We all hate them. But they’re part and parcel of holidaying in Australia. And insects and creepy crawlies like camping just as much as you do. So how do we encourage these uninvited holiday makers to buzz off?
Fight the bite with our top 10 tips and tricks so you can enjoy your holiday with overall less slapping, scratching and (let’s face it) swearing at these annoying travel companions.
1.Use insect repellent
To avoid bites, use a good quality chemical-based (DEET or picaridin) insect repellent. Reapply regularly if you’re outside for a while, and put it on after your sunscreen, not before. Don’t forget to apply to ALL exposed skin, and always follow the instructions on the label.
2.Avoid insect hotspots
Insects are a bit like us …. they like to hang out with their friends by the water. Preferably at dusk (but also dawn; they’re early risers!). So if you’re a mosquito magnet, avoid riverbanks and wetlands at their peak party times.
3.Dress for success
You might not want to hear this in the height of summer, but to avoid being bitten, you need to cover up. Wear long sleeves and pants (cotton is a good choice), shoes and a hat. Research has shown insects are drawn to dark colours, so go for whites, creams and lighter hues.
4.Remove standing water
Whether it’s the washing up tub or the dog water bowl, those pesky insects will think you’ve put it out for them. Remove any bodies of water around your campsite to avoid extra (unwanted) guests at your 5 o’clock drinks.
5.Be screen keen
The humble fly screen should be given more kudos in our opinion. Whether you’re in a tent, cabin or motorhome, fly screens – if used properly - are worth their weight in gold. And for extra confidence against bites (and with a somewhat luxurious, romantic feel), you can’t go past a mosquito net.
6.Steer clear of scrub
It’s nice to go off the beaten track occasionally. But dense, scrubby areas of bushland can come with bonus ticks, leeches and spiders. Walk on cleared trails wherever possible, and if you do venture into the undergrowth, check you don’t pick up any unwanted hitchhikers.
7.Seal the deal
To dissuade insects and pests from making their way to your campsite, always keep your food sealed. Store your food in airtight containers, use food cover tents when you’re getting ready to serve, and remove leftovers and rubbish as soon as possible after eating.
8.Burn it up
Whilst not as effective as insect repellent or covering up, mosquito coils and citronella candles have been shown to reduce the prevalence of insect bites. Never use inside or in an enclosed area, and always follow the instructions provided.
9.Keep clean (but not too sweet!)
Ever wondered why some people get more bites than others? Scent has a lot to do with it, with insects apparently fancying a bit of body odour. So if you’ve worked up a sweat, best go for a shower. But don’t go overboard with the perfumes or fragrances; they like those as well!
10.Eat whatever you want
Despite the myths, there is no evidence to suggest eating vegemite or drinking G&Ts make you less appealing to insects. But what’s the harm in trying?
So you’ve followed the advice, but you’ve STILL been bitten. Easier said than done but try and avoid scratching; it really does make things worse. Apply ice, antiseptic cream, calamine lotion or even chilled tea bags to relieve the itch. And of course see your doctor if you develop any unusual symptoms.