Regardless if you camp in a natural park with a campsite or an undisturbed location that offers great camping in the wild, bugs are always there to disturb your peace. Read this article to find the best methods in keeping them away.
Can you bear the presence of bugs while camping? Not a chance! Bugs will make it hard for you to sleep by making the tent feel itchy. Your food is also at their mercy. If you don’t repel them, you’ll be surprised to see your ration in smithereens.
And so, hobbyists go to great lengths to reduce the presence of bugs in their campsite. How do seasoned campers do it? Keeping bugs away from the campsite is easy. Just follow good camping habits, use the right tent, and utilize natural insect repellents.
The next section provides a more detailed discussion about the answer above.
How to Keep Bugs Away When Camping
Keeping Bugs Away with Good Camping Habits
Good camping habits help to minimize the presence of bugs on the campsite. Some good camping habits that you should follow are:
Never Setting the Tent Near Moist Ground or a Body of Water
Poisonous bugs — centipedes and fire ants, for example — like living on moist ground. These dwell underneath the remains of trees, leaves, or grasses. Setting up your tent near the moist ground is like inviting poisonous bugs to come and camp with you.
Mosquitoes, rivers, streams, and lakes have mini-pools or mud puddles where mosquitoes lay their eggs. That’s why you shouldn’t camp near this because you’re putting yourself in the mosquitoes’ lair.
Avoiding Powdery Ground as A Campsite
Have you ever tried setting the tent on a ground that’s powdery or sandy before? Kinda dusty, especially when the wind blows hard, right?
But aside from the dust, installing a tent on the powdery or sandy ground brings another problem – ants.
Ants are usually present in dusty places. It’s because they source dust particles for building or repairing their nest. Still, this doesn’t apply to all. Some species of ants dwell on grasses and trees.
Avoiding Trees and Flower Fields as a Campsite
Camping under a huge tree or a flower field is enticing. Camping under a shade or in the middle of a field with polychromatic hues is extraordinary. Still, know that you’re exposing yourself to bees or wasps.
Bees and wasps love to build their hives on trees or under thick patches of flower fields in the wild. It’s easy to overlook their hives, so don’t test your luck.
Putting Bug Bait
You can use baits so that bugs don’t get to your campsite. All you have to do is put food and other things that attract bugs on a location – a tree, a patch of grass, etc. – that’s at least 1 to 2 meters away from the tent.
This method is really useful for flies, ants, centipedes, and black widows. But for mosquitoes, this isn’t very effective.
Keeping Bugs Away with Your Tent
The right tent can help you keep bugs away even if you don’t start a fire outside. Let’s discuss the features that make a tent “right.”
Permethrin Treated Construction
When buying tents, do you immediately pick those that look spacious and beautiful? Question; do the space and beauty of the tent prevent bugs from pestering you? Probably not, right?
You’ll appreciate an unappealing tent with bug-repelling features than a tent that’s pleasing on the eyes yet can’t fend off bugs.
Most tent brands claim that their products are bug-proof. Still, many of these are just marketing gimmicks. Bug-free tents that truly hold to their promise don’t put the ” bug-proof” label on their specs. What’s engraved instead is the term “permethrin-treated.”
Tents that use fabric treated with permethrin instantly kills mosquitoes and other bugs that get into contact. Permethrin can harm your health. Even so, permethrin-treated tents are safe because they use fabrics that prevent transference through inhalation or contact with the skin.
For a recommendation, a great company that makes permethrin-teated tents is Wenzel.
Keeping bugs away from getting inside the tent is easy. All you have to do is close all openings and sleep peacefully.
Well, that’s easier said than done. If you close the tent completely, the interior will become unbearably warm. Not to mention that you won’t get enough air for a good sleep.
Of course, you may use a portable fan. Still, it will do nothing but alleviate the discomfort a bit. So as a final verdict, closing all the openings of the tent to keep bugs away isn’t a viable option.
Since this is the case, a tent with openings that come with mesh covers is ideal. A mesh cover consists of tiny holes that allow air to come in, which are too small for bugs like mosquitoes to penetrate. Simply put, it’s a feature that keeps the tent airy without compromising your comfort against bugs.
Use Natural Insect Repellent
You may use natural insect repellent for keeping bugs away as these are cheaper than synthetic natural repellents. Aside from being cheap, natural insect repellants are more ideal because they don’t affect the environment.
Indian Prickly Ash Essential Oil
The Indian Prickly Ash Essential oil can repel mosquitoes for at least 5 hours or 2 hours. However, no studies show that it can repel other bugs.
Despite this, Indian Prickly Ash Essential Oil is worth the try because it has a licorice-like fragrance. It has a warming licorice-like smell and provides a wonderful vibe that matches the view of the campsite in the afternoon.
Dried Corn Cobs
Dried corn cobs produce a lot of smoke which bugs hate a lot. It has a neutral dusty smell that might hurt the nose. Nevertheless, smoke that comes from the corn cob does well against bees, ants, and mosquitoes.
