By Hailey Davis, Contributing Blogger
If you’re an avid hiker or camper, you know how important bug spray is. Without it, you’re at risk of getting those annoying, itchy bug bites. You’re also at risk for contracting a disease through those bites without bug spray. So, it’s incredibly important to pick a bug spray that’s suitable for the environment you’re in. Let’s discuss the types of bugs and the right sprays for each environment!
Bug Sprays For Hot and/or Humid Environments
Bugs sprays are absolutely necessary for hiking in hot and/or humid environments. Most bug species thrive in the summer, primarily in humid regions. But, some environments are humid without it being too hot, such as the most Northern states. Either way, if you are planning to be outdoors for a long period of time in a hot or humid environment, you must protect yourself. Not only can you get dozens of bug bites, but some bugs spread diseases. For example, mosquitoes, one of the most common bugs in the warmer months, can spread the Zika, West Nile, Dengue, and Chikungunya viruses.
In addition to mosquitoes, here are some common summer bugs:
- Ants (including fire ants, crazy ants, and sugar ants)
- Bees, hornets, and wasps
Thankfully, there are some great bug sprays to use in the summer. The two below can be found at major outdoor retailers and Amazon.Repel Sportsmen Max Insect Repellent
This bug spray is everything you need for summer bugs. It repels ticks, gnats, chiggers, fleas, mosquitoes, and biting flies. These are bugs that can bite you and spread diseases, so this repellent is a great option. This company has repellent available in aerosol spray, standard spray, wipes, and lotion so you can use it how you prefer.OFF! Sportsmen Picaridin Spray
Most bug sprays are made with DEET, which is an effective repellent. But, a relatively new repellent ingredient is Picaridin. This ingredient is as effective against mosquitoes and ticks, but it also works against flies. It also doesn’t have that strong bug repellent smell, which is a huge plus.
OFF! is one of the most popular bug repellent companies and has both DEET and Picaridin options. But, if you would like to try out a scent-free, yet effective bug spray, the OFF! Sportsmen Picaridin Spray is a great one.
Bug Sprays For Cold Environments
In the winter, many people choose not to use bug sprays when hiking. This is because of the misbelief that bugs only like hot or humid environments. The truth is, many bugs survive the winter, and some even thrive!
Common winter bugs include:
- Most spider species
- Snow fleas
- Snow crickets
- Scale insects
- Stink bugs
- Woolly bear caterpillars
Thankfully, there are fewer insects that bite and spread diseases in the winter. But, fleas, spiders, crickets, and aphids do bite humans. Although stink bugs don’t bite, they do emit an odor, hence their name. So, investing in a bug spray to repel these winter-loving insects is a great idea.
Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing Gear and Tents
During the winter, many bugs try to take shelter in warm environments so they can survive the brutal temperatures. When hiking or camping, your warm clothing and tent is the warmest option around. But, not all bug sprays are safe to use on your clothing or other fabric materials. So, that’s why I recommend the Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing Gear and Tents spray.Essential Oils
Many essential oil enthusiasts say any essential oil can repel bugs, including spiders. But, research suggests this isn’t the case. However, one study did show three essential oils were effective in repelling spiders. These were:
- Peppermint oil
- Lemon oil
According to other studies, peppermint oil is also effective in repelling mosquitoes and ants. It may also work to repel aphids and fleas from humans. Because a small amount of peppermint oil is usually safe to use on non-sensitive areas of your skin, this is an effective and affordable way to repel winter bugs. Not to mention, if you prefer to stick to natural ingredients, this is the perfect option.
Buying a Bug Spray That Works For You
We hope our suggestions help you choose a great bug repellent! It may be best to test different bug sprays to see which you prefer. Do you prefer a better smell over more protection, or vice versa? Also, some summer repellents will work in the winter, so don’t be afraid to test them out to see if they’re effective.