When it comes to summer travel, camping is the ultimate escape for city dwellers seeking reprieve from traffic and crowded tourist spots. Plus, there are few things more rewarding than going off the grid (not to mention saying goodbye to that that long list of unread emails) for an uncomplicated life in the woods. But along with all that fresh air and mountain zen comes pesky mosquitoes.
They’re not just annoying; they’re dangerous. (We don’t need to remind you of the Zika frenzy.) So much so that Australian scientists bred 20 million mosquitoes in a recent experiment. They infected males with a specific type of bacteria to make them sterile. Then, they released over three million of them. These sterile males couldn’t bite or spread disease; however, when they mated with wild female mosquitoes, the eggs didn’t hatch and the population plummeted. Scientists were ultimately able to wipe out 80 percent of Aedes aegypti—a type of disease-harboring mosquito.
Extreme? Yes. And the implications can be global. In the meantime, do your part to minimize mosquitoes at your campsite with a few tips and tricks.
Rather than scour the local sporting goods store for bug zappers or wacky natural repellents (like burning sage), heed our advice. We turned to the experts to find out what really works. Marco Johnson, field staffing director at the National Outdoor Leadership School, and Daniel Grillo, Program Coordinator at REI Outdoor School, weigh in on how you can keep mosquitos at bay during your next camping trip.