Insects & Bugs

Participating in outdoor activities, fishing and camping means dealing with pesky insects. There's no question, bugs and other pests can make your vacation somewhat miserable if you're not careful. You don't have to sit around and be eaten alive, there are several precautions and preventative measures you can take to reduce your exposure and ensure a pleasurable vacation.

Control Your Surroundings

Try to avoid camping in areas with tall grass and weeds where insects are abundant. Bugs, flying insects and mosquitoes like to hang around areas of standing water. Set up camp away from puddles, streams and lakes. Wearing bright colors can make you a magnet for insects. Stick with pale colors and fabrics and cover up as much of your body as you're comfortable with.

Insects are attracted to fragrance so don't apply strong scents, deodorants and perfumes. When shopping, look for fragrance-free soap and detergent. If you have an insect-friendly chemistry, there's not much you can do besides using repellents and controlling your camping area.

Preventive Measures

One of the best ways to protect yourself from bugs is to make the air unfavorable to mosquitoes, moths, gnats and other pests. Keep your campsite clean from food scraps and crumbs. Consider spraying bug killer around selected perimeters of your campsite, including below the tables and around the tents. This will also help keep grasshoppers, crickets and creepy-crawlers away.

Since bugs are attracted to light, hang your lanterns and light sources away from the area you will be gathering. Insects don't like smoke, so light a campfire at night and keep it burning until you're ready to retire to your tent. Citronella candles, tiki lamps, and mosquito coils also help combat insects. Place these out of main traffic areas to avoid accidents.

Insect Repellants and Sprays

Apply insect repellant to exposed areas of the body, making sure you keep it away from your eyes, off your hands, and out of any open wounds. If you have young children, you many need to avoid sprays that contain Deet as there's a controversy to whether or not it's safe. Popular sprays, creams and lotions come in a large variety of strengths and formulas. It's important to gather information and read the labels first.

Treating Stings, Insect and Bug Bites

Now matter how diligent you are, it's nearly impossible to avoid encounters with wasps, bees, mosquitoes and ticks. If you get bit or stung, you can reduce swelling with ice. To control itching, apply a topical cream such as calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or a soothing stick for quick relief. These supplies should always be stocked in your first-aid kit and quick to find in case of emergencies.

Ticks can carry nasty diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Cover your head with a hat and check your body periodically. All ticks should be removed promptly and treated accordingly. Any fevers, rashes or infections should be reported to your doctor immediately.

This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Use this guide at your own risk and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can ever learn from books.” - John Lubbock