The Basics of Camping: Dealing With Pests
Camping, either with friends and family or alone, can be a fun outing full of new adventures and activities. However, depending on where you go for your camping trip, you may experience a few inconveniences from pests. To ensure that you do not sacrifice fun at the expense of dealing with inconveniences, it is important that your backpack have the necessary pest repellants.
When talking about pests, the word “pest” is not restricted to flies or mosquitoes but rather to any animal (usually small) that could become an inconvenience. As such, there are a couple that most campers commonly face.
Scorpions and Snakes: Beware! As warmer temperatures approach these pests become more active. While not all of them are poisonous, it is important to avoid all of them when outdoors. There are many classes and resources to help you learn the identifying traits of poisonous snakes and scorpions and first aid treatment of bites while waiting for paramedics.
Ticks: Besides the fact that they are a general nuisance, certain types of ticks carry the Lyme disease. When going outdoors, it is best to prevent rather than treat. In the case of ticks, cover your head with camping hats, minimize the amount of exposed skin, and use repellants like Deet on your clothing, but be careful to avoid contact with your skin. When hiking, avoid walking through thick areas of grass or brush and carry out routine checks for ticks. If any are found, remove and kill them immediately.
Mosquitoes and Flies: These are the most common pests and while small, can be quite irritating. While dealing with their bites, buzzing and general discomfort is relatively easy, it is best to prevent them from getting onto the campsite. Packing some citronella candles will help keep them at bay from the general area, but for maximum protection you should also use bug repellent. This can be in the form of a spray to your skin or a small container that gets clipped onto your clothing.
Poison Oak, Poison Ivy and Nettles: These plants can be quite dangerous, especially for people with allergic reactions. The best way to handle them is to learn how to identify them and avoid all contact. You don’t have to memorize all there is to know about them as there are many books and manuals you can buy and keep in your backpack for reference. Should you touch any of the plants, do no scratch the area. Wash in cold water as soon as possible and if a rash develops, apply a topical lotion.
Chipmunks, Skunks and Racoons: These creatures usually prowl around at night, will steal your food, and can cause mayhem at your campsite. While they may be cute upon first sight, especially chipmunks, do not forget that they are wild animals. Keep your distance from them and don’t leave food in easy to reach places.
Birds, Crows, Ravens and Gulls: Use the same precautions as when dealing with small animals.
With proper knowledge and the right tools in your backpack, any camping trip can be enjoyable without having to deal with the problems associated with pests.