“Buzz Off!”: A Camper’s Guide to Dealing with Common Bugs


Camping brings us closer to nature, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, this immersion in the great outdoors also means encountering nature’s less welcome residents: bugs. From buzzing mosquitoes to curious ants, these critters can turn a serene camping trip into an itchy, uncomfortable experience. Fear not, fellow campers! This guide will introduce you to some common camping pests and share tried-and-true methods to keep them at bay, ensuring your outdoor adventure remains enjoyable.

Common Bugs Encountered While Camping

1. Mosquitoes

Why they’re a bother: Mosquitoes are notorious for their itchy bites and can transmit diseases like West Nile Virus and Zika. How to deter them: Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Consider using mosquito coils or thermacell devices around your campsite.

2. Ticks

Why they’re a bother: Ticks can latch onto humans and pets, spreading Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. How to deter them: Stay on cleared trails and avoid brushing against tall grasses. Use tick repellents on skin and clothing. Perform regular tick checks on yourself, fellow campers, and pets.

3. Flies

Why they’re a bother: Flies, including horseflies and black flies, can deliver painful bites and are generally annoying. How to deter them: Keep your campsite clean and free of food scraps. Use screened shelters for dining and relaxing. Citronella candles and fly traps can also reduce their presence.

4. Ants

Why they’re a bother: Ants can invade food supplies and, in the case of fire ants, deliver painful stings. How to deter them: Store food in airtight containers and keep your campsite clean. Avoid leaving food or sweet drinks out in the open. Use natural deterrents like vinegar or diatomaceous earth around your campsite perimeter.

5. Wasps and Bees

Why they’re a bother: Wasps and bees can sting, posing risks to those with allergies. How to deter them: Avoid using scented products, which can attract these insects. Keep food covered and dispose of garbage properly. If a wasp or bee is near, move slowly and avoid swatting at it.

Additional Tips for a Bug-Free Campsite

  • Use Natural Barriers: Surround your campsite with plants that repel bugs, such as citronella, lavender, and marigolds.
  • Light It Up: Bugs are generally less active in smoke and bright light. A campfire can keep many insects at bay, as can strategically placed lanterns.
  • Choose the Right Campsite: Set up camp away from standing water, such as ponds or swamps, where mosquitoes breed. Opt for breezy locations which can help deter flying insects.


While bugs are a natural part of the camping experience, their nuisance can be minimized with preparation and awareness. By employing these strategies, you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors with fewer uninvited guests. Remember, the goal is to deter bugs, not harm the ecosystem you’re enjoying. Happy camping!