Bugs and insects can spoil the camping fun awfully quick. While you might think that a combination of mother nature and the food pyramid would keep the local insect population in check, in some locations, those numbers are completely unbalanced due to external circumstances, especially where standing water is available, such as a lake, pond, or naturally rainy or heavy vegetated area.
Mosquitos are not only itchy, but a deceptively malicious threat as they can carry malaria, West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever, and the Zika virus. In this article you will get to know what are best ways to keep mosquitoes away while camping.
Best Ways to keep Mosquitoes away while Camping
Mosquitoes can be annoying during camping time so read on and see how to prevent them from destroying your enjoyable time in nature.
Things to avoid
Here are some things not to do, as they make you more attractive to mosquitos.
Things that smell strongly like perfume, strong scented deodorant, and body sprays can all be smelled from a distance. Especially when your body works up a sweat from the hike, which is also especially delicious to mosquitos.
Foods that are high in salt and sugar are also especially tasty to mosquitos as they can smell that also. Sadly, this tends to be most foods commonly marketed as “trail snacks” or “hiking food”, so choose your meals with care. In particularly, they love bananas, which contain the chemical octenol, which is a common mosquito bait attractant.
Easier to spot clothing
Clothing that makes you easier to see from a distance also helps mosquitos get to you, especially darker clothing. Darker clothing also retains more heat, making you sweat, which mosquitoes also love.
Things that raise your body temperature
The more body heat you give off, the more delicious and easier to see you are. Things like alcohol, beer, exercise, pregnancy, anything that raises your body temperature. This is part of the reason that some people naturally get more or less bites than others.
Time of day
Dawn and dusk are the most active times of the day for mosquitos and many other insect-kind.
Dense foliage and non-running water
Places with thick foliage, bushes, and trees all provide natural hiding places for the insects. Running water is fine, but any standing water becomes a nursery for the next generation of ankle biters. Sometimes avoiding these things can’t be helped as they are what you would come out here to experience.
Keep Mosquitoes away while Camping
Here is a list of some of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away while camping, including some creative alternatives if you feel your ethics or morals don’t match the traditional solutions.
There are many different kinds of bug and mosquito repellants, but the ones that contain DEET are argued as the best. If you don’t want to use harmful chemicals like DEET, there are always natural, safe alternatives that do the same thing. You can even find multi-purpose sunscreen that doubles as mosquito and bug repellant.
There are also alternatives to DEET, such as neem oil, which is derived from an Indian evergreen tree. Or, Camphor, similarly derived from a large Asian evergreen tree and known as a class A repellent and insecticide. Some other essential oils that work but perhaps not as well are basil, clove, citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, lemongrass, and thyme. If you do bring essential oils, remember that you will need a diffuser of some sort that can run on batteries, solar power, or hand crank.
Cooking or ingesting aromatics – that is, substances that smell strongly – such as lavender, rosemary, and garlic all smell repulsive to mosquitos. Some, like garlic, will continue to seep from your pores after ingestion. Because cooking involves a heat source that can be seen from a long way by mosquitos, try incorporating some aromatics into your campfire meal.
Installing some mosquito traps can be another way to help address the issues, but there isn’t such a thing as a trap that is a device where you set it and forget it, they all require some maintenance from the owner.
Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds
This is a tough subject to address because of the “leave it as you found it” motto that goes along with outdoor activities. If you’re going to be in one spot for a while, try to eliminate any mosquito breeding grounds, as eggs can hatch into a fully grown mosquito in 1 to 2 days. You’re looking especially for standing water, anything that won’t get evaporated quickly, like mud puddles.
Things that don’t work
Some new research is suggesting that these devices fared very poorly, especially compared to the expectations the products set.
- Herbal extract and essential oil bracelets
- Sonic mosquito repellers and bracelets
- Most wearable mosquito repellent devices
- Mosquito lamps and lanterns when there is a breeze
- Citronella candles, torches, and coils when there is a breeze, or the distance is over 2 feet
- Bug zappers
Bats are also known for eating many bugs, like mosquitos, but it’s really not advised as bats can carry just as many issues themselves, from fleas to rabies.
For your dog
You never want to use human-grade mosquito repelling products on an animal, you want to use ones that are made for your animal instead. So for dogs, there are many dog-safe mosquito repellents that you can look into, some made only with natural products and oils.
If you do get bit
If you do get bit by a mosquito, there are several things that you can do that you might have with you already in your camping pack:
- Aloe vera
- Rub dry soap on it
- Rub the fleshy side of an onion on it
- Lemon or lime juice
- Rub an aromatic like garlic
Defeat those mosquitos!
I hope that you enjoyed this little talk on the best ways to keep mosquitoes away while camping, so that you and your family can have a nice, wonderful time, instead of an itchy, miserable time.