How To Ensure Bugs Don’t Ruin Your Autumn Camping Experience
by Emily Jannet on Sep 29, 2022
With the cooler autumn and winter weather on the horizon, we can at least look forward to one positive:
The gradual elimination of those pesky camp-site insects.
There really is nothing quite like a plague of mosquitoes and biting bugs, in general, to take the fun out of a camping trip. Sadly, many of these tenacious little critters continue their relentless onslaught right into the autumn.
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At which point, they become significantly more aggressive, and seem to have nothing on their minds but causing chaos for campers.
Thankfully, the UK is not quite the same hotbed of dangerous bugs and insects as some places overseas. Still, let your guard down for a moment and your plans could easily be scuppered by mosquitoes, ticks, wasps, ants and midges.
Thankfully, a proactive approach to insect avoidance can keep you safe from the perils of these perpetual pests. In specific, these are the best ways of keeping bugs at bay, when out and about in the autumn:
Avoid Wet or Damp Places
The vast majority of bugs thrive in damp places and wet environments. Stagnant pools and ponds in particular are magnets for bugs and insects, so it’s best to avoid such places entirely. Setting up camp on elevated ground is a good way to ensure the surrounding surface is well-drained. The fast-moving water of a stream or river brings also brings less of a risk of insect plagues than still water elsewhere.
Wear Long Sleeved Clothing
The best way to protect yourself from bites and stings is to make it as difficult as possible for insects to get to your skin in the first place. Long-sleeved tops and trousers are therefore essential, which you will probably be wearing in the cooler months of the year anyway. Compression socks will also keep your ankles safe from bites and stings. For an added kick, you can even pick up clothes that have been pre-treated with bug repellents, which in some cases can be surprisingly effective.
Use Chemical Repellents Cautiously
High-strength insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET are extremely effective in keeping bugs at bay. However, they also need to be used carefully and sparingly, as prolonged exposure to DEET can be hazardous to health. In addition, some of these products are extremely flammable - even a spark created by a flint and steel could be enough to ignite freshly-applied insect repellent, calling for extreme caution around the campfire.
Light Citronella Sticks
Another option is to light citronella sticks around your campsite, which look a little like incense sticks in a spiral shape. These are often the first line of defence against mosquitoes used in places like Southeast Asia, where the locals swear by their effectiveness. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other insect repellents, though again call for caution when used alongside flammable sprays.
Turn off the Lights
Any insects that are attracted to your campfire will meet their maker of their own accord. By contrast, those attracted to any artificial lights around your campsite will stick around and make your life a misery. Where possible, it is advisable to keep all non-essential lights off from dusk till dawn. That is, unless you pick up a rechargeable light that doubles as a bug-zapper, which may be worth considering.
Seal Away Your Food
Last up, wasps and ants in particular will make a beeline for anything you leave lying around with a high sugar content. To make your campsite less attractive to unwelcome guests, keep your food safely stored away in an airtight bag or container. Or you could go the opposite way and make a rudimentary wasp trap, calling for nothing more than a plastic water bottle and your preferred sugary substance.