No one wants uninvited guests at their picnic or camping trip. (And, no, we’re not talking about your in-laws.) We’re talking about those pests that buzz around your campsite or picnic blanket just, you know, bugging you.

Well, be bugged no longer. Whether you’re camping for a week or just having an afternoon picnic, stay bug-free on your next outdoor occasion with these 5 tips.

1. Choose your site carefully

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in puddles, buckets, and bodies of water, so try to position your campsite or picnic area away from any standing water.

2. Dress for success

There’s definitely a difference between “covering” and “smothering.” In fact, the more you cover, the fewer places they have to land (and bite). Even if it’s hot outside, you can still choose lightweight layers that allow you to cover your arms and legs without making you look like the Abominable Snowman. Dark colors also seem to attract bugs, so lighten up.

3. Eat to beat the bugs

First, go easy on the sweets and meats, both of which attract bugs, especially yellow jackets.

Some people swear that the scent of lemon can help deter pests, and, well it smells good anyway, so why not cut a few in a bowl?

Finally, cover your drink to keep the bugs from doing the backstroke in your beverage. Wasps, in particular, are attracted to sweet drinks (and you don’t need that nasty surprise when you slurp one up).

4. Use products that will make them “bug off”

Two words: bug spray. Sure, sometimes we worry about the chemicals, but the bites can be even worse when you consider that mosquitoes can carry West Nile and Zika viruses or that ticks can infect you with Lyme disease.

Look for a product with DEET — the higher the percentage, the more repellent it will be. To limit or avoid chemical contact, spray your clothes rather than your skin. The Environmental Protection Association (EPA) has a list of products that have been approved.

You can also try your luck with bug zappers and citronella candles.

5. Retreat if you must

Bugs are most common at dusk, so move your picnic invite up a bit earlier if you can. Sadly, though, sometimes the bugs just get the best of you. In that case, try to find a screened-in porch or open the flap of your tent so you can still enjoy the great outdoors without the little pests.

Safe and smart | Home safety


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.