We all look forward to the warmer months, but summer can have its irritations, namely biting bugs. Mosquitos, biting flies, wasps and ticks can be anything from annoying to dangerous. Prevention is better than cure, so taking steps to keep those pesky bugs at bay has to go top of your agenda. The good news is there is plenty you can do to stay bite free on your next outdoor escapade.
Tempting as it may be to dress down when the mercury rises, keeping as much flesh as possible covered is the name of the game if you’re keen to avoid insect bites.
Long trousers and longer socks that keep your ankles protected are a must if you’re walking in grassy areas or woodland, because you want to avoid ticks at all costs. Ticks carry Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that usually requires treatment with antibiotics. Wearing light coloured clothing will help you see any ticks that you may have picked up so you can brush them off. Prompt tick removal can reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease.
Mosquitos also find it more of a challenge to pierce through clothing too. And don’t forget your head… a hat is a must if your scalp is exposed. Light colours are less attractive to insects than dark ones.
Aftershave, perfumes, body sprays and scented lotions might make you feel fresh and clean, but they also attract insects which flock in their droves to the sweet aromas.
So leave the smellies at home and opt instead for unscented deodorants and soaps so you can stay clean, but avoid becoming a walking target for biters.
Use insect repellent
Apply insect repellent to any exposed skin, but do be wary of the potential for allergic reactions. DEET is by far the best at protecting against biting insects, but it can irritate the skin and you shouldn’t overuse it.
Picaridin-based repellents are an alternative, and citronella or lavender are good natural options. Both work well at keeping bites to a minimum.
You can by all means spray your clothes too, or buy garments that are pre-treated with insect repellent.
Avoid damp pitch-ups
Biting insects are attracted to damp environments. So as appealing as it may be to pitch up next to that scenic lake or river bank, you’re best advised to stick to dryer spots.
Grassy areas are particularly appealing to biters, and mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant waters. So keep going past those until you find somewhere less damp to set up camp.
Keep food covered
Food is a magnet for wasps and ants, especially the sweeter stuff. So be sure to keep your stash of food covered at all times.
Use a cool box for your chilled items, wash up without delay after you’ve eaten, and seal up any rubbish before disposing of it appropriately.
Create a bug barrier
If your sleeping shelter of choice is a swag or hammock, choose one that’s fitted with a bug mesh. It’ll keep those toothy nippers off during the night, but won’t interrupt your stargazing.
The Palmerston Double Canvas Swag for example has a mesh covering the shooter’s window and boot/gear cover. And the Rockhampton Canvas Swag has a super fine bug-stop mesh covering the shooter’s window and foot vent, so will be effective for the smaller midges as well as larger mosquitos.
The Bushmen Bushbed Pro Hammock Camo comes fitted with a mosquito net with a mesh size of 1mm, so again will protect against the smaller bugs, including black flies, fleas and young ticks. The net also protects against direct sunlight, moisture and dust.
The Bushmen Hideout Warm multifunctional bushcraft Sleeping Bag / Poncho / Underblanket also has a built-in mosquito net.