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Hikers walking through the woods. Hikers walking through the woods.

CRITTER CONTROL IS ALL ABOUT PLANNING

Sharing the great outdoors with the local animals is part of the point of camping, but cohabitating peacefully sometimes takes a bit of strategy. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to make getting along with the wildlife much easier.

 

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can annoy even the most experienced camper.

  • On your skin, use repellents with DEET for longer lasting protection. Natural repellents work well too but these need to be reapplied often.
  • Spraying permethrin on your clothing deters mosquitoes and ticks. But remember, it works only on your clothes - not your skin.
  • Around the campsite, use citronella candles to help keep mosquitoes at bay. If you have extra sage in your fridge or garden, tie it into rolls with string and toss the bundles in the fire to repel the bugs in a nontoxic, good-smelling way. A mosquito coil is another slow-burning option.
  • Some campers prefer to put a portable netted tent around their table area. It’s important to remember that cooking at a site usually involves a lot of back-and-forth, so you’ll be opening the net often.

Squirrels, Raccoons & Jays

Little creatures like squirrels, raccoons, and jays tend to be more of a nuisance than a problem. Notoriously persistent, they will leap, swoop or scurry at any opportunity to run off with your food.

  • Be attentive. Prep food near the table and make sure to stow everything when not in use.
  • Use plastic bins for storage. The bins are more critter-proof than grocery bags or cardboard boxes.
  • Raccoons are remarkably good with their paws and can easily open a simple latch or a lid. Discourage them by stacking heavier items on bins, tying hooked lathes closed, and stashing items in the car before you leave the campsite or go to bed.
Raccoon Raccoon

Stinging Pests

When stinging pests swarm, it can really take the fun out of being outdoors.

  • Avoid campsites near trashcans or dumpster if possible and clean up any spills quickly.
  • The portable netted tent used to prevent mosquitoes (mentioned above) also works well to deter nuisances.
  • Some campers swear by simple repellents like hanging dryer sheets around the campsite or leaving a sliced cucumber around. There’s also the opposite approach: Put a piece of meat or something sweet a few yards from your site to tempt insects to that spot instead of your space.
  • An easy DIY trap involves cutting the top third off a plastic bottle. Add a half-inch of sugary liquid and a couple drops of dish soap into the bottom, and then placing the top upside down on the bottom. Wasps and yellow jackets will be drawn to the liquid and will be unable to escape.
Bee and flowers. Bee and flowers.
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