Don’t let bugs and pests ruin your next camping or hiking trip! Here are some all-natural tips to avoiding and deterring bugs, animals and other pests during your next trip to the great outdoors.
Water is a breeding ground for insects of all kinds, especially mosquitoes. When you’re choosing a campsite (especially when you are camping in a warm, moist climate), choose one on a hillside or slight incline and away from stagnant water, puddles, or small creeks that move slowly. Bugs tend to congregate near these areas, and although it can be lovely scenery, you’ll pay the price with bug bites.
Come on, who are you going to impress on your next camping trip? Leave the floral fragrances, cologne and fragrant deodorants at home. These types of scents can attract bugs like flies, bees and mosquitoes.
Citronella is most widely known in candle form and used for relaxing outdoors, but citronella can also be used to repel mosquitoes while you’re camping or hiking. Use citronella in oil in tablet form and sprinkle or place around your campsite, or use it in cartridge form on your person while you hike. Citronella is all natural and non-toxic and will repel mosquitoes, black flies, fleas and ticks.
Garlic keeps away more than just vampires; it’s a great bug repellant, too. Eating a meal with heavy garlic lets the scent secrete through your pores, keeping bugs away while you hike or relax outdoors. You can also use garlic as an easy, safe pesticide by pureeing 12 cloves of garlic with 1 tablespoon of mineral oil and combining it with three cups of hot water and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Use a spray bottle to spray it onto plants around your campsite.
Covering your arms and legs is one way to keep pests from ruining your trip. It may be hot out, but a lightweight cotton top and pants will not only shield you from bugs and pests, but from damage from the sun. Your head should be covered, too. Opt for a wide brimmed hat that can cover your head, face and neck. For even more coverage, consider tying a bandanna around your neck and face, or placing netting under your hat to cover your face. It’s best if your hat, shirt, pants and shoes are a lighter color (darker colors are more likely to attract bugs.)
Easier said than done when you’re outdoors, but a great way to deter bugs when you’re outdoors or hiking is to stay cool. Bugs can be attracted to the scent of human sweat, so staying in the shade or hiking in the early morning, when the temperature is lower, can help you keep your cool.
Bugs hate the smell of citrus, so keeping citrus fruits around your campsite can go a long way to protecting your campsite from bugs and pests. Bring oranges and grapefruit as snacks, which can help keep you healthy and hydrated, and squeeze some of the juice onto the ground as you eat.
Those dryer sheets not only keep your clothes static-free, but keep your skin bite free! Stashing a few dryer sheets in your shoes, clothing or hats can keep the bugs away, and adding a few to your campsite, especially in your tent, can ward off those flying, crawling pests.
Bugs aren’t the only pets that can be a problem at your campsite. Raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels and rodents of all kinds are looking for a handout at campsites. The best tool to fight an influx of varmints is to keep your campsite clean and eat. Pack up all your trash, including food debris, bottles and cans, and wrappers. If there isn’t a disposal area, keep your trash in zippered kitchen bags until you can dispose of it properly. Keep your food sealed tightly in plastic containers instead of plastic zipper bags – animals can easily get into the plastic bags.
About the Author:
Karen Miller writes about avoiding pests and other bugs for Terminix.