Point your tent entrance into the wind
Bugs like mosquitos and black flies, two of the most detested bugs around, hate being blown around. They like to land on places protected from the wind. I.E the portion of your tent that is down wind. Next trip you experience a lot of bugs take a look at your tent and notice where the majority of those dreadful biters are landing and staying. chances are it’s the portion out of the wind. A way to use this to your advantage is to face the opening of your tent into the wind this will help prevent them from getting into your tent. If your tent door is down wind many more bugs will be around the tent and as soon as you unzip the door they may just follow you inside!
Wear a buff or scarf
A buff or even a scarf will be a life saver on a bug infested trip. You know those nights that the entire bush sounds like a lawnmower from all the flapping of those tiny wings. A buff or scarf can be worn may different ways but my personal favourite is to take two of them. One goes on my head and over my ears. This prevents bugs from flying into my ears or in the case of black flies bitting me behind the ear! What a pain! The second goes over my neck and keeps them from bitting the back of my neck. Then if they get really bad I pull the buff right up and over my nose so that all you can see is my eyes. This technique works very well for black flies as they can’t bite through the material. Mozzy’s however can easily bite through the material. For them I like to apply a small amount of bug spray directly to the buff. I hate applying bug spray to my skin and avoid it when ever possible. Buffs can also support a good bug net. When worn around the neck they help keep them from flying into the net and create more distance from your face.
Relax in the wind
Warm windy days are the best days when the bugs are out. If you can find a nice sunny spot on a day where the wind is blowing moderately or even strong you may have your self a safe haven from them no net required! Flying insects like mosquitos and black flies have difficulty flying in heavy winds and will often seek the shelter of protected areas like thick pine forests or even the backside of your tent. Avoid these areas which on windy days will be much more heavy with the annoying flying monsters then open and exposed areas like a windy elevated point will often drive them away and give you a safe place to relax.
Don’t mind the cold? Go early! If your kayaking or canoeing one of the best times to go is as soon as the ice clears. Depending on the year this is usually mid-end of April. There needs to be several warm days in a row for the bugs to come out. Typically the black flies come out before the mosquitos but either of them can ruin a trip your not prepared for. There is usually a two week window that the ice is out but the bugs are not. Use this window dress warm and enjoy nature! If your hiking or backpacking you can still go early before the bugs are out. The time you can go will be much earlier as you don’t need to worry about frozen rivers and lakes. Just be sure if they are frozen you can get adequate water for drinking.
Bring proper clothing
Sounds silly right? Nope. Dress properly. Don’t go into a thick damp forest during prime time bug season with only shorts, a t-shirt and good thoughts. You will either be running back out or bitten so many times a mathematician couldn’t figure out how many. Long pants and shirts are key. If your going and it’s still colder during the day, it makes dressing for bugs easier. If it’s warm and hot use sun shirts and light pants that wont keep you hot but still provide another layer of protection other then your skin. Rain gear works excellently if it’s not to hot because there is no way they can bite through it and it’s gear most people take on every trip.
Have a safe place during any weather
Not getting bitten but starting to go insane because of the constant diving and attempts at biting you? Go to your safe place. It can be a tent with its fly off on a warm day or my personal favourite a hammock with a bug enclosure. On relaxing trips I spend countless hours in the hammock reading or just sleeping so if the bugs are out not much really changes except a micro mesh blanket of net around me. I highly recommend a hammock and bug net for buggy trips. Even if your not sleeping in it and still bring a tent it offers one more place bug free to enjoy. Tents can get hot and stuffy especially if they have little to no mesh. The hammock can be erected almost anywhere and will be much cooler then a tent due to the fact that your suspended above the ground. It can even be set up in a nice breezy area just to be safe.
There you have it 6 tips to help keep you bite free or at least reduce the number of those annoying itchy bites! Enjoy nature despite the bugs and get out there. Just get out there prepared.