How To Keep Bugs Out of Your Tent

There is an immense amount of different kinds of insects in the United States. While some pests can be spotted in backyards and parks, the population of bugs is greatly increased in areas containing trees, bushes, long grass and bodies of water. And these bugs can cause anything from just a minor allergic reaction to serious health issues since many insects also transmit different diseases.

So if you want a pleasant, bite and hassle-free camping experience we are here to help! Because in this article we will not only cover the most common camping bugs and provide a brief description of them and any concerns regarding them, but will also tell you how to prevent these bugs from getting into your tent.

Typical Camping Bugs in North America

An amazing time at a campsite requires fewer interactions with bugs near your tent. However, before we jump into ways how to keep these pesky bugs away and out of your tent, we want to review some of the most commonly seen bugs in North America and provide a little bit of helpful information about them.

Common Camping and Forest Bugs:

Ticks: We all know about these bloodthirsty bugs! There are many different species of ticks in wooded areas. However, the Brown Dog tick, Black Legged tick aka the deer tick, Lone Star tick and the Rocky Mountain Wood tick are the top four ticks to watch out for while spending your time at a campground.

The Deer tick is notorious for transmitting Lyme disease. While the bites of other ticks can cause rashes, pain, irritation, allergic reactions and more.

Mosquitoes: These bugs are even more annoying than ticks! Not only do they bite you, feast on your blood and leave you with irritated skin, but they are also known for making noise at night when we are trying to sleep. But worst of all some species of these noisy insects also transmit diseases that can cause serious health risks.

Stinging insects: There are many different kinds of stinging insects out there, however bees, wasps and yellow jackets are the most common camping annoyance. And while some people hardly notice a yellow jacket, wasp or bee sting, some people are deadly allergic to these insects and can even end up in the hospital.

Ants: Ants are known for getting in our food and tents. But they aren’t just annoying. Some species of ants such as Fire ant can be dangerous too since their bites are extremely itchy and painful.

Flies: Flies are commonly found near food and rotted animal bodies. As well as near certain animals such as horses and cattle. There are many different kinds of flies and some of them even bite. And although flies themselves do not transmit diseases, they can transfer diseases from one place to another, for example from a dead animal to your food.

Spiders: Last but not least, arachnids are very common in wooded areas! There are plenty of spiders in this world that are completely harmless. And then there are those that are notoriously aggressive and inject venom with bites. Of all the spiders that are out there, we highly recommend that you keep an eye out for the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. These two spiders are the ones that have the most dangerous bites.

Keeping The Bugs Away

Now that you know the most common camping bugs and some important facts about them, we can figure out the best ways to keep them as far away from your tent as possible. In this section, we will discuss what deters bugs and also how to keep them off of you, because if you get these bugs on you, you’ll surely bring them into the tent with you. So to help you have a very enjoyable time camping, we’re going to cover all your bug repellent option bases!

Tips to Make Your Tent Bug Free:

Chose your tent location wisely: The first “base” that we want to cover is all about the location of your tent! The specific spot that you choose to set up your tent will determine whether your tent will be bug-free or not. We strongly recommend that you choose a camping spot that is as far away from puddles, ponds or tall grass and wood piles as possible.

We say this because mosquitoes, some ticks, and flies love being around bodies of water. While some spiders and plenty of ants, ticks, and ground bees enjoy hanging out in tall grass and flowers and weeds. So in case of camping tent location “high and dry” is what you should look for. Following this tip instantly reduces your chances of having a bug filled tent.

Burn sage: If you have no choice but to set up camp right next to stagnant water or a lake, we highly recommend that you throw a handful of sage into your campfire. Mosquitoes absolutely hate the scent of sage, therefore, they will stay away.

Make sure your tent is properly prepared: In order to keep bugs out of your tent it is also imperative that you make sure that your tent material is still intact. If you notice any snags or holes in the material, you have to either patch them up or buy a brand new tent that is snag and hole-free. It is also crucial that you keep your tent door zipped up as much as possible so you are not giving pests free access to the inside of your tent.

Be mindful of smells: Bugs love sweet aromas such as perfume, flowery lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. These good-smelling products are attractive to them, so if you and your tent smell sweet, bugs will want to stick around your tent. If you want to use any beauty products while camping, then better go for ones that smell citrusy, since a lot of bugs don’t like this scent.

Spray bug repellent: The use of bug repellent is one of the best ways how to deter bugs from yourself, so why not spray it around your tent as well? There are also bug sprays, insect repellent lotions, and bug repellent bands that you can set up around your tent for increased protection. And there are even special sprays that are specially designed to be sprayed on your camping gear instead of your skin.

Keep yourself and your pets bug free: In order to have a bug free tent, you yourself must be bug free. If you or even your dog got bugs on you and then you and your pet go into the tent, the bugs will also come inside the tent as well. Therefore, we highly recommend you use bug deterrent on yourself as well as your pet. Just make sure that the insect repellent you use on your pup is pet-safe since a lot of human bug sprays are toxic to pets.


Main editor

Expert in mosquito control and the main website editor at Karen started InsectCop to help people get rid of mosquitoes. But now she gives advice an all things pest control.

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