Keeping The Bugs At Bay On Your Camping Trip – Discover The Top Bug Tips!

What can spoil a camping trip faster than the sun can set in Hawaii? Bugs! Camping, in my opinion, is easily the best recreational pastime you can share in. You can go at it with great gusto like climbing a mountain or it can be a leisurely walk on a trail through a meandering meadow. Absolutely everyone can go camping. But there is nothing short of a hurricane that can spoil a camping trip faster than insects.

Lets deal with the biting kind one at a time.


First Know Your Enemy “Mr. Mosquito”

They are everywhere, in varying amounts. In the Larger towns and cities there are very few while in the country side and small community they can be a real problem. They are evening and night-time bugs and can spoil a good sleep. Mosquito netting is good. Historically bug dope has been awful stuff and not something you would not want to put on before bed.


Black Fly. They are notorious and it’s a reputation justifiably earned. The black fly is a day time bug. They like the heat and your blood. Unlike the mosquito, they do not like to be inside. So you can get relief by going inside. That can be a house, a tent or a car. It’s strange, you can be sitting in a car with the window rolled down and the black fly will not go beyond where the window was.

Mosquito dope with deet is also effective with black flies. If you don’t have the dope, cover up as much as you can and make sure all openings in your clothing, pant and shirt cuffs and collar are tight. A smaller cousin to the black fly is also a real nuisance. They are so small they are called no-see-ums. Deal with them as you would a black fly. There are few others that bite that you should be aware of and I will talk about them on a later blog.

Mosquitos and black flies are the major culprits that can spoil a perfectly marvelous camping trip. There are a few other biting or stinging insects that you should be aware of as they can cause you a great deal of discomfort. If you have allergies, they can be very dangerous. Even without the allergies, if you get caught in a bad situation where you sustain many stings, it too can be dangerous.

At the outset let me state clearly that I am no entomologist. I do not know the proper name for an insect, so the names I will be using will be the popular local names of the territory I am from, the north.

The Bulldog: This critter is a fly that bites. It does not sting but it literally rips a chunk of your flesh off. It’s not a very big piece, but it feels like he has taken a full ounce of flesh. The Bulldog is most aggressive when you are wet. If you are at the beach and you dive right in, when you surface they will be waiting for you. They will pester you all the way to shore. As you walk out they will swarm you.

You want to dry off as quickly as possible and perhaps put a T-shirt on. That won’t completely stop them, but they will become bearable. These flies have two wings, a dark head, eyes, and a black and yellow-orange abdomen. At the very front is the dangerous part. It looks like a big nose, but is really two pinchers which they use to tear away the flesh. Thankfully they are not bad when you are not wet. As a matter of fact, you will hardly notice them.

The No-Name Fly: There is a flying insect in the north that I have no name for. Thankfully they are not common because they horrendous. For want of a name, we have called them black hornets.

They look totally black, about 3/4 of an inch long, and have a stinger protruding from the back-end that looks like a darning needle. I am trying not to exaggerate. Probably they have only two wings, unlike a dragonfly which has four. We can’t tell you anymore about this insect, but if from my feeble description you can help us out, We would surely appreciate it.

The Deerfly: Once again We are not sure this is the proper name. It looks a little bit like a house fly, but a little smaller and it is not black. On its two opaque wings it has a round coloured spot about an 1/8 inch across. It’s a kind of yellow- green. They are not stingers, they are biters, taking small chunks of flesh. They are not abundant.

The Hair Eater: This is a flying beetle. It is completely black and has two long antennae. We know next to nothing about this bug. Why are they called hair eaters? Again I don’t know, maybe it’s because when they land in a woman’s hair, she goes absolutely nuts and they seem to do that quite often.

Those are the main ones to keep your eye open for. We are sure there are many others but they are not significant. I should add that there are the usual run of bees and wasps, but for the most part these just respond when they are disturbed; although the wasps will come and eat the food off your plate.


What Are The Available Options To Shield Yourself From Bugs?

Mosquitoes and other bugs can be distracting, make it hard to sleep and often end up leaving their mark. Campers and backpackers should be wary of mosquitoes, especially at night, because many of these nasty bugs can transmit the West Nile virus, particularly in temperate and tropical regions. That is why it is important to find the best mosquito net.


What Types of Mosquito Nets Are There?

There are many different types of mosquito nets. Some cover an individual, some cover large areas and some simply function as a bug head net. The best mosquito net for camping is simply determined by what type of camping you do and what type of protection you’re looking for. Some nets are built for one or two individuals and shaped like a tent, with one raised end. Others, like the Repel Spider Net, are shaped more like a teepee and are suspended from a ring at the top. This sort of net can extend over all bed sizes for conveniently adjustable comfort. There are also mosquito net suits made for active individuals.


