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What Can I Do To Avoid Bugs When Camping?

Q: I don’t like camping when there are a lot of bugs. What can I do?
— Harper, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A: The best way to avoid pesky insects is to avoid places where they thrive. Camping away from wet, low-lying areas where bugs often breed reduces your chances of getting eaten up.

The next best way is to get some gear. Use insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin, which can effectively fend off biting insects. The BSA recommends DEET register at a 20-30% concentration and picaridin at a 20% concentration. Repellents with permethrin, which you can find at the Scout Shop, can be sprayed on your clothes.

Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to cover up exposed skin. Consider wearing a head net if bugs start swarming.

You can also try repellers, like the Thermacell E55 ($40, or the portable Thermacell MR300 ($25, Each uses a heat-activated repellent that disperses around the device, creating a mosquito-deterring zone of at least 15 feet. The rechargeable E55 holds cartridges that can last 12, 36 or 120 hours, while the MR300 uses a cartridge and mats that, together, can also provide 12 hours of protection.

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