Summer means one thing: time to head out RVing with the family, enjoying hiking, biking, barbequing, and making s’mores around the campfire. However, nothing can take the fun and adventure out of your RV campout quicker than the buzz and bite of mosquitoes in and around your site.
While no precautionary measures can guarantee a bite-free experience, there are things you can do to keep your encounters with these pesky bloodsuckers to a minimum.
Choose your campsite wisely
- Avoid any campsites near standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed.
- Mosquitoes love to rest in tall grass and on the undersides of leaves. Therefore, that shady campsite that looks so inviting is probably a sanctuary for the bloodthirsty critters. Try to find a campsite that minimizes places for them to hide.
- According to insect experts, mosquitoes aren’t active when wind gusts exceed 10 miles per hour, so set up your camp in an open area that gets a good breeze.
- The clothing you wear is your first line of defense against mosquitoes. The insects are drawn to body heat and the carbon dioxide (CO2) you exhale.
- Covering your skin with long pants and long sleeve shirts, along with a hood or hat, in light colors that reflect heat makes it harder for them to find you. Clothes produced from polyester or woven nylon are thicker and therefore are better protection than cotton or other thinner fabrics.
Time of day
- The hours around dawn and dusk seem to be the time mosquitoes are most active. Plan inside activities or ones that keep you away from your campsite during these times.
- A sunset walk is always a great alternative to sitting in camp at dusk. It is also worth noting that mosquitoes are not active below 50° F.
- Try the age-old recipe of two household baking ingredients to keep mosquitoes away. To ward off mosquitoes, mix two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and one cup of water in a trigger-spray bottle and mist yourself with the fragrant solution.
- In the United States, citronella oil is classified as a biopesticide with a non-toxic action which repels mosquitoes. Several lit citronella candles around camp typically are sufficient to deter them and create a mosquito barrier around your campsite.
Chemical repellents / insecticides
- We have all covered ourselves and children with “bug spray,” and it is still one of the most effective methods for fending off all types of biting insects. DEET is one of the most effective chemicals known and is found in many RVer’s cupboards. Depending on the level of DEET in the bug repellent you purchase, it’s typically effective for a couple of hours or more. The higher the concentration, the more effective it is, so if you are in a high-density mosquito area buy repellent with a higher concentration of DEET. Be sure to follow the manufactures directions and heed their warnings.
- Permethrin is another remedy. It’s an insecticide that can only be used on clothing and camping gear and is long-lasting. You can buy it as a spray which you can apply to your clothing and gear to repel and kill mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and other pests. Permethrin-infused clothing is also an option with some manufacturers promising effectiveness for the life of the garment.
By utilizing the tips above, you can get out there and enjoy summer camping while minimizing the annoyance of pesky mosquitoes. Dealing with mosquitoes, just another adventure in RVing!
See also: How To Keep Bees & Wasps Out Of Your RV
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.