We came to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, the great outdoors comes with a great number of bugs. You just can’t keep mosquitos away! Early on we found ourselves staying inside the RV most evenings and missing out on some of the best parts of the day.
There is nothing like sipping a cool drink and watching the sun go down- but NOT through a window! We had to learn how to keep mosquitoes away while spending time in the great outdoors. And we did.
How To Keep Mosquitos Away:
Here are our best tips for how to keep mosquitos away from camp.
- Understand and eliminate the things that attract mosquitos.
- The best natural option is oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- DEET is still the best mosquito repellent overall.
- Get a good screen room for mosquito-free outdoor living.
- Learn how mosquitoes behave, why they are attracted to you, and the dangers they pose to your family.
- Combining repellents, home and yard maintenance, and protective clothing is crucial for reducing mosquito attraction
- An array of mosquito control methods should be applied to ensure the best protection possible
Understanding The Behavior of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. In the larval stage, mosquitoes are aquatic and require standing water to develop. So checking around your site, or yard for standing water and eliminating that water is a really good first step.
Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, as they require blood meals to produce eggs. Mosquitoes use a combination of factors to locate their next meal, and they are especially attuned to certain animal attributes that tell them a meal is near.
- Body heat: Mosquitoes can detect slight changes in temperature, so it is easy for them to isolate animals or humans as food sources. Staying cool while outdoors is a good first step in reducing your attraction to the little bloodsuckers.
- Carbon dioxide: The scent of carbon dioxide from your breath is a strong attractant for mosquitoes. They can sense the gas from a distance, and it helps them home in on their targets. While you can’t stop breathing for long, reducing strenuous activities will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you emit.
- Odors: Certain chemicals from your body, such as lactic acid and ammonia, can increase your attractiveness to mosquitoes. You can’t completely eliminate these odors, but wearing insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus can help make you less appealing to mosquitoes.
Diseases Transmitted by Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance; they are carriers of a variety of diseases that can pose significant risks to your health. Understanding the threats posed by these insects is an essential first step in reducing your risk of infection.
West Nile virus, malaria, and Dengue fever are all potentially deadly diseases linked to mosquito transmission. While none of these is prevalent in the USA, they do underscore the need to minimize mosquito interaction while outdoors.
The American Mosquito Control Association emphasizes the importance of mosquito control measures and education in preventing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Understanding the Mosquito Repellents
When it comes to keeping mosquitoes at bay, there are various effective repellents available in the market. Some people prefer natural solutions, while others rely on commercial products. Both have their benefits and potential drawbacks.
Commercial Mosquito Repellents
Many mosquito repellents on the market include the active ingredient DEET. This chemical has a very long history of safe use and is quite well-trusted by the medical community. DEET products have long been considered the best mosquito repellents available and because of this is widely used by most big brands.
- REPELS MOSQUITOES: 7 percent DEET formula repels mosquitoes, including those that may transmit the Zika, West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses
- LIGHT, CLEAN FEEL WITH A FRESH SCENT: Never feels oily or greasy, with a scent that is pleasant
- ALSO REPELS TICKS, GNATS, BITING FLIES, CHIGGERS and FLEAS: Create a barrier against annoying bugs that can spoil the outdoors
- CONTAINS ALOE AND VITAMIN E: Softens skin while it repels
We have always used Cutter Skinsations which is a very low concentration (7% DEET) product. We really like this product and have used it for years. Its great for ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies.
On the downside, DEET does have a smell that is off-putting to many and has an oily feel when sprayed on the skin. It is also absorbed into the body which does give pause to many consumers. Deet can also damage plastic surfaces when sprayed on, like glasses, watch crystals, or electronics screen covers. Some synthetic fabrics can also be damaged by DEET.
Another commonly used mosquito repellent is picardin. This a newer product and as such does not have the long safety record that DEET has. However, it is becoming very popular as it is scent free and is less likely to irritate the skin. It also sprays on dry and does not absorb as readily into the skin. Picardin is also harmless to plastics and fabrics.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
Natural mosquito repellents rely on plant-based ingredients like essential oils to deter mosquitoes. These are good for folks who prefer a Deet-free alternative. One of the best options is lemon eucalyptus oil (OLE), which is known to work as effectively as other commercial products for preventing mosquito bites.
Some other natural repellents to consider include:
- Neem oil: derived from the neem tree, this oil is known for its insect-repellent properties
- Essential oils: oils like lavender, citronella, lemongrass oil and eucalyptus can help keep mosquitoes away
Since natural solutions are generally safer and better for the environment, they may be worth trying. However, they might not provide the same level of protection as commercial repellents. Additionally, some people might experience sensitive skin irritation from essential oils, so test on a small area before applying it widely.
Besides using repellents, other protective measures, such as mosquito nets, can also help to keep mosquitoes at bay.
We saw another camper with a screen house and asked them about it. They, of course, invited us inside to check it out and told us how it kept the bugs away and they practically lived in it during the summer. We knew straight away this was the answer to our pesky bug issue.
