We all love nature, right? Well, sadly, so do the buzzing masses revelling in this season’s wetter-than-usual summer conditions. So how do you deal with mozzies at camp? Well, we’ve got a few nifty tricks up our sleeves to beat these pint-size camp crashers.
So, time to grab your cork-strung hat, put down the swatter and check out our complete summer bug survival guide.
CHOOSE GOOD QUALITY REPELLENTS
Repeat after me: real campers wear repellent. You are never too tough and it truly makes a difference especially given the rise of mosquito-borne diseases this year.
DEET blends are popular but formulations with citriodiol are also highly effective against midges and sandflies, and gentler on fabrics.
That said, different formulations suit different conditions. So read the label and always follow directions.
Pic by Bushman, showing Bushman Naturals range.
AVOIDING MOZZIES? CHECK YOUR CAMP
You can’t always predict blighter hotspots on arrival but you can usually spot a few red flags.
Steer clear of pooling still water and muddy patches and ant hills if you can. And watch for dumped rubbish (and be a good camper while you’re at it)—it’s a haven for vermin.
Generally speaking, you’ll encounter fewer bugs in large open areas. Ring your campsite with ant sand if you think ants might be a problem.
IN THE CARAVAN
In the van, a good quality commercial bug spray wards off pests when you’re travelling in different conditions. Essential oils can help, too, especially if the rig’s unattended for a long time.
Lemon oil repels spiders and ants while vermin avoid peppermint oil. A few drops on a tissue at the back of the cupboard out of reach from pets and kids will do the trick.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and can degrade plastics. Never ingest.
Another tip is to vacuum before you go and regularly wipe down dusty surfaces to prevent bugs moving in. Check out our dust mitigating tips mid-trip.
COOKING AT CAMP
Cooking odours attract flies. So if you’re in a mosquito- or bug-infested campsite prepare at least part of your meal indoors or barbecue earlier in the day.
Or, if permitted, cook on the campfire. Flies, mosquitoes and other bugs avoid the smoke.
Bugs prefer white light, too, so yellow lighting can help after dark.
Some caravan manufacturers provide bug lighting on their vans but you can buy 12V orange/yellow lights at your favourite camping gear outlet.
STOP ITCHES IN THEIR TRACKS
Even with our best defences we can’t always completely bug-proof our adventures particularly near water or after a swim.
So, for those times when we’re caught short, prepare a comfort-contingency by packing a reputable bite-relief preparation into your medical kit.
KEEP FOOD SCRAPS SEALED
Popular campsites embolden nighttime raiders. Especially if they’re regularly fed.
And if you’re not prepared they can make a real mess of your campsite. So sealing rubbish in containers is your best defence—and it keeps the flies at bay.
Strong rubbish bins integrated onto spare wheel covers are fantastic if you’re carting rubbish home. While indoors, keeping sugar in snap lock containers helps mitigate ants.
CHECK THE FLYSCREENS AND SHUT THE DOOR!!
Fly-screens provide an excellent barrier against bugs after dark. So long as you regularly check your seals and flyscreens.
Shut the doors regularly. And run a fan as mosquitoes are weak fliers—indoors or out.
And finally, consider what you’re wearing.
Opt for light-coloured lightweight clothing with long sleeves at times when or where you’re likely to encounter bugs, say fishing by a river at dusk or on a rainforest walk.