How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Some mosquito nets are made specifically for children and infants. The infant net can drape over the front of your child’s stroller, playpen or crib. This will help ensure that your baby is safe from bug bites and the West Nile Virus.


Mosquito Hats

In addition to nets that cover your bed or body, some nets strictly act as a bug head net. These mosquito nets usually cover your face and neck and are made in a manner that allows you to see through the mesh. The netting is lightweight and is often offered in camouflage colors. These types of head nets are especially helpful when you’re already covered from mosquitoes by clothing like long sleeve shirts and pants.


How Do the Nets Work?

Depending on the type of net, most of the bug nets have the same essential approach to keeping you bug-free. The lightweight mesh functions as a barrier between you and the bugs and the bottom of the netting is tight enough to keep bugs out. This stands true for bug head nets as well as the nets that are used for sleeping on beds or sleeping bags. When individuals are sleeping, the nets are tucked under the mattress, sleeping bag or camping mat that they’re on, acting as a tight seal to prevent mosquitoes and other bugs from entering.


Repellent & Cleaning Up Yourself 

In some countries mosquitoes carry the lethal parasite known as malaria. If you are camping in a country where you are not aware of any mosquito diseases then it would be wise to check before you start your journey there. To combat mosquitoes, citronella oil is a good repellent. You can either get citronella oil to burn in your camping lantern or citronella candles to keep them at bay. What I find is good that you can purchase citronella spray which you apply to you exposed parts of the body. If you regularly apply this throughout the day you should be enough to repel those annoying mosquitoes.

Ticks are another bugbear of the camping world. These small pinhead-sized creatures have extremely strong jaws which lock on to your body so that the tick can effectively suck your blood. After a day or two the tick can swell to the size of a pea. This may not sound like much but believe me a tick in general is hard to see at the best of times.

The issue with ticks is that they carry bacteria which can result in Lyme’s disease. This can be treated by antibiotics, but can get quite nasty if left alone. If you get bitten by a tick you need to grip the insect firmly near to its jaws and then pull it off. It is best to put it in a container for testing by your doctor. If a rash occurs around the bitten area it is best to see your doctor with the tick in the jar.

Other bugs such as spiders and flies are also plentiful in the great outdoors but less of a worry. Flies will only generally hang around your pitch if you have left any litter and food scraps around so ensure that you clean up after yourself, and then you should be fly free.


Use A Water Bag…..Yes, A Water Bag!!

If you find yourself in a situation whereby, no matter which insect repellents you buy, those crawlers always find a way to come and spoil the whole essence of your vacation. Before you get even more agitated, here is a solution. What you can do is hang a plastic bag filled with water around your campsite, and it is that easy to send them away!

The main principle behind the insects going away is refraction. Refraction is the bending of light when it travels from one medium to the other (air and water in this case). The refraction of light causes insects to have multiple visions. This causes confusion to arise in insects, and ultimately they experience multiple directions at once. For this phenomenon to take place; light is necessary. When you are at a campsite at night, a light bulb can serve this purpose. Other than that, the campfire might also be an appropriate light source.

In order to make such an insect repellent, there are a few steps to follow:

• First take a plastic bag and fill it with water. Make sure this bag is able to hold the pressure of the water when it is hung. The water is the medium that will make the high optic flow for the bugs. High optic flow areas are the danger zones for ticks as there increases their likelihood to collide. Therefore, they will avoid coming near.

• To add more reflection in your plastic bag, include some pennies. Make sure that they are shiny. The shinier they are the more light they will reflect and the more will the optic flow be. Therefore, bugs will have a tough time. You may also wish to add more than one coin. However, do not add so many that the plastic bag becomes unable to hold them.

• Now seal the bag and tie it with a piece of string that is a few feet in length. Make sure this cord is strong enough to carry the water filled plastic bag when it is hung.

• Hang the bag around the area where ticks are bothering you. The presence of light in this area is the key. Along with that, if there is breeze around the area, you can rest assured that things will go your way. This is because wind will make the bag move to and fro, thereby increasing the diameter of the danger zone.

• Lastly, what you can do is check the aftermath. Take a close look at the population of the insects and figure out whether your repellent has affected them. If you have been successful, hanging more than one water bag is also going to help.


To sum it all, Yes, there are bugs out there, and yes some of them will bite or sting you. But with proper precautions, there is no reason not to enjoy the many wonders of creation. Remember, our motto is “You ain’t having fun unless you’re comfortable!”

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