Camping, hiking and exploring the great outdoors is one of our favourite things to do, but there is always one thing that gets on everyone’s nerves… insects. Whether it is mosquitos, midges, flies or ants, you are bound to encounter one, if not all of these at some point during your trip. Many traditional solutions involve some sort of chemical, however, if you prefer to avoid pesticides and chemicals there are more natural solutions available. Avoiding insects entirely is near impossible, so if you want to make it through your adventure as naturally and irritation free as possible we’ve got a few tips for you.
Make a Campfire
One of the best ways to deter bugs from your campsite is to get set up with a campfire. The smoke is great for deterring bugs. Throwing some sage on the fire is another deterrent. Yep, the same sage some people burn to ward off ‘evil spirits’. Apparently, bugs don’t like it either. Remember to always check the restrictions on fires for your campsite before getting setting anything up.
Garlic & Onions
This tip is for those who don’t mind getting a little smelly. So, if you are planning your first camping trip away with your significant other, use this tip with caution. A possible option for deterring insects is to rub slices of onion on your skin. This one is not for everyone as it will leave you reeking of onion. But if desperate times call for desperate measures, this might be the way to go. Consuming garlic is also said to keep the bugs from biting. According to many frequent campers, the scent of the garlic will be expelled through the pores of your skin, deterring mosquitos and midges. On the same train of thought, some also suggest avoiding sugary items such as soft drink or lollies. The idea is that sweetness can be expelled through your pores, which makes you extra enticing to the little biters.
Most bugs tend to be attracted to sweet smelling things. So if you are planning a trip outdoors, maybe skip the perfume or cologne. This can also apply to shampoos, soaps and deodorants. When bathing on your, stick to unscented products where possible so you can blend into your environment. There are some scents and oils that can deter insects (see below) so stick to those if you want to smell nice, without the bugs bothering you.
DIY Natural Repellents
There are quite a few essential oils that act as a great insect deterrent without the need for harmful chemicals. Here are some of the most popular options: Peppermint – Lemon – Lavender – Eucalyptus – Thyme – Geranium – Clove – Sage – Cinnamon – Rosemary – Patchouli – Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
To make your own natural repellent you can blend any of these essentials with a carrier oil (such as coconut or sweet almond oil). Most of these essential oils are equally effective in deterring insects so play around with a few different blends to find one you like. Check out this site for some ideas for blends.
If you don’t have access to essential oils, there are heaps of options for DIY insect repellent from fresh or dried herbs and other ingredients. You can find a bunch of different recipes here.
- Location – Where possible, choose a campsite that is dry and away from stagnant water.
- Keep Tidy – Be sure to clean up your dishes immediately after cooking and eating. Properly store and dispose of food. Clean the cooking and eating areas thoroughly and frequently to reduce the temptation for creepy crawlies.
- Cover Up – Where possible wear full-length sleeves and pants. The physical barrier won’t stop the most determined of mosquitos but it will stop most bugs from bothering you. It’s worth investing in some high quality, light weight clothing options for Summer too. That way you can be protected and stay cool at the same time.
- Screens & Nets – If you are in a really bad area, you might need to up the ante with an enclosed outdoor screen room or mosquito net over your sleeping area. Nothing will get through those so you can enjoy a peaceful bug-free evening with friends and family.
Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas for helping to keep your next camping trip naturally insect-free.
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