Whether you’re camping in the backyard or exploring the local forest, finding ways to avoid mosquito bites is important. This one insect is sure to spoil your fun it you don't protect yourself. And these pesky insects aren’t just annoying, they can pose a serious risk to your health. In addition to those red, itchy bumps that we all loathe, mosquitos can pass along nasty diseases. Such as dengue fever, malaria and the Zika virus. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family from bites.
Ways To Avoid Mosquito Bites
1. Stay Away from Mosquito Hotspots
When planning your next vacation, try to stay away from mosquito hotspots, if possible. At the very least, avoid areas where mosquito-borne diseases are the most prevalent. Multiple organizations, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide resources to let travelers know where certain diseases are common and how to avoid them.
2. Use Insect Repellent
Insect repellent does exactly what it claims to do – keeps bugs away. It’s available at your local big box store, supermarket or pharmacy, and it is an absolute must-have when you are planning on spending time outdoors. The CDC recommends products containing at least 20% DEET for maximum protection against mosquitos as well as other insects, like ticks. Other ingredients that protect against mosquitos include Picaridin, IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol and 2-undecanone.
When shopping for insect repellent, be sure to choose a product that is registered with the EPA. EPA-registered repellents are tested and proven to be effective. I recommend this one from Sawyer Products Premium Ultra 30% DEET Insect Repellent.
Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin. If you are also wearing sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and allow it to dry before applying the insect repellent. Remember to reapply according to the product’s instructions to ensure continued protection.
3. Stick to Light-Colored Clothing
In addition to helping you stay cooler in warm climates, wearing light-colored clothing will help keep mosquitoes at bay. While the reasoning isn’t entirely understood, mosquitoes tend to be more attracted to darker colors. This may be due to the contrast dark colors create against the horizon during the times when the annoying insects are most active.
While light-colored t-shirts and pants will help deter mosquitoes, make sure they aren’t too bright. Bright colors tend to attract stinging insects like bees and wasps. Pastels and neutrals are your best bet for avoiding both mosquito bites and stings from other insects.
4. Dress Appropriately
When it comes to choosing the right clothing for avoiding mosquito bites, the right colors are only part of the battle. Since mosquitos bite on areas of exposed skin, it is best to keep skin exposure to a minimum. You might not want to wear long sleeves and pants on a hot summer day, but doing so could keep you from suffering the effects of itchy bites and potentially deadly diseases.
I recommend checking out the Columbia Mens Long Sleeve Shirt range, both breathable and with UV protection.
A lightweight, long-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of linen pants provide sufficient protection while helping you stay relatively cool. Long-sleeved cotton t-shirts will breathe well and allow moisture to evaporate from your skin to help you stay comfortable.
Also, stick with closed-toed shoes instead of sandals. Certain species tend to stay low to the ground, and exposed skin on the feet is extremely tempting.
5. Avoid Certain Times Of Day
When possible, plan outdoor activities for times when mosquitos are less active. Generally, they are most active at dawn and at dusk, so you are less likely to get bit if you schedule outdoor activities for mid-day.
While this is generally true for most types of mosquitoes, different species are active at different times. Do some research to determine what types of mosquitoes are prevalent in the area you are visiting and when they are most active to plan your days accordingly.
6. Eliminate Standing Water
While there might not be much you can do about standing water if you are on vacation or on a camping trip, you can take control of the mosquito population in your backyard by eliminating standing water. Standing water provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Whether it’s a rain collection barrel, a mud puddle or even a forgotten bucket that still has a bit of water in it from your last trip to the beach. Ultimately, standing water can attract pesky insects.
Make your backyard a little less hospitable by eliminating all those sources of standing water. It doesn’t take much water to attract mosquitos, so make sure there are no partially filled glasses on your porch or puddles in your kids’ outdoor toys. Getting rid of standing water won’t completely eliminate mosquitos on your property but doing so should reduce their numbers. If you live in close proximity to other homes, talk to your neighbors about eliminating standing water on their properties, too.
7. Keep The Air Moving
While they (obviously) can fly, mosquitos actually aren’t particularly strong fliers. That is why they tend to be more active at dawn and at dusk, which is when there isn’t usually much wind.
Even a slight breeze makes it more difficult for these pesky insects to reach you, so keeping the air moving is a good way to prevent bites. Install a ceiling fan on your porch to keep the air moving, or bring a battery-operated fan along on your next camping trip. Even a personal hand-held fan could help keep those annoying critters away from your face when you’re out in the woods.
8. Use Mosquito Nets
When traveling in areas where mosquito-borne diseases are common, make sure your accommodation has mosquito nets around the beds. When you go to bed each night, make sure the net is securely tucked in, and spray any holes with insect repellent so you don’t wake up covered in bites.
Ways To Avoid Mosquito Bites Conclusion
Mosquito bites are a quick way to turn any day of fun into a nightmare! Not only are they itchy, unappealing, and uncomfortable, they can also be potentially dangerous and ridden with viruses. Now that you know several ways to avoid mosquito bites, there is no reason to cancel all of your outdoor plans. By taking the precautions and measures discussed above, you will be prepared to deal with the threat of mosquitos and well-equipped to handle any unfortunate bites.
So if you're ready to start planning your next camping or hiking trip, here's a great Camping Essentials Checklist to get you started. And additionally here's some handy Camping Gifts it you're ever looking to surprise your trek buddy.