INSECT MANAGEMENT

Don’t let the bugs bite!

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA BLOFFWITCH

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I think we’d all like to have an insect free campsite, especially when you know that some of the critters can bite. Whilst there’s a bundle of commercial products available to manage insects, try some of these tips to help keep those nasties at bay.

Generally, bugs are drawn to a white light at night time. Cover the light with either yellow cellophane or a yellow Chux dishcloth to help deter them.

FLIES

Have a lemon or orange on hand and poke cloves into the skin then leave close by on a table or by your RV door. Horse/March flies can really pack a punch and some commercial products may not be effective. Try mixing 1 part lavender essential oil with 5 parts water or alcohol. Spray yourself liberally. You can also substitute the lavender with eucalyptus, peppermint, or lemongrass oil. (Essential oils work better than perfume grade).

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ANTS

Many RVers are aware that sprinkling talcum powder is an effective ant treatment around the legs of your van and other known entry points. Alternatively, try spraying vinegar or a mixture of soap and water.

MOSQUITOES/SANDFLIES/MIDGES

Some bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and can smell their next “victim” up to 50 metres away. The female sandfly/midge bites humans to get proteins from our blood which she needs for laying her eggs. It’s her saliva that reacts with our skin. Avoid being her next victim by trying one of these:

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• Dose yourself up with Vitamin B tablets.

• Place 1 jar of cheap sorbolene cream in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil and 1/3 cup citronella oil. Mix together and place in a pump bottle. Use generously.

• Mix an equal amount of Dettol/ methylated spirits/baby oil and apply to skin.

• Rub aloe vera over your skin.

• Burn horse/cow manure at your next campfire!

And if you get bitten and just can’t stop the itch, take an antihistamine or try the old-fashioned calamine lotion technique. Happy bug-free camping!

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