Just toss dried corn cobs on the campfire to use them as a natural insect repellent. However, be sure not to put more than 8 pieces at once, or you’ll end up enveloping the campsite with thick smoke.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood has been a natural insect repellant for many generations. Not only does it repel mosquitoes, but it also repels moths. It even deters ticks from infesting your tent.
Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli essential oil is famous for its fragrance. However, aside from its aromatic trait, many love patchouli essential due to its insect repellent properties. Bugs that it can repel are fleas, moths, mosquitoes, flies, ants, and bed bugs.
The roots of patchouli also hold potential as an insect repellant. According to this study, patchouli root is as effective as mosquito coils made out of transfluthrin. However, it’s more beneficial because it easily decomposes in nature.
Wood and Dry Leaves or Grasses
If you forgot to bring insect repellent with you, use what’s around the campsite instead – dry grass or leaves and wood. These produce smoke when burned slowly, which bugs don’t totally like.
Wood and dry grass or leaves aren’t that effective. However, using them as bug repellent is better than bearing with the discomfort that bugs bring. In camping being resourceful, it’s important. That’s why learn to use what’s available around you in case you forget to bring a good insect repellent.
What Are the Most Common Bugs That You’ll Meet While Camping?
Wherever you camp, mosquitoes will always be around. These will pester you every morning, afternoon, and evening. These are not deadly. However, their bite may cause malaria, dengue, and other types of more complicated diseases.
Ants are common aside from mosquitoes. Ants get to your tent and feed on the food. They also make the tent hard to sleep on. Mosquitoes are very noisy, and a swam that looms over your tent can be crazily disturbing with their endless buzzing.
Midges will also come and visit. These tiny flies will make a hell out of your camping trip by pestering you with their itchy bites. Midges are not deadly. However, their bites can trigger an allergic reaction.
Have you experienced contact with chiggers before? If not, hope that it will never happen. Chiggers are common camping bugs that burrow on the folds of your skin. After burrowing, they then cause swelling and itching.
So far, these are the most common bags that you’ll encounter. Even so, you can’t rule out the possibility of dangerous bugs visiting your campsite.
A Brief Talk about Dangerous Bugs While Camping
Some bugs have toxins that deal with short-term or long-term effects. These bugs can gravely injure or put you at risk of death.
Dangerous bugs that you might have to deal with are fire ants, centipedes, bees, wasps, and black widows. A sting from fire ants might result in a severe allergic reaction characterized by the swelling of the throat leading to suffocation.
Centipedes carry excruciatingly painful venom. A bite from them won’t kill. However, it’s enough to impair mobility or weaken you.
Exposure to black widows is perilous. Even making them more dangerous is their discreet presence. Most of the time, it’s hard to know that black widows are there until they sting you. Black widows’ sting can kill or make you sick.
Pray that you don’t encounter bees and wasps while camping. If provoked, these bugs will stop at nothing to get you. Facing an entire colony is tantamount to knocking on death’s door. Continuous stings from bees and wasps result in anaphylaxis.
The presence of botflies is very disturbing. These are bugs that will make a living nest out of you by laying their eggs on your skin. Once the eggs hatch, their larvae live under the skin and feed on it. Botfly larvae cause your skin to swell and get infected.
Should You Use Commercial Insect Repellents?
Nothing’s wrong with commercial insect repellants. However, we suggest that you ditch using them since they harm the environment. Insect repellents carry toxins. And if disposed of carelessly, they release the toxins on the ground affecting plants and other living organisms,
Moreover, they can affect your health too. According to this study, 11.8% of the research population, who continually used insect repellents, stated they’re currently experiencing some minor health concerns.
But setting research evidence aside, commercial insect repellants aren’t truly healthy with common knowledge alone. Most may trigger nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Some, when inhaled directly in large amounts, may even cause asthma and fainting. Sometimes, they even cause skin and eye irritation.
So to ensure that you’re health is safe, use the natural insect repellents above. It’s because they don’t bring adverse effects even when used for the long term.
How about Portable Electronic Insect Repellents?
Portable electronic insect repellents keep bugs away, especially mosquitoes, without using natural compounds or chemicals. These protect you from bugs in an environmentally friendly way. So, using portable electronic insect repellents is okay.
Using portable electronic insect repellents isn’t uncomfortable. They don’t release odor. Moreover, they don’t take space from the tent. Portable insect repellents repel bugs by releasing low-frequency sound waves. Also, these are slimly designed so that you may place them in any spot inside the tent.
However, portable electronic insect repellents aren’t very effective against ants, bees, flies, and other bugs. Most only do well in repelling against mosquitoes. With that being said, if you suspect that lots of bugs are present in the campsite aside from mosquitoes, bring other types of bug repellents as well.
Aside from the methods above, you may repel bugs with simple steps. For example, wearing trousers and long-sleeved clothing will keep bugs away from your skin.
Keeping your campsite clean is another simple method. Most bugs are attracted to food. That’s why you should never leave this exposed in the open. Before putting them in the tent, be sure to put your ration in a tightly sealed camping box, cellophane, or any other container.
Bugs will greatly disturb your camping trip. That’s why you should always find a way to free yourself from them. Start with the methods that this article presented.