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622 Trail Sense
Mosquito Control

mosquito on the inside of a tent

We love being outside. Our springtime evening ritual is to sit on our porch, talk, read, and catch up on the news on a laptop. Then, with the coming of warm weather, we have to stop our beloved springtime tradition. We do not stop sitting outside because of the heat, instead it is because of the mosquitoes.

Our old neighborhood is a prime mosquito zone. We still go out to do yard work in the summer, but we can't sit and enjoy the outdoors without being behind a screen. If we try relaxing in the yard, it only takes a few minutes before the first mosquito finds us. He naturally buzzes our ears, just to let us know he is on to us. Soon he will give us a quick bite just to taunt us. We naively think, there is only one little mosquito and we should be able to get rid of him. As our swatting efforts increase, he resorts to biting on the back of our necks or feet - places we cannot easily reach. If we happen to kill this lone flyer, his spirit will be manifest twenty fold in new attackers and the skirmish soon develops into an all out war!

Generally, we just throw up the white flag and run for cover, because we know there is no way to win.

If the mosquitoes are so bad, why don't you try ...

  • A bug zapper - they only attract more bugs to the area.
  • Screen in the porch - we like it open air.
  • Citronella candles - they just don't seem toxic enough.
  • Garlic spray - we even tried this natural alternative but was much like the candles - just not strong enough - oh and the garlic really did stink.
  • A Thermacell - a toxic repellent delivered from a handheld device heating device - the odor was so strong, we decided it was probably safer to be bit by the mosquitoes.

None of these efforts really worked, but we have found a few tips that are effective in mosquito control whether you are in your yard or on a camping trip ...

If you don't like using repellents. Try covering up. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hood, keeps most mosquitoes at bay.

Try to wear lighter colored clothing. Bugs tend to like the darker shades. The lighter colors also make it easier to spot the mosquitoes that have landed and are fixing to bite!

Avoid using scented hygiene products - the bugs are probably attracted to t he scents as well as perhaps the bears!

Keep moving. If the mosquitoes are really bad, then you really can't sit around and just let them bite you. If the mosquitoes are still bothering you, move faster : - )

We carry head nets on most trips. The nets worn on top of a hat keep the mosquitoes away, but it is difficult to eat or drink while wearing the net.

Know the area where you are planning on traveling and avoid camping in the prime bug season.

Set camp away from the bugs - not near water. Small collectors of water are the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Stay away from lakes and other water sources.

Use the prevailing winds to help keep the bugs away. Know which way the winds blow and set your tent in the summer to catch the breezes.

Use the juice. DEET has always been effective, but we still use it with care. DEET will eat through plastic! We know our skin is not plastic but still ... it is some strong medicine.

Lemon Eucalyptus spray is fairly effective on mosquitoes. It does not work on ticks, and it only effective for a couple of hours. We use the spray on our dog, Jake to keep the flies and skeeters away.

Natrapel is a relatively new repellent. We have found that the spray is effective. Just because the spray has a clever name that does not mean it is more natural than DEET - it is just a different chemical. Still, Picaridin, the main ingredient, does not harm your gear and the repellent does not smell as chemically as DEET. So for now, Natrapel, is our choice repellent.

You can also spray your clothes (or buy sprayed clothes). We still have not tried permethrin. Maybe, we will use some this summer. Having a sprayed camp shirt, might be a good idea.

Stand near a smoky fire. If you have a campfire, it generally keeps mosquitoes away. Maybe at times, the mosquitoes are smarter than us! Breathing in all that smoke is probably not good for us either.

Go to the tent. As a last resort, go to the protection of the tent or screened in area.

Happy controlled mosquito trails


Mosquito Moments


Hiking Skills - Missing Essentials - Repellents


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