Camping and hiking are exciting outdoor activities that can be done alone or with friends and family. Unfortunately, along with the fun can come the distraction of pests. Fleas and ticks are among the many insects waiting to attach themselves to you or someone you know as you wander through the woods. Following some guidelines can help alleviate common mistakes that may lead to itchy nights.
The first thing you can do to prevent insects from attacking you is to wear clothes that cover your skin. Long pants and long sleeves leave less room for bug landings. Tucking pants into your socks can help deter fleas and ticks by not giving them access to your legs. Wear a hat for any that may drop from vines or trees. Also available are insect screen hats, jackets and body suits, and a chemical called Permethrin can be used to treat clothes. This chemical not only deters ticks but kills them.
The most common form of skin protection is insect repellent. This product works either by releasing an odor that discourages bugs from approaching or masks the human scent we naturally have that draws them. Examples of the chemicals found in insect repellents are Deet and oil extracts from citronella and lemon eucalyptus. Reapply insect repellent every few hours or as directed on the package.
What you do is just as important as what you put on when preventing fleas and ticks. If you hike or walk in woody areas, avoid bushy sections or tall grass. Stay in the middle of trails when possible. Sunny, dry areas are also better for deterring insects than damp, shady locations.
If you camp, keep your camp area clean. Not only will you be able to see fleas and ticks better, you will deter some other bugs that are attracted to food, such as roaches and ants. Apply bug spray around your camping area and near your tent to help protect yourself. Finally, most bugs don't like smoke, and so lighting a fire or using citronella candles, tiki lamps or mosquito coils can assist in making your camping trip bug-free.