What can spoil a camping trip faster than the sun can set in Hawaii? Bugs! Camping, in my opinion, is easily the best recreational pastime you can share in. You can go at it with great gusto like climbing a mountain or it can be a leisurely walk on a trail through a meandering meadow. Absolutely everyone can go camping. But there is nothing short of a hurricane that can spoil a camping trip faster than insects. At the outset, let me admit openly that my experience with bugs are north North America.
My travels have been as a tourist, so I have never tramped the jungles of Central America, although I have encountered some very small biting insects in Mexico, kind of like my black fly, and only just for a couple of hours after sunset. Been to Europe, even northern Europe and had no trouble. Southern Europe and the Balkans nothing. Well that’s not quite true. On a Greek island I encountered a cockroach in my bathroom. It was the clicking of his feet on the tile floor that woke me up. I eventually got him but he was so big he wouldn’t flush.
In Canada I have experience. I have been in some of the worst infested areas and could go on and on bragging about survival. Lets deal with the biting kind one at a time.
MOSQUITO: They are everywhere, in varying amounts. In the Larger towns and cities there are very few while in the country side and small community they can be a real problem. They are evening and night-time bugs and can spoil a good sleep. Mosquito netting is good. Historically bug dope has been awful stuff and not something you would not want to put on before bed. If you are in an area where they are really bad the modern insect repellents are good and not greasy. The ingredient that does the trick is DEET.
It is really effective but with all those kinds of things I don’t think you would want to over use it or get into your mouth, nose or eyes. Traditionally the Native People used smoke and I think mental power. I remember seeing an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench on a high bank of the Mackenzie River. It was spring time and the mosquitoes were terrible. I was just a kid and they were driving me crazy. He, however, did not seem to be bothered at all. I studied him and every once in a while he would slowly lift his hand and pluck a mosquito from is neck. I came to the conclusion he would only respond to the bite and not the buzz. uh huh. I’m still working on it.
BLACK FLY: In Canada there has been a song written about the black fly. They are notorious and it’s a reputation justifiably earned. The black fly is a day time bug. They like the heat and your blood. Unlike the mosquito, they do not like to be inside. So you can get relief by going inside. That can be a house, a tent or a car. It’s strange, you can be sitting in a car with the window rolled down and the black fly will not go beyond where the window was.
Mosquito dope with deet is also effective with black flies. If you don’t have the dope, cover up as much as you can and make sure all openings in your clothing, pant and shirt cuffs and collar are tight. A smaller cousin to the black fly is also a real nuisance. They are so small they are called no-see-ums. Deal with them as you would a black fly. There are few others that bite that you should be aware of and I will talk about them on a later blog.
Mosquitos and black flies are the major culprits that can spoil a perfectly marvelous camping trip. There are a few other biting or stinging insects that you should be aware of as they can cause you a great deal of discomfort. If you have allergies, they can be very dangerous. Even without the allergies, if you get caught in a bad situation where you sustain many stings, it too can be dangerous.
At the outset let me state clearly that I am no entomologist. I do not know the proper name for an insect, so the names I will be using will be the popular local names of the territory I am from, the north.
The Bulldog: This critter is a fly that bites. It does not sting but it literally rips a chunk of your flesh off. It’s not a very big piece, but it feels like he has taken a full ounce of flesh. The Bulldog is most aggressive when you are wet. If you are at the beach and you dive right in, when you surface they will be waiting for you. They will pester you all the way to shore. As you walk out they will swarm you.
You want to dry off as quickly as possible and perhaps put a T-shirt on. That won’t completely stop them, but they will become bearable. These flies have two wings, a dark head, eyes, and a black and yellow-orange abdomen. At the very front is the dangerous part. It looks like a big nose, but is really two pinchers which they use to tear away the flesh. Thankfully they are not bad when you are not wet. As a matter of fact, you will hardly notice them.
The No-Name Fly: There is a flying insect in the north that I have no name for. Thankfully they are not common because they horrendous. For want of a name, I have called them black hornets. I have only been bitten once by this critter. That was about forty years ago, and the memory is still fresh. I have not studied it very well because, whenever I see one in the distance, I start to run for cover.
They look totally black, about 3/4 of an inch long, and have a stinger protruding from the back-end that looks like a darning needle. I am trying not to exaggerate. I think they have only two wings, unlike a dragonfly which has four. I can’t tell you anymore about this insect, but if from my feeble description you can help me out, I would surely appreciate it.
The Deerfly: Once again I am not sure this is the proper name. It looks a little bit like a house fly, but a little smaller and it is not black. On its two opaque wings it has a round coloured spot about an 1/8 inch across. It’s a kind of yellow- green. They are not stingers, they are biters, taking small chunks of flesh. They are not abundant.
The Hair Eater: This is a flying beetle. It is completely black and has two long antennae. I know next to nothing about this bug. I have no memory of being bitten by one, but my wife assures me I have. She says they have a horrendous bite. Whether they bite for food, aggression, or just for fun, I don’t know. Why are they called hair eaters? Again I don’t know, maybe it’s because when they land in a woman’s hair, she goes absolutely nuts and they seem to do that quite often. I don’t have much hair so it’s not a problem for me. My wife says they bite, and I believe her.
Those are the main ones to keep your eye open for. I am sure there are many others but they are not significant. I should add that there are the usual run of bees and wasps, but for the most part these just respond when they are disturbed; although the wasps will come and eat the food off your plate.
Insect repellant with DEET is the best. Be careful around your eyes or any open wounds. I was very careful when applying it to babies, and I did that without the support of any scientific evidence. I would cover them with netting.
Yes, there are bugs out there, and yes some of them will bite or sting you. But with proper precautions, there is no reason not to enjoy the many wonders of creation. Remember, my motto is “You ain’t having fun unless you’re comfortable!”
Source by Ken Look