With the RV season kicking into full-gear and fuel prices low, record numbers of people are expected this year across the country in our nation’s outdoor treasures, yet venturing into nature can have its dangers when it involves coming into contact with harmful insects and company. To keep this pastime an enjoyable one, Court Parker, Chief Operating Officer of Southeastern US pest control company Bug Busters has some tips to help avoid pests when taking on the great outdoors. Anyone spending time outdoors should be committed to protecting themselves against these pests because although they are small in size, the diseases they can pass on from a bite are quite dangerous. Ticks, in particular, are common camping companions since they live in tall grass and wooded areas, waiting to grab onto passing hosts for feeding.
To help keep the campsite a bug- and animal-free zone, Bug Busters recommends adventurers take note of these tips:
- Ahead of camping, apply insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient such as DEET or Picaridin, and repeat applications according to the product label.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, socks and closed-toe shoes to help avoid mosquito and tick bites. Choose light-colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects. Do a thorough check after hiking in woods or tall grasses.
- Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to fragrances from shampoo, perfume, and candles — not to mention food and drink. Avoid using scented items and pour beverages into clear plastic cups rather than drinking from cans.
- Prior to tent camping, check tent materials and repair any holes that can serve as points of entry. Keep tents closed at all times unless going in or out.
- Keep all food and beverages packed in secure coolers and containers. Seal utensils and dishware immediately after use.
- Dispose of beverage bottles and cans in tightly closed garbage receptacles. Keep garbage containers sealed and away from the sleeping grounds.
- Do not attempt to feed, lure, or pet wild animals.
“Appreciating nature is part of the camping experience, but admiring it in a safe and responsible way is best for a more enjoyable camping trip,” says Parker. “Coming into direct contact with certain insects and wildlife has its risks. Mosquitoes and ticks, for example, are vector pests that feed on blood and can transmit serious illnesses such as West Nile virus, Zika, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever through their bites. In addition, other wildlife can become aggressive if they feel threatened, and animals such as raccoons and bats could be potential carriers of rabies. The best bet is to avoid contact with these animals as much as possible.”