How to Survive the Mosquitoes this Summer
Author: Ebony Date Posted:10 November 2021
Insects can make or break a camping trip. In this article, we teach you the best ways to prevent being eaten by mosquitoes including aftercare to stop those bites itching.
If you are like me, the presence of a single mosquito or midge can make a summer picnic or camping trip equivalent to a trip to the dentist. Everyone’s blood is a different level of delicacy, and if you are reading this, chances are you or someone you know are pretty high on the list of desired flavours. In this article you’ll find out about all the products currently on offer and which are ideal to protect your precious camping trip (and skin!).
I’ve been ‘around the bush’ a few times when it comes to mosquito deterrents. I’ve tried sprays, creams, bracelets, candles, zappers, coils and I even have a tub of DIY insect repellent at home that you can just about smell from 50m away. Then there’s the aftercare for those bites that make you want to tear your skin off.
Fear no more! I’ve been collating feedback from customers and staff members over the years to create this must-have guide to fighting insects, no matter your blood type!
Entry-level Insect Protection (For those lucky humans that get the occasional bite)
1. Coils coils coils! Mozzie Coils are the most cost-effective method of insect deterrent on the market. They work similarly to incense, burning through a coil of citronella and sandalwood without a flame, with the citronella deterring insects from your campsite. With no naked flame present, they are safer to use than candles. They burn for around 7 hours each and cost less than 50c per coil! I recommend placing a few burning coils around the campsite for added protection of the whole family.
Lastly, if you’ve used coils before you’d know they can be a bit brittle. Most coil holders available only hold the centrepiece of the coil, so you have to get creative if you want to burn the broken pieces. Well, try no more because we’ve found a wonderful little Aussie invention that will grasp and hold any part of the coil, in any way, so you can use the tiniest of coil pieces. Crochead Mosquito Coil Holder is a super handy, affordable invention with a tonne of happy customers.
2. Citronella Candles Citronella Candles add a lovely ambience to your campsite, and can have enormous burn times, depending on the size of your candle. As with any open flame though, they do require a bit more supervision than coils and are best suited to flat, visible surfaces away from any materials. Whilst they are lovely, if you are a mosquito’s favourite person, these candles won’t be enough for you, so I’d recommend keeping reading to find the harder-hitting deterrents.
3. Insect Zappers There are a range of Insect Zappers on the market, including dual-use with built-in lanterns. There are both rechargeable and DC power options available. There are some things to consider when purchasing one. Firstly is the noise factor, the constant zapping can ruin the serenity of being outdoors. Unlike the other products on this list, zappers are pretty harmful to the environment, continually attracting and culling insects. Whilst bugs are annoying to us, they do have important roles to play in the ecosystem, so if you do decide to use one, try to limit their use to only when needed.
4. Wearable Deterrents Bite Shield Mozzie Bands are great for portable mosquito protection without the sticky feeling of sprays. Kids love wearing them, and they are waterproof, so they are perfect protection for those days you are in and out of the water. Mozzie Bands are also great for those with sensitive skin as you can clip them to clothing or shoes. If you are a tasty human, I’d recommend using more than one band and switching them out after they expire.
The Next Step in Insect Protection
5. Sprays and Roll-Ons:
Pros: Sprays go where you go, so you don’t need to worry if you leave camp, or go for a long hike because you are protected everywhere you remember to spray. They are also really effective.
Cons: I have a love-hate relationship with mosquito skin products, they can work very effectively, but they come at the price of being smelly and sticky. The sticky skin also tends to attract dirt, so you feel like you need extra showers just to make it through the day.
Child and skin-friendly - Mosiguard is safe for the whole family and doesn’t include any harsh chemicals, so it’s a favourite product for many of our customers. If you or your child has sensitive skin, this is the go-to product. It's DEET free, so it won’t dissolve or damage your sunglasses or expensive synthetic garments. Mosi-Guard is created from naturally occurring ingredients and can protect you against mosquitos, sandflies, ticks, midges and even leeches.
If you need something stronger to keep the nasties away, Bushmans Repellent will be your new best friend. It does have harsher chemicals, including DEET, but it is the most effective skin product on the market! There are three levels of protection to choose from, 20% DEET with sunscreen for regular protection, 40% DEET for added protection, and the Gel version which is a whopping 80% DEET. I highly recommend the Gel version if you are in sandfly/midge infested areas.
I was once given some great advice to try adding citronella oil to my favourite skin products to avoid that sticky feeling you get from other products. You can buy it from most chemists for around $10. I’ve tested this on some coconut body oil and the result was great. It felt much nicer on my skin, so I was more inclined to use it often. Unfortunately, I still haven’t worked out the correct ratios, so you could smell me coming from a great distance. If DIYing is your jam, I recommend doing some test runs on small qualities first until you find the magic ratio.
6. Mosquito Nets Mosquito nets are effective especially for sleeping or during times when you aren’t moving around much. I love having an extra mosquito net hanging up inside my tent, around my bed as it gives a double layer of protection, and means you don’t need to get cross at your loved ones for leaving the tent door open!
It's important to find the right-sized net for you, and ensure it is stretched out away from you, with all edges touching the ground. This ensures a sneaky insect doesn’t find a way in. If the net is touching you, you can be bitten through the mesh, which is why I like the larger sizes. Go the extra mile, and treat your net or bedding with Equip Debugger Concentrate.
The Ultimate Mosquito Protection (that every tasty human needs in their arsenal)
7. Thermacell Alright, you’ve made it to the good bit, you’ve tried everything and are at your wit's end dealing with mosquitos. It's time to get yourself a Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repelling Device. This product is hands down the best product on the market. Just insert a little blue repellent mat into the cartridge and you will get a 21m2 protection zone! This means it will cover your entire family, entire campsite easily! Or you can clip it to your pack when you go hiking. It’s odour free, spray-free (so your skin will always feel clean!). It’s also safe for the environment, as it simply deters mosquitos instead of killing them.
The cons: the main cons for this one is runtime. You will need a few cartridges to get you through a long camping trip, so there is a cost involved. If you are budget-minded, I’d recommend alternating between different products depending on the number of mosquitos in the area, pulling out the Thermacell when they are biting badly.
There are a range of creams and ointments available from pharmacies, but if you’re like me, you’ll spend your life savings on endless jars. The problem with creams is the instant relief doesn’t last past 5 minutes, especially when you’re in warm weather, or have clothing that irritates the bite. Instead of purchasing new tubes each trip, I’d recommend investing in a Biteaway Insect Bite Healer. These are star products that can live in your purse or backpack for years. They are completely chemical-free, so you won’t have ugly cream stains on your skin or clothing like you would with creams. This little device works for all itchy insect bites as well as painful stings from jellyfish or stinging nettle.
How does it work? A tiny integrated micro-processor heats the skin to approx. 50 degrees, three seconds for children and six for adults. The heat penetrates the skin and denatures the proteins and toxins of the sting, thereby stopping the pain and preventing the histamine release that causes the itch. The lump and swelling of the bites are reduced and disappear much faster than if they were left untreated.
I hope you’ve got a better idea of all the best Insect Protection currently available, including what will work best for you and your family.
Is there a product or idea you know of that's not listed above? Tell us below in the comments! We’d also love to hear what your experience is with the products we’ve discussed.
Thanks for reading and Happy Camping!
Soov bite gelBy: Jen on 14 November 2021I always get attacked by mozzie, and I use soov bite gel which contains lidocaine anaesthetic. Roughly $10 a tube.