Posted by Katie Altoft on June 3rd, 2010
Presumably, you’re sending your kids to camp because you want to give them the opportunity to reconnect with nature. It makes sense then,to pack them away with stuff that protects the nature they’re going to visit.
So where do you start? Well the first thing that comes to many peoples’minds when they think of camp is the bugs. So let’s start by addressing them. There are a few simple tips to minimize bites of all kinds, before we get to creams and potions.
1) Choose light-coloured clothing – Not only are these much cooler in the sun, but mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours, and much less likely to bite you in lightly coloured clothing.
2) Go for coverage – A light, long-sleeved shirt is not much hotter than a t-shirt, and can drastically reduce the number of bites that kids get. Light, long pants can offer the same kind of protection, and there’s even the kind that convert to shorts if you’re out of the woods and get too hot. Socks are important too. Don’t choose the low kind that leave your ankles bare. Bites on the joints can be some of the itchiest and most annoying for the kids, so we want to avoid them as much as possible. And finally, a hat is