When we anticipate hiking and camping in the Great Outdoors, we readily imagine the crisp air, cool streams and sweeping vistas. If we are wise, however, we look ahead and prepare to encounter something else: bugs, snakes and other critters.
First, choose the location of your campsite carefully — go for an open, flat area away from water and damp ground. Be ready to cope with these specific nuisances:
These critters are resistant to bait traps and sprays. Instead, use diatomaceous earth — a powder made of tiny, dried-up sea creatures. Pour lines of earth to make a perimeter around key areas such as the tent or the table. Avoid ant hills if at all possible.
These insects can sting multiple times; they are attracted to soda, meat, anything sweet. Consider buying or making a wasp trap.
FLIES AND MOSQUITOES
Infected mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus. A suitable insect repellent is a must. Spray repellent on your clothing and on the tent. Avoid products containing naphthalene; any product with permethrin should only be used on clothing. According to Bio Tech Pest Control in Texas, some types of repellent actually attract mosquitoes by design — not a desirable effect. It’s smart to dress so that less skin is exposed: Wear a bandana and long clothing, and tuck your pants leg in your socks. Consider putting up bug netting. Check the zippers on your tent. Bugs are attracted to sweat, so try to stay cool and clean. Avoid fragrances and perfumes as insects are drawn by strong scents.
SNAKES AND SCORPIONS
Beware! Get away as quickly as possible. Seek medical attention if bitten. Consider laying down a perimeter of snake-repellent foam around your tent if you are in an area with a high concentration of poisonous snakes.
These tiny, flat mites can harbor Lyme disease. Try to wear hats, long clothing and high socks. Keep in mind, light-colored clothing will provide greater contrast for noticing a tick. Avoid areas with tall grass. Remember to check for ticks periodically, especially along waistbands, in the armpits, and in hair.
CHIPMUNKS, RACCOONS, SKUNKS AND BIRDS
These creatures are just hungry. Don’t leave food unattended, and make sure all trash is tightly wrapped. Keep a tidy campsite.
Prevention is definitely best with these critters. Make noise by wearing a bear bell or by clapping and shouting every so often. Consider carrying bear spray (like pepper spray) with at least 1.5% capsaicin