We purchased the Coleman “Back Home” Screenhouse and were very happy with it, here are some things in particular that we loved:
- The two large doors so that we could get in and out easily
- At 10′ x 12′ it was a large size where we could fit a large table in for homeschool, Arts, and Crafts AND for us to work at.
- Set up was pretty easy, but it takes all 4 of us about 15 minutes to get it complete.
- Set up with kiddos can be a bit awkward. It goes up in 2 stages- first, the frame and roof go up, then you hang up the sides.
- The large size could be difficult in certain tighter campsites.
- The cost- $150 on Amazon. Keep an eye on Lightning Deals to see if it does down in price. I usually add things to My Wish List and Amazon will tell me if the price does down!
All in all, we liked this room a LOT! Then one day we KILLED it! We opened the awning too close to the screen house and put a big hole in the roof. Since neither of us can sew to save our life, we were shopping again.
The second time around we decided to look for something that would be quicker and easier to set up and take down when bad weather approached. One stage if possible. We also wanted to find something just a little bit smaller so we could use it more.
If you are looking for an outdoor room, here are a few things to think about:
- How much room do you have in your RV/Camper to store it?
- How much time do you want to spend putting it up/down?
- How big do you need it to be?
- What do you want to fit in there – chairs, a table, pets, kids, workspace etc?
- Is it going on grass, patio or deck?
- Do you need one that is lightweight or heavy?
- Who is putting it up, as in will you have help or is it just you?
- Is there a warranty attached to it in case you do something silly like opening the awning on it!
- Do you plan on leaving it outside in bad weather?
After much consideration and many, many reviews read we chose to go with the Coleman 10 x 10 Instant Screenhouse, and here’s why:
- Super Lightweight- the whole screen room, in its bag weighs less than 15 lbs. That makes it highly portable and great for RV storage
- Easy Setup- this tent is extremely easy to set up. One person can handle the job in just a couple of minutes.
- Two Doors- I’ve always appreciated the 2 doors on this model. For the campsite where things can be a bit tight, having pass-through ability make a world of difference.
- Cost- at only $130 this portable screen room is a terrific deal.
Coleman Screen Room
- 1-MINUTE SETUP: Quick set up with lightweight hub, attached telescoping poles, and pinch-free buttons
- BUG-FREE LOUNGING: Enclosed mesh walls with 2 entryways makes it easy to bring gear in and out
- UPF 50+: Sun protection helps block sun’s harmful UV rays; shade area is 30.2 sq. ft.
Reducing Mosquito Attraction
To reduce mosquito attraction, you’ll want to tackle the factors that can make you a target for these pesky insects. Let’s discuss some of the key steps you can take to minimize their presence and attraction to your body.
First, pay attention to your outdoor dining choices. Mosquitoes are attracted to the bacteria and food particles on your skin. Avoid consuming excessively sweet or pungent food and drinks outdoors during mosquito season, as these may attract mosquitoes.
Foods with high potassium content like bananas and avocadoes create lactic acid in the body and mosquitoes just LOVE lactic acid.
It’s also essential to manage your sweat. Mosquitoes are drawn to the odor of perspiration, so shower regularly and wear moisture-wicking fabrics to stay dry during outdoor activities, especially in the evening when mosquitoes are most active.
Clothing color choices can impact mosquito attraction as well. Light-colored clothing is preferable, as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored garments to provide mosquito protection and minimize their interest in you.
Since carbon dioxide is a major attractant for mosquitoes, limiting your output by minimizing vigorous activities will help to make you a little less visible to the buggers.
Outdoor Mosquito Control
Mosquitoes can be a major nuisance in your RV, home, yard or site, but there are several steps you can take to keep them at bay. Start by eliminating their breeding grounds in your outdoor area. This includes regularly cleaning your gutters to prevent standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
Be diligent in removing any containers, such as garbage cans, that may collect water outdoors. If you have a swimming pool, make sure to maintain it properly, as stagnant water in pools can attract mosquito larvae. Look for other sources like bird baths, old tires or buckets that could hold stagnant water.
In addition to addressing standing water, maintain your site or yard to prevent it from becoming a haven for pests. Keep your lawn mowed and trim tall grasses, as these can provide hiding spots for mosquitoes during the day. When working or relaxing outside, consider using a fan, as the air circulation can make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly close to you.
You can also implement mosquito traps, such as mosquito magnets, which attract and trap mosquitoes by mimicking human breath and releasing CO2. These traps can be effective in reducing the mosquito population in your yard.
Additionally, consider using a spatial repellent like Thermacell, which creates a zone of protection around your patio or other outdoor areas by heating up a fuel cartridge. This method can be effective in creating a mosquito-free space without the need for spray-on repellents.
Lastly, if you’re struggling to control the mosquito population in your yard, you may want to hire a professional exterminator to treat your foliage with insecticide. This can help ensure a swat-free environment for at least a few days and allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces without the constant irritation of mosquitoes.
