Leave the bugs for the birds

Leave the bugs for the birds

by Greg Illes

Let’s face it — the lovely forests and streams that we all enjoy when we are out-and-about are fantastic havens for all manner of obnoxious bugs. Flies, ticks and mosquitoes are not only at the top of the annoying list, but also the most likely to spread uncomfortable or even serious diseases.

Whether it’s peace or health or both, we all strive to keep those pesky bugs away from ourselves and our loved ones — but it’s not always an easy task.

Repellents

If you’re outdoors and want to stay there, you’ll probably want to use an insect repellent. Fortunately, today repellents can be found embedded in fabrics, and you can wear such clothing without having to soak your skin in DEET. For on-skin repellents, DEET is commonly acknowledged as the most effective; however, health concerns prompt some folks to seek out more “natural” deterrents.

Shelter

Frequently, it’s simplest just to hide out. Screened enclosures work (sometimes), and this includes the window screens on your RV. For the most persistent and tiniest of creatures, though, you might need to resort to camping tent-style screens (they’re made with a finer mesh), or even to overlaying your RV’s coarse screens with a layer of mosquito-proof material. There are also clothing-style screens, from mosquito hats up to full-body suits, if you want to be sheltered but still move around in the outdoors.

Territory

Sometimes, a simple relocation can make a night-and-day difference. One time we were assaulted by literally dark clouds of mosquitoes in southwestern Oregon. But only 6 miles down the road, there was not a bloodsucker in sight. It turned out the clouds were around a nearby lake with its egg-friendly shores, while the heavenly air was adjacent to a rushing river that didn’t promote mosquito larvae. Higher altitudes are also less friendly to flying bugs.

Attractants

Don’t casually leave things around or wear clothing that inherently is more appealing to bugs. Food for ants and dark-colored clothing for mosquitoes are obvious no-no’s.

We don’t have enough space here to explore all this in-depth, but do a web search for such topics and you’ll find a wealth of knowledge. Be prepared and educated, and you can seriously reduce your bug exposure.

photo: wikipedia/public domain

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