5 Techniques for avoiding mosquito bites during your camping trip

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Only female mosquitoes feed to nourish their eggs once per cycle. This means a mosquito bite breeds 50 more. You shouldn’t avoid mosquito bites just because they are annoying. They are also dangerous. They can harbor all sorts of diseases such as Chikungunya, Malaria, West Nile, or Zika.

Permethrin

Spray your tent with permethrin and let it dry for a day. Permethrin is an insecticide. It incapacitates insects before they can bite and lasts for approximately 42 days before needing a reapplication. Its use is controversial because it can harm beneficial insects such as honey bees and aquatic life, but is very effective at killing ticks and mosquitoes. It is safe for topical use in adults and children over the age of two months. While it is safe if used as directed, pregnant women will need to confirm with their doctor before use. It is extremely toxic to cats while wet, but not a problem once dry.

Long-Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN)

An LLIN is a mosquito net saturated with insecticide. The insecticide is woven into the fibers of the netting and is slowly released over a 4-5 year period of time. They act as a mechanical barrier against mosquitoes and also killing mosquitoes upon contact. While they can develop small holes over time, they still remain 90+% effective, since mosquitoes die from landing on the net. These nets are safe for children because the dosage isn’t high enough to cause any harm.

Picaridin

Picaridin is a repellent that is applied directly to the skin. It is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, lice, mites, and fleas. It deters insects, but does not kill them. When applied to your skin, it covers your scent so that bugs can’t detect you. Depending on the concentration, it will need to be reapplied every 4-8 hours. Most campers prefer to use picaridin over DEET because it is odorless, non-greasy, and does not dissolve plastics or other synthetics. The only concern with picaridin is it’s relatively new. It was approved for sale in Europe and Asia in 1998 and in the United States in 2005. It hasn’t been around long enough to determine any long-term health risks.

Thermacell

It’s a device that is powered by a fuel cartridge for up to 12 hours. It uses a heat activated repellent to create an invisible, scent-free, zone of protection from mosquitoes. The repellent, allethrin, is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.

Your clothes

This is the least toxic method for avoiding mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks. Wear a mosquito head net mesh to protect your face. You want to wear clothes made of tight woven fabric such as nylon or poly. The thicker your clothing, the better. Some species of mosquitoes are attracted to black so avoid black.

Other tips for avoiding mosquito bites

  • Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, the air you exhale. Avoid overexerting yourself to avoid breathing hard which in turn helps you avoid mosquitoes.
  • When you’re not mobile, an oscillating fan can keep them away. It dilutes the CO2 and also acts as a barrier since mosquitoes are weak flyers.
  • Some people swear that vitamin B supplements repel mosquitoes. They recommend a pill each morning. There are also studies that disprove this so try it and see if it works for you.
  • Once it has bitten you, apply hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to the affected area immediately. The longer you wait, the less effective it will be. It will help relieve the itch.

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