Protective Clothing Against Mosquitoes
Wearing protective clothing can be an effective method to keep mosquitoes away and prevent their bites. To minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, opt for clothing that covers most of your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
Not only will this limit the amount of skin exposed, but it will also create a physical barrier that makes it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite.
When selecting the right fabrics, bear in mind that mosquitoes can bite through thin and tight materials. Lightweight and loose-fitting clothing is recommended, as it creates additional space between your skin and the fabric, reducing the chances of mosquito bites. Moreover, lighter colors are preferred, as dark-colored clothing tends to attract mosquitoes.
Tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks can help cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes might find access to your skin. Likewise, closed-toe shoes will offer additional protection for your feet when venturing into mosquito-infested areas.
Aside from wearing appropriate clothing, it’s important to remember that adding insect repellent can further boost your protection against mosquitoes. Always follow the product label instructions and apply repellent on exposed skin, not under your clothing. If using sunscreen, remember to apply it before insect repellent to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Incorporating these protective clothing strategies will help keep you safe from mosquitoes and enjoy your time outdoors without the worry of mosquito bites.
Miscellaneous Mosquito Control Methods
To keep mosquitoes at bay, consider experimenting with various methods. Start with a simple recipe using witch hazel: mix it with distilled water and a few drops of cedar oil to create a natural mosquito repellent. Apply this mixture on your skin to deter mosquito bites and enjoy itch-free outdoor activities.
Mosquito netting is another effective way to protect yourself against these pests. Whether you are sleeping in a tent or spending time in your patio, hanging mosquito nets in strategic locations can help keep mosquitoes away from you and your loved ones.
CO2 mosquito traps are also popular; these devices lure te critters with carbon dioxide, mimicking human breath, and trap and kill mosquitoes inside.
During outdoor events, using bug lights is an excellent method to discourage mosquitoes from invading your space. These lights emit a different spectrum of light that is less attractive to these insects. In conjunction with this, burning candles with specific scents like citronella can also ward off mosquitoes, as they are repelled by the smell.
For added protection, you can also try using Thermacell Patio Shield devices, which emit a mosquito repellent into the air around your outdoor space. These gadgets provide a discreet and effective solution, without any unpleasant odors.
Thermacell Mosquito Control
- EFFECTIVE MOSQUITO PROTECTION: Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes.
- HEAT-ACTIVATED TECHNOLOGY: No cords or batteries. Powered by a safe and compact 12-hour fuel cartridge.
- EFFECTIVELY REPEL WITHOUT SPRAY OR SCENT: Repel mosquitoes without DEET sprays or lotions on your skin.
- PLANT-INSPIRED REPELLENT FORMULA: Independently tested and EPA-reviewed for safety & effectiveness. People and pet friendly.
Another unconventional method to consider is rubbing dryer sheets on your clothes or placing them in strategic spots around your gathering area. Some individuals report that dryer sheets repel mosquitoes, possibly due to the chemicals they contain.
Lastly, recycling old coffee grounds can offer an eco-friendly way to keep mosquitoes at bay. Burn the used grounds and let the smoke disperse around your outdoor space; the scent will help repel these bothersome insects and allow you to enjoy your time outside without uninvited guests.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How to keep mosquitoes away while camping?
When camping, use a mosquito repellent containing DEET or picardin, following the instructions for applying it safely. Keep the campsite clean and free from standing water. Use mosquito nets over sleeping areas and close tent openings tightly.
You can also use citronella candles and portable mosquito repellent devices, such as Thermacell Patio Shield, to create a zone of protection.
What scents help to repel mosquitoes?
Plant mosquito repelling plants around your home. Certain plant-based scents can help repel mosquitoes. These include citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint. Planting these around your outdoor living spaces or using essential oils can aid in keeping mosquitoes at bay.
How to naturally repel mosquitoes at night?
Naturally repel mosquitoes at night by eliminating standing water around your home, using mosquito-repellent plants or essential oils, and burning citronella candles. You can also install screens on windows and doors, and use bed nets treated with permethrin or other insecticides.
How to keep mosquitoes away indoors?
To keep mosquitoes away indoors, close windows and doors, and use screens to prevent them from entering. Use air conditioning when possible, as cooler temperatures are less attractive to mosquitoes. Keep your home clean and free of standing water, even in small amounts like in plant trays or vases.
How to protect dogs from mosquitoes?
Protect your dogs from mosquitoes by using veterinarian-approved insect repellent products specifically designed for pets. Keep the outdoor spaces your dogs frequent free from standing water, and use natural deterrents such as mosquito-repelling plants. Provide a sheltered area for your dog to avoid direct exposure to mosquitoes.
Frank is the Head Hubby, Daddy, and Fix-It Guy of the Roving Foleys clan. He ia an avid traveler and has spent over 5 years traveling full time with his family. he loves helping others learn about the RV life. He has also traveled in Europe, Asia, and Australia with his wife Grainne.