They’re awful, and they’re everywhere. I bet you’ll find one that’s lost on Mount Everest as well. It’s the only creature you don’t want to see on a summer camping trip. It can only be the mosquito.
This fearless creature is designed to ruin your camping trip. But most people don’t think about them until they find themselves surrounded by thousands of them. And then it’s too late to do anything. Therefore, if you want to keep them away from your camp, you need to prepare ahead.
In this article, I’m trying to find out what’s the best way to keep mosquitoes away while camping. Knowing what they’re afraid of can save you from the misery.
Where to set up camp to stay away from mosquitoes?
Sometimes the best way to keep mosquitoes away is not to get close to their natural breeding places. They can still fly around looking for food, but 100 mosquitoes are better than 10000.
There are some certain spots where mosquitoes “hang around” and camping next to them will bring you misery. In fact, all mosquitoes need to have access to water to complete their life cycle. Most often, they look for stagnant water to live and breed.
If you’re camping area is close to a swamp, lake or pond you’re better off moving away from it. Other places where you can find plenty of them can be:
- areas with tall grass near inhabited locations
- areas with a lot of rubbish that can hold rainwater (empty bottles, cans, etc.)
- areas with storm drain
- in agricultural irrigation canals
Mosquitoes start to come out in big numbers after sunset. So if you camp near water and you initially don’t see them doesn’t mean you are safe. I guarantee they’ll come out as soon as they “smell blood”. More facts about where mosquitoes thrive can be found here.
Do campfires keep mosquitoes away?
There is little scientific evidence to back this. Most often people will say that smoke is a natural mosquito repellent, but I don’t agree with this. I have to admit that, for me, it worked a few times but many times it was useless.
Campfires are the most significant source of carbon dioxide on your campsite. It’s well known that mosquitoes have CO2 sensors and this gas attracts them. In theory, the campfire can be a magnet for all the bloodsucking creators. So why does sometimes it seems to work?
Maybe it’s because if you stay close to the fire, they can’t make a difference between your CO2 and the one that comes from the campfire. This way they are unable to spot the prey. It’s just my theory, and it’s not backed up by evidence.
But there’s something you can do with the help of a campfire to keep mosquitoes away. That is to burn some essential oils that are known to repel insects. There’s more about this in the next subtopic.
Control mosquitoes on your campsite with natural repellents
A safe way to have a mosquito-free campground is to bring in some essential oils that you can burn after sunset. They contain natural substances that are the most effective insect repellent, and there’s no better way to release those substances other than heating those oils.
There’s a lot of them to choose from, and you need to know what insect they work best for. Very often, mosquitoes don’t hang around alone.
Essential oils that repel insects
- Mosquitoes: citronella, peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, and thyme
- Fleas: Cedarwood, eucalyptus and all other that work for mosquitoes as well.
- Ticks: juniper, rosewood, oregano
Use mosquitoes repellent citronella candles
They are usually made from the same essential oils that I listed earlier. One candle can last for more than one night. A campfire can release those natural substances faster, but you always need to pour some more oil over the fire because they burn off quite quickly. Candles do release a smaller amount of them but, once you get one burning, you don’t need to maintain it.
You can find them very cheap, or you can try to make one yourself. I included this homemade mosquito repellent candle DIY guide to get some inspiration.
Use Aloe Vera creams
Exotic plants are known to be the best when it comes to preventing insect bites, and the leading one is Aloe Vera. People use this to treat bites, but they often don’t know that aloe vera cream can create a barrier that offers protection against mosquitoes.
Will bug-zappers work against mosquitoes?
Bug-zappers (Blacklight insect electrocution devices) proved themselves as one of the best accessories that can kill unwanted bugs. But when it comes to killing mosquitoes, a study by the University of Notre Dame showed that they only count as much as 4% of the total number of dead insects in a period of 24h. Furthermore, the study showed that this device didn’t help at all in reducing their number from the tested backyard.
So if you are thinking of getting one for your camping trip, consider this information.
Should I use an ultrasonic device?
There are so many studies that busted this myth but I looked on Amazon recently, and people buy them like crazy. The idea that one small device or even an iPhone app will keep mosquitoes away is appealing to the public. My advice? Don’t buy one. You’re just throwing away a couple of dollars.
If you don’t believe, get your phone and head to the app market. I bet you’ll find 100+ free apps that claim to repel insects. Install one, perhaps the one with 5-star ratings (fake ones), leave your windows open one night and test it. You’ll understand me better after that.
Are there any mosquito traps that I can buy?
Yes, there are. And they do generate quite some interest. Many traps use a technique that converts propane gas into CO2 to attract these insects. But that begs the question: will they work?
I don’t think any manufacturer can claim that their trap can eliminate them entirely. The idea behind these traps is to reduce the number of questing mosquitoes. But traps are not the only CO2 generators on a campsite, and these bloodsuckers can always pick you up as a victim. You to release carbon dioxide when breathing right?
So the answer is yes, they can work but are not that effective while camping. I firmly believe that when you are on their natural territory, your approach should be to repel mosquitoes not to kill them, because they too many of them to kill.
Choose a tent with a screen room
Screen rooms are a must for summer camping. You will always need to ventilate your tent, and if you don’t have a screen room, you are going to face the full might of a mosquito swarm.
There’s also the DIY version for this if you don’t want to spend money on a brand new tent. You can buy some inexpensive insect mesh from Amazon for the price of $5 per 4 x 3 feet sheet.
What to wear to prevent them from biting me?
I would say you should wear long sleeve shirts and pants but how comfortable this can be on a hot summer day? If you are having trouble controlling them, you might want to get yourself a wearable mosquito net. They do offer head to toe protection against bites, and they retail at around $30.
I recommend this if you are camping in an area where you know that mosquito bites can transmit malaria or other diseases. You don’t want to rely solely on natural repellents because just one bite can get you into serious troubles.
Wearing bug repellent bracelets that contain some citronella oil can help. I never tested them, but I know people started using them more and more.
Are bug sprays safe to use?
When it comes to substances that contain hazardous chemicals, my only advice is to avoid them. Researchers are still debating if these bug sprays are dangerous to use but in my opinion, any chemical, no matter how little you use, will at some point have an impact on your health.
There are many options for DEET free sprays out there, so try any natural ones and see if they work.
What things attract mosquitoes to your campsite?
Know that you know how you can repel mosquitoes you need to know what can they attract them to your campsite.
- Perfumes – I don’t understand why you would use them while camping but it’s better to know that this will always attract bugs.
- Carbon Dioxide – This is recognized as the main thing that mosquitoes use when they are looking for food.
- Body Heat – These bugs are equipped with sensors that can detect blood circulation.
- Sweat and urine – they need water to reproduce, and these can provide both warm and stagnant source of water.
- People drinking beer – I hate to include this one but studies show that when we are drinking beer, we have more chances to become a victim for mosquitoes
- Movement – they say that if you stay, still you have better chances to avoid getting bitten.
It’s true that commercial sprays and creams can have the most effect on repelling mosquitoes, but you need to be careful when using them. Some may contain chemicals that can harm you so do your due diligence before buying. In this post, I only wanted to include natural repellents that are known to be safe.
My quest to help you find out what is the best way to keep mosquitoes away on a camping trip has reached an end. I am sure that I missed many other unique ideas that you guys might have tested and found out to be working. If any, please leave a comment down below, and I will include them in this post.