet cloths, and non-aerosol sprays. Some people swear by those which contain a chemical called DEET as the best deterrent, although others are offended by its distinctly strong scent. However, there are several on the market that don't have DEET as an active ingredient that will help to keep the bugs away. There are even those who claim a mixture of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil and lemongrass will do the trick without the chemicals.
Whichever repellent you choose, many camping trips are ruined by the unwanted attention of flies, wasps, and mosquitoes. For this reason, be sure to have plenty on hand and use it even on the outer layers of your clothing, as many hungry, biting insects will not be deterred from taking a bite through a thin layer of fabric.
Citronella candles give off a scent that mosquitoes and other flying insects can't stand. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in all sorts of containers. You can even get citronella liquid for use in thing such as tiki torches. Not only are they good as an insect repellent, candles and torches can also set the ambiance for camping with their subtle and warming light. Be sure to use caution when you retire for the evening by extinguishing all flames.
Mosquito coils burn much in the same was as incense. One end of the coil is lit and it will emit smoke slowly. The aroma that emits will help to keep the bugs away. One downfall of coils is that if there happens to be a breeze, your deterrent is quickly blown away from your camping area. However, if the weather is calm, these can provide several hours of defense. Once again, you should ensure they are fully extinguished before you head off to sleep.
Other Things to Consider
If you are not familiar with camping protocol, there are a few other things you can do to reduce the discomfort caused by unwanted pests. You might not think that the color of your clothing is important but it is a well known fact that mosquitoes, midges and other bugs are attracted by brightly colored clothing. Insects see light in UV and lighter, brighter colors reflect more light. Tone down the color of what you wear while camping by wearing darker shades of blue and green. It's also useful to bring a long sleeved shirt, perhaps a pair of sweat pants and, a hat or cap of some kind as mosquitoes tend to target the exposed areas of your body, limbs, and head.
Time of Day
Many biting insects are particularly active at dawn and dusk so especially remember to cover up during these times of day.
Having a citronella candle or a mosquito coil burning when you are about to enjoy your camp meal will lessen the chance of your dining experience being ruined by annoying insects. And remember to clean up your dining area thoroughly when you have finished eating and not to leave dirty pots, plates and pans lying around until morning, as all of these things will attract even more bugs. You should always dispose of your garbage in bags which should be tied and secured and either disposed of in any special bins provided or they can be stored in the trunk of your car, if there are no readily available bins.
Don't Leave Food in the Tent
You should try to avoid keeping or storing food in your tent as there are some resourceful visitors out there who won't let a zipped tent stand in their way of a free meal. You should always try to remember to keep your tent zipped up whenever you're not going to be in it for a certain length of time to keep the bugs away. Within even a few minutes, the lure of food will attract insects into your sleeping quarters.
Many tents also come with a mosquito mesh inner door which allow you to see out of the tent, but prevents flying creatures from coming inside.
Whatever precautions you take, it's always important to consider the location of your campsite, especially when there may be added dangers from additional creatures such as snakes, mice, raccoons, and other animals. However, basic prevention can ensure that your trip to the outdoors is not spoiled by bugs and pests seeking their next meal.