How to Keep Mosquitoes away while Camping – Part 1

Categories:Camping Advice | Guest Post | Hiking Advice

The War Against Mosquitoes: Take No Prisoners!

It was bound to happen: The American Mosquito Control Association must have gotten fed up with endless bad press mosquitoes have received over time, so they added a Fun Facts page to their website.

Mosquitoes and fun? As the Robot in the film “Lost in Space” and characters in the “Star Wars” franchise agree: “This does not compute.”

When did the ongoing battle between man and mosquito begin? Millions of years ago. And while Noah only loaded two on the ark, there are currently between 2,700 and 3,500 species flitting about, according to Nature.com. The good news is that only a couple of hundred of the 3,500 types stalk humans. The bad news? A couple of hundred of the 3,500 types stalk humans.

But you’re interested in knowing how and why mosquitoes decide to settle on you when the urge to snack hits–and we are here to educate campers so close encounters of the itchy kind are avoided.

Let’s begin by acknowledging the fact that these insects are focused: A salt marsh mosquito will travel up to 40 miles on a food quest, at which point, every human becomes “fare” game. Need an excuse to lose weight? Mosquitoes love overweight people most of all because weight gain alters body chemistry.

Excess weight isn’t the only factor that invites mosquitoes: they are attracted to dark-colored clothing and find smelly feet irresistible, so if you’re having trouble getting the kids to wash theirs, share this tidbit—especially if you’ve got youngsters who see showers as a punishment.

Oh, and no canoodling by the campfire after the kids hit the sack if the moon is full. This may sound like the most romantic idea ever, but during full moons, mosquito activity increases 500-percent. Looks like you’ll have to decide which itch to scratch.

But, seriously…

A doctor named Sir Ronald Ross became fixated with mosquitoes when took a post-doc class in bacteriology that convinced him his future lay in tropical medicine. Packing his family off to India in 1892, his pioneering work on mosquito transmission of malaria ushered in a new way of thinking about the topic on August 20, 1897. Given the Nobel Prize in 1902, Ross remains the undisputed expert on all things related to airborne mosquito disease transmission.

But Anopheles mosquitoes guilty of infecting humans and causing malaria are by no means the only strain people—-and particularly outdoorsmen—-must worry about. According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya and the Zika virus all present serious health threats to campers who don’t take proper precautions.

Do you live—-or intend to camp—-in a geographic area that’s become Mosquito Mecca? You don’t have to stay home but you do have to learn about areas plagued by mosquito infestations so you can protect yourself properly. Bookmark these websites and use them to plan your upcoming camping trips:

About mosquito breeding grounds

It’s been 16 years since journalist Kathleen Cannon wrote “Where Mosquitoes and Tires Breed,” and while her quirky headline stopped “New York Times” readers in mid-page, her thesis emphasized the importance of understanding that stagnant ponds, mangrove swamps, and lakes aren’t the only areas that require caution.

It’s been 16 years since journalist Kathleen Cannon wrote “Where Mosquitoes and Tires Breed,” and while her quirky headline stopped “New York Times” readers in mid-page, her thesis emphasized the importance of understanding that stagnant ponds, mangrove swamps, and lakes aren’t the only areas that require caution.

Some mosquito species prefer dry nesting areas. Others favor hollowed out trees. But it’s water collection points within junkyards and dumps that have the potential to host the biggest numbers of these pests and since mosquitoes can travel distances, these venues don’t have to be located next to a campground to spell trouble.

Cannon’s investigation concluded that in New Jersey alone, 15 million tires found at 24 disparate locations became breeding havens for West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is no local problem.

Around three billion tires offer hospitality to breeding mosquitoes across the U.S. and 240 million more are added annually. With state and federal monies drying up for clean-up efforts, the future isn’t looking rosy for humans eager to escape bites when they go on camping expeditions.

Time to make friends

Nature.com isn’t the only resource on the Internet stating that mosquitoes have been around “for more than 100 million years.” Depending on your belief system, they could pre-date man. Mosquitoes have survived parched earth and ice ages, so perhaps it’s time to surrender and acknowledge their superiority.

That doesn’t mean you have to like them. In fact, fearing them is a saner away to deal with mosquitoes because some species have the power to kill. This topic presents many teachable moments for your kids. Share it with them so they come to love the outdoors and feel as safe in camping environments as you do.

In part two of this series, you will learn 20 Ways to avoid mosquitoes like the plague!


About the author: Paul Turner is the owner of Take Outdoors, a website for the outdoor enthusiasts. You can also connect with Paul on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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