Camping and hiking outdoors gives us a chance to get close to nature… but there are certain creatures most of us would rather avoid. Here are ten animals and insects I always try to stay away from on my adventures.
House flies landing on your freshly-cut watermelon are a distraction, but horse flies taking a bite of your skin or scalp are worse! Take a citronella candle or two when camping to keep those pesky flies at bay.
Some individuals are considered prime targets by mosquitoes, while others are not. Spray that insect repellant all over your exposed body parts.
Avoid them when possible. They will get on your food, and certain types will bite with a vengeance. Use ant spray, but obviously not near your food.
Tiny ticks mysteriously find a way to attach themselves to your body where the sun does not shine. Once they latch on, they are very hard to pry off. Continuously check your body, and carefully remove these hitchhikers completely.
Officially, these tiny bugs are called Trombiculidae, but most of us know them as chiggers (also, berry bugs and harvest mites). Chigger bites are much easier to see than the chiggers themselves. They usually leave their mark around your waistband. Insect spray is often a good deterrent.
You may not see them, but you can definitely see where they’ve been. You might hear them going through your garbage in the campground, so seal up all your food waste each night. Peppermint spray works to keep mice away.
Yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and bumble bees have at least two things in common: they all fly and they all have stingers. Watch where you step, because some yellow jackets build homes in the ground. Keep your food covered as much as possible. Yellow jackets love half-eaten fruit and the syrup left in discarded Coke cans, too.
Talk about manual dexterity! These guys can get into anything and everything. Better have a good lock with a hard-to-remember combination, or they will surely invade your belongings. By the way, they are arrogant too. Try to chase them away by throwing rocks, and don’t be surprised if they laugh at your poor marksmanship.
Many of us subscribe to the old saying, “the only good snakes are dead snakes.” Still, snakes that keep mice away and stay hidden from me are good snakes too. But if you hear a loud rattling sound, then best get as far away as possible.
Most bears in the woods are not on a leash, so it’s not a good idea to introduce yourself to them. If you think you can outrun a bear, then good luck to you.
Your turn: Which animals or bugs bother you the most when you’re out on the trail or in the campground?