Unwanted hiking companions, such as flies, mosquitoes, as well as ticks, can quickly derail a trip and take away from the charm of an otherwise perfect outdoor experience. Pests such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can sting painfully, but they rarely attack unless provoked. Unfortunately, an unwitting hiker can accidentally disturb a hive and face the consequences regardless of motive.
Here are some suggestions for keeping pesky bugs at bay while hiking, camping or otherwise recreating in the outdoors:
One very effective way to keep insects away from your body is to leave less of it exposed. It's enticing to want some sun on your skin, but it's better to wear the best outdoor pants that are loose-fitting and breathable, as well as long sleeved sweat-wicking bottom layers for walking. Select longer hiking socks and closed-toe walking boots to protect your ankles. Mosquitoes have a much more difficult time piercing through cloth, and insects that jump up from the earth, such as ticks, have nothing to latch onto.
Mosquitoes use their IR21a receptor, also known as a heat-sensing antenna, to find their next meal. So, which color attracts the most mosquitos? Black. Because dark colors retain heat, these bugs are much more likely to bite people who wear them. People sweat more when they wear dark colors, especially when they exercise. Mosquitoes also enjoy the excess CO2 produced by perspiration. The more carbon dioxide you emit, the more bites you'll take. If you want to avoid itchy bites, try wearing lighter clothing. Light colors, unlike darker shades, do not cast shadows. Mosquitoes will be less able to detect your presence.
Apply insect repellent to any remaining exposed skin and reapply as needed.
- DEET is the most popular repellant in the world was developed. Although DEET has been carefully studied and used for decades, it can harm plastic and synthetic gear components, so wash your hands thoroughly after using it and avoid letting it come into contact with your gear.DEET concentrations range from 10% (for approximately two hours of protection) to 100% (up to 10 hours).
- Picaridin is effective against the widest variety of insects. Formulations containing 20% picaridin offer the highest level of protection. For up to 12 hours against mosquitoes and ticks and up to 8 hours against flies, spray formulations are effective; for up to 14 hours against mosquitoes and ticks and up to 8 hours against flies, lotion formulations are effective.
- Natural Insect Repellents
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is the only natural insect repellent that has been shown to be effective against mosquitoes and ticks (OLE). It has a six-hour mosquito-repelling duration.
Natural (non-synthesized) Plant Oils (Mosquitoes): The EPA does not regulate natural oils, such as soybean, lemongrass, citronella, cedar, peppermint, lavender, geranium, or geraniol, for their safety or efficacy. In comparison to chemical options, they are typically thought to be less effective and require far more frequent reapplication.
Be on the lookout for nests in hollowed trees, dangling from branches, beneath logs, in the ground, and also in the mud or dirt banks of waterways when hiking through the woods. Keep in mind that vivid colors and pleasant smells attract bees. Bees are drawn to fast movements as well. If you come into contact with a bee, remain calm and move slowly.
Don’t trail in shrubby areas, extensively wooded places, or long grass. Use a chair or put something down to sit on if you need to take a break. Also, stay in the center of the trail. This will aid in your insect avoidance while hiking.
Purchase a net
Netting is the best way to ensure complete protection if you're dealing with a large number of insects, such as a swarm of midges on a mountain hike or a swarm of mosquitoes at night. Yes, they look silly, but if you're going for a walk, wear a head net, and at sundown, nap under full-body netting knocked up with repellent (taking care that none of your skin comes into contact with the netting). Midges are also much tinier than most flying insects, so a finer-gauge netting will be required to keep them at bay.
To keep troublesome critters at bay, stop wearing perfumes, colognes, and body sprays, particularly fruity scents, which attract even more bugs.
In Spite of taking all the necessary precautions, you might still end up with some insect bites. Here are ways to deal with some of the common insect bites.
- Move to a safe location: If you've been stung and are close to a wasp or bee colony, find a place where you won't be swarmed
- Use antibacterial soap to clean the wound.
- Use an ice pack or a cold compress to ease discomfort, itching, and swelling.
- Treat allergic responses, which can cause everything from welts and itchy, red skin to shock and difficulty breathing. Antihistamines or itch creams can be used to treat moderate reactions; severe cases necessitate an injection of epinephrine.
- Antivenom must be administered at a medical facility for black widow spider bites and Arizona bark scorpion stings, while brown recluse spider bites necessitate close observation from a medical practitioner. Evacuate for medical treatment if you have any serious allergic reactions.
- Use an alcohol wipe to clean the wound.
-Using a sharp pointed tweezers, grasp the tick right where it enters your skin.
- Pull it away from your skin slowly and steadily. Don't yank, twist, or rock it back and forth.
- Even if you remove the tick as thoroughly as possible, some of its mouthparts may remain on your skin. If this occurs, pinch up a fold of skin containing the bite area and carefully scrape the skin containing the mouth parts with a scalpel or razor blade. Alternatively, break the skin and remove the mouth with a sterilized needle.
- It is critical to clean the wound thoroughly with antiseptic.
- If you are concerned about Lyme Disease, place the tick in a film canister or between two pieces of folded tape and take it to a public health lab for examination.
- Keep Calm and Treat Bee and Wasp Stings Getting excited will only increase blood flow and the spread of venom.
- If the insect continues to attack you, brush it off and leave the area as soon as possible.
- If the stinger remains in your body, scrape it off with a credit card or pull it out with a tweezer. While it has been suggested that using a tweezer can force more venom into the wound, newer research indicates that removing the stinger as soon as possible is more important. So, do everything you can to get it out.
- Place ice or cold water on the sting.
- Use over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve itching and swelling.
- Do not scratch or rub the stinging area.
- Seek medical attention immediately if allergic reaction symptoms appear or if the victim is known to be allergic. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue, mouth, or throat, and hives.
We hope these suggestions enable you to appreciate your hiking adventures even during the hot and humid months rather than the bugs keeping you indoors.
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