Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying pests that you can encounter while camping. They have no regard for personal space, and can find their way into any area. Thankfully, there are many effective ways in which mosquitoes can be repelled. Whilst killing mosquitoes can be cathartic, putting preventative measures in place to keep them away is much more effective, especially for long periods of time.
What are Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are small, flying insects which are renowned for their habit of drinking blood. There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes and they inhabit nearly every corner of the globe. Whilst only the females drink blood, males will also bite. Their saliva can cause an itchy rash once under the skin, and they can transfer pathogens through their bites. This is how diseases such as malaria are passed on.
Even though a lot of diseases associated with mosquitoes are curable or treatable, they are still a nuisance to those who spend time outdoors.
Things to Consider When Planning to Camp
While the onset of mosquitoes shouldn’t really be the main deciding factor in when and where you camp, there are times of the year and locations where mosquitoes will be less likely to ambush you.
The Time of Year
Mosquitoes are more active at different times of the year. They are particularly fond of warmer weather and typically die off in colder months. Whilst mosquitoes are rarely active during the height of heat in the daytime, they are often most active at dawn and dusk during warm months. Dusk in particular sees a lot of mosquito activity, as the temperature is perfect for them to look for food and mates.
Mosquitoes breed and live around stagnant water, low grounds and thick vegetation. When choosing a place to camp, avoiding areas that have these features will reduce the amount of mosquitoes you’ll encounter. Even though mosquitoes are everywhere, staying away from places that they will usually congregate in will vastly decrease the amount that you see.
Keeping Mosquitoes Away
Keeping mosquitoes away while camping can be done using several techniques. Preventative measures to ensure mosquitoes won’t bother you are easier to deal with than finding yourself in the midst of a mosquito invasion.
Mosquito repellent is the tried and tested way of ensuring mosquitoes aren’t constantly circling you. It can be sprayed on yourself, on your tent and on your belongings that you don’t want mosquitoes lingering around. Repellent can be bought as a spray-on or lotion, and there’s a lot of variety, so you’re sure to find a repellent that works for you. When searching for a repellent, waterproof ones are more ideal for camping as they last longer between applications and are less likely to wear off during strenuous activities.
If in bear country, ensure that all sprays and lotions are odorless, especially when spraying on yourself or around the campsite.
- Proven 98-100% repellency against Yellow Fever Mosquitoes - Tested by the largest pest testing lab in the U.S.
- EPA Regulatory Compliance, Deet- Free, Refreshing Herbal Scent, Fine Mist Spray, Alcohol Free, Cruelty Free Product, Not Tested on Animals - Leaping Bunny Program
- Allowed to bring on an airplane. (Put in a one quart-sized zip top bag by TSA rule)
- Proudly made in USA. Exported and sold in many countries.
- The manufacturing facility is USDA certified, GMP-certified. Original Product with USDA Seal that Certifies it to be Organic and Not Manufactured by Private Label Manufacturer
Essential oils work in a similar way to mosquito repellent, but are a fully natural alternative and can be homemade. In order to make natural mosquito repellent, add about 15 drops of one of the following oils to an empty spray bottle:
- Tea tree
Once you’ve added your oils, dilute it with some water and rubbing alcohol and shake to mix it. By diluting the oils, there is less of a chance of it irritating your skin once applied. Mosquitoes sense smells through their antenna as opposed to a nose, so strong or pungent smells can help keep them away.
Mosquito repellent bracelets may not be as effective as sprays, but they work in tandem with other means of repellent. Repellent bracelets are especially useful for children, as sprays and lotions can easily rub off as children play.
Keeping the Campsite Closed and Tidy
One of the most annoying things to find in your tent is a bunch of mosquitoes flying around. Knowing that there are insects inside your tent can make it both harder to sleep, and increases your risk of getting bitten.
Keeping insects out of the tent may be an impossible task, but there are ways to reduce the amount that get in. Making sure all zippers and windows are closed fully immediately after entering or exiting the tent will stop any bugs from entering through the more conventional means. Bugs will still find their way under the rainfly regardless, but if the interior of your tent is mesh then the chances of them finding their way into your living quarters are low.
Keeping trash tidy and away from the campsite can also reduce the risk of attracting mosquitoes; even though they don’t eat garbage, they’re still attracted to the smell.
Coils are similar to incense in terms of how they operate. However, their composition is different as they exist solely to repel and deter bugs from an area. Coils are scented using both essential oils and chemicals that are tailored to keep bugs at bay. Some coils also have pesticides included which will kill bugs that fly too closely. Coils can burn for many hours and are best used alongside other coils and scattered around a campsite in order to create a shield.
Mosquito netting doesn’t just have to be used inside the tent. It can be used over gazebos, sitting areas and porches to keep the flying pests away. Using netting over a porch is a great way to enjoy the evening without constantly swatting mosquitoes away.
Wearing clothing that covers the skin may not stop mosquitoes from approaching you, but it will certainly stop them from biting. Long sleeve shirts, full-length trousers, or even things like full body thermals are all ways to cover up. This works best during cold weather, of course, but during the summer it might be a struggle to wear clothes that cover you up.
Lights, especially at night, will attract bugs. While mosquitoes aren’t usually attracted to lights, seeing other insects following lights will encourage them to follow as there’s likely a source of food in the vicinity.
One alternative to using electric lights is to light a campfire. Campfires provide warmth, light and a means of cooking food. Smoke is known to repel insects, and thankfully, a campfire will produce lots of it. Learn how to make a campfire here.
Treating Mosquito Bites
Camping in an area that mosquitoes call home will likely see a member of your group bitten. Everyone has different reactions to mosquito bites, and some people find themselves with a worse rash than others. Asides from the rash, the itching can be incessant and can put a damper on the mood. If you come prepared, you can tackle mosquito bites a lot more effectively.
The treatment for a mosquito bite should focus on the swelling and itching. After using clean water to wash the area of the bite, apply an anti-itch or antihistamine cream on the affected area to relieve itching when needed. Avoid scratching the area, as it can become infected. Antiseptic cream is always a must when camping.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance wherever you go, but especially when you’re camping. The best way to stop them from bothering you is by preventing them from even approaching. The different methods mentioned in this list work best when paired with other methods.