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How to Keep a Bug-Free Campsite

Guest - October 27, 2016

San Antonio, TX: We love bugs. They play a crucial role in ecosystems around the world and their importance cannot be understated. However, many of us can also think back to camp experiences where we could have done with a few less bugs. Sometimes these swarms and infestations are out of our hands, as is the case with mosquito season. Other times, keeping a bug-free campsite is easily within our control. Keeping your campsite bug-free can be an easy way to ensure an enjoyable outdoor experience. 

Keep Food Scraps off the Ground

Patrol your kitchen area for food scraps and pick them up promptly. Consider using scrim cloth, a fine mesh fabric, underneath your cooking area to make picking up the food scraps even easier. This helps prevent insects like harvester ants from invading your camp life. It's also a great way to be considerate of future campers by making sure the group that comes next doesn't arrive to an ant infested campsite. 

Store food properly at night, in a bear canister, box, or car, away from your camp area. Don't leave trash in the fire pit as it can attract flies, wasps, and critters. 

Be Mindful of Lighting

Lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps are an essential item around camp, these can help us stay safe at night and enjoy night time activities. But bugs love lights too. To keep them from following you into your tent, find the zipper on your tent door with your hand and then turn off your light. If you have a partner entering the tent, turn off the lantern as their getting in.

Other things to consider are using red light, available as an option on many outdoor headlamps. The red light helps with night vision adaptation (your eyes adjusting to low light conditions). Put simply, your eyes adjust to the red light better than a bright white light. Meaning you can still see with the light and avoid attracting insects and blinding others' around camp. Ask yourself if you need a light, sometimes the moon is bright enough that you can see well without artificial lighting.

Keep Bugs Wild

Bugs are best when they are in their natural environment. Watch the video below for tips on getting into and out of your tent bug-free:

Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace. 

Leave No Trace’s Donielle Stevens and Aaron Hussmann are part of the 2016 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Fjall Raven, ENO, Deuter, Thule, and SmartWool.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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