Out in the woods there is one local that always wants to greet you, and his name is the mosquito. These little bugs aren’t just annoying, they can be downright dangerous.
So what’s a good camper to do? This article will walk you through the steps of eliminating mosquitoes from your campsite before they eat you!
There are over 200 species of mosquitoes today, and a host of disease that follows them. West Nile, Malaria and Yellow Fever are some of the most common mosquito carried disease, but there are actually many others. A mosquito transfers disease with its saliva. When it digs in to bite you or your animals you can be sure that something is being transferred. The tropics are the world place for these types of disease, however in recent years southeast America has reported various debilitating disorders carried by the Asian Tiger mosquito. This bug once unknown in the United States and has now traveled to our country and is a cause for concern.
The life cycle of this dreaded bug can actually help you fight them on a camping trip. Mosquitos develop when the female lays eggs in the water. The bugs hatch and feed on the microorganisms in the water, then they emerge from the water and begin to fly. The female bug can live an entire month, laying eggs each time it consumes a blood meal. Males only live a week or two and do not consume blood — only plant juice!
Stop Their Habitation:
Now that you understand what makes mosquitoes flourish you can begin to look at your campsite. The best way to ward off the bugs is by identifying their breeding spots and destroy them. Look for the following types of standing water. According to MosquitoMagnet they are as follows:
- Planters and saucers
- Bird baths
- Swimming pools
- Wading pools
- Rain gutters
- Downspouts Ditches
- Slow-moving streams
- Old tires
- Garbage cans
- Pet dishes
- Rain barrels
- Animal troughs
- Flat roofs
Since these little bugs spend most of their life in water, eliminating these sources can help prevent bites before they happen. You can use this information to monitor your home or your campsite! While water is the main area mosquitoes grow, they often hide in branches, tree trunks and grasses as they prepare to fly. Obviously, this can be a challenge if you are camping.
A Few Natural Options:
If you are dealing with a mosquito issue on your property you might consider adding natural predators to eat the bugs as they grow. These predators include dragonflies, Gambusia fish, ants, ground beetles, frogs, snails and spiders. Birds and bats also help keep mosquitoes at bay. Some campers actually travel with bird or bat houses to invite these creatures to their campsite to patrol the area at night.
Certain types of plants such as some geraniums, lemon thyme and lemongrass keep mosquitos at bay. The popular citronella candles are made from oil from lemon scented plants. The scent is offensive to mosquitos and will often keep them away. Believe it or not, catnip, mint and basil can also be used to ward off these little bugs.
The easiest way to avoid bug bites is to stay inside at dusk. If you can’t stay in, be sure to wear light colored clothes that fully cover your skin. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so light colored clothes are always best. Another easy way to avoid mosquitoes is to keep a house fan on at your campsite. A fan can provide a steady wind that will blow away your personal scent. As solar technology gains steam you may be able to find a solar powered fan to do the dirty work even if you are dry camping.
Deet is the number one most effective chemical option in the fight against mosquitoes, but is only a short term solution. Deet has been popular for over 50 years and continues to work today. Campsites can be made mosquito safe by spraying Deet on all fabrics including your hats and clothes and even a tablecloth, but it will not work for more than a couple of hours.
Deet does have restrictions, especially when sprayed directly on the skin. Be aware that deet should not be applied over or near cuts, or wounds or any rash on your skin. It is dangerous for young children and over-application can make you very sick.
There are several high tech approaches to the mosquito problem. Look for them in your local variety or camping store.
- Wristband and clip ons.
- Mosquito lamps and lanterns using heat activated repellant
- Insect Shield clothing called Permethrin.
- Bug Zappers that attract and then electrocute bugs in your campsite.
Mosquito Magnet’s Ultimate Trap:
The newest and most interesting device on the market by Mosquito Magnet. This bug trap actually attracts, traps and kills he female using octenol. The EPA reports that octenol does not hurt humans, pets or the environment, and the longer these traps are used in your campsite the more likely it is to keep mosquitoes permanently away. These traps come in a variety of sizes and prices. The smallest starts at nearly $400 so you have to be serious about bug elimination!
The Campsite Game Plan:
- Look for a camping area that is free from standing or running water issues.
- If possible, eliminate all breeding grounds in the area of your campsite.
- Bring a fan, light colored clothing, Deet, citrus candles and/or a mosquito magnet trap.
- Don’t forget to bring some form of bug soothing treatment. One of the best on the market is AfterBite and Benadryl Anti Itch. It’s always a good idea to have antihistamines for both adults and children just in case you become infected.
What do you do to keep your campsite clear of mosquitos? Do you have a secret system? Please share your ideas with our readers. Add your comments to the box below. Now, take a few minutes and share this informative article with all your camping and camping friends. Thanks!