Camping is a classic summer pastime, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in spectacular nature. Heading out with your tent for a night of campfires, food, beers, music, and stargazing is the perfect way to spend a balmy summer night. In fact, there’s only one thing that could possibly spoil the fun and that’s bugs!
The downside to venturing out into the great outdoors is the pests you’ll encounter along the way. Most notorious of these is the mosquito, a bloodsucking fly known for its high-pitched whine, itchy bites and talent for spreading diseases. You shouldn’t let a few insects stop you from enjoying the warm weather, however. Instead, try the following camping insect control methods to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away from your campsite.
How to keep mosquitoes away while camping
Choose your camping spot wisely
Certain spots will attract more mosquitoes than others and may be overrun with swarms of the insects by sunset. Learning how to pick a spot well away from mosquito hotspots is a key camping skill, and one that could save you from a lot of itchy bites!
Keep in mind!
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so rule no.1 is to avoid pitching your tent near ponds, lakes, swamps, or pools. These areas will be home to large numbers of mosquitoes, especially in the evening and early morning.
Tall grass is also a popular place for mosquitoes to rest during the day, as this provides them with much-needed shade from the midday sun. To keep the number of mosquitoes in camp to a minimum, set up as far from overgrown grasses and shrubbery as possible.
Treat your tent with permethrin spray
The best way to repel mosquitoes while camping is by treating your tent and clothing with permethrin spray. This insecticidal chemical strongly repels mosquitoes, ticks and flies and, when applied to fabrics, can offer lasting protection from these pests. Treating both your tent and clothing with permethrin can repel insects both around the campsite and during hikes, so it’s perfect for anyone planning a multi-day adventure.
Use a mosquito repellent spray
For personal protection from mosquitoes, stock up on bug spray before you leave for your camping trip. Products containing DEET or picaridin are widely considered to be the most effective, though natural formulations can also provide long-lasting protection.
Bug sprays will not only work to keep mosquitoes away while camping but will also protect you from a wide range of other pests. Remember to apply spray regularly when hiking and top up just before sunset, when mosquitoes are usually most active.
Burn essential oils around camp
If you’re looking for a natural way to keep camping insects away, burning essential oils around your campsite can be an excellent solution. Peppermint, citronella, thyme and lavender oil have all be found to have some repellent effects against mosquitoes (and other bugs) and will make your campsite smell sensational.
Make your tent a mosquito-free zone
If the mosquitoes are out in force, you can always retreat to the safety of your tent to avoid bites. That being said, it’s very important to mosquito-proof your tent as much as possible, so they can’t feast on you while you’re sleeping.
The best way to keep mosquitoes away from you at night is to choose one with a screen room, which creates a physical barrier between you and the bugs. Keeping the door to your tent closed at all times will also help to keep the insects out, so you can rest easy.
Other bugs to watch out for while camping
Unfortunately, mosquitoes aren’t the only bugs you have to watch out for while camping. Warm weather brings an explosion in all things creepy-crawly, which can ruin your trip if you go in unprepared. The most commonly encountered bugs (besides mosquitoes) when hiking and camping are as follows:
- Black flies
- No see-ums
- Wasps, bees, and hornets
General tips for campsite bug control
To keep your campsite a pest-free zone, use the following preventative control measures every time you go camping.
- Treat your tent and gear with permethrin spray. Permethrin spray is a highly effective way of repelling all sorts of arthropod pests (like mosquitoes and ticks) throughout your camping expedition. Fabrics only need to be treated once for weeks of protection from pests, making this an essential for anyone planning a multi-day trip.
- Use a bug repellent spray. Using a personal bug repellent spray is one of the most reliable methods of preventing insect bites. Sprays containing DEET, picaridin, or natural ingredients such as lemon eucalyptus oil, all strongly repel a wide range of insect pests. Bug spray is especially handy during evening time but should also be applied regularly during hikes.
- Keep your campsite free from food waste. Food attracts insects, so keep your campsite clear of crumbs to avoid enticing bugs into your midst.
- Avoid overgrown foliage and vegetation. Pests often hide out in tall grasses and overgrown shrubs during the day. You can reduce the number of insects around your campsite by pitching your tent well away from dense foliage and vegetation.
- Wear long, loose-fitting clothing. The easiest way to stop insects from biting you is to make sure they can’t access your skin. Wearing long, loose-fitting clothing throughout your camping trip will keep mosquitoes, ticks and other biting bugs off your body.
Camping is the ideal summer pastime, but it’s important to prepare for the insects before you go! Mosquito, ticks, flies, and spiders are just some of the biting bugs you’re likely to encounter while out in nature, all of which can ruin your trip if you have no way to keep them off you.
Happily, there are several simple steps you can take to keep pests away from your campsite, reducing your chances of being bitten or bothered by them. Stock up on bug spray, use a repellent (like permethrin spray) on your camping gear and choose a tent with built-in screens to evade insects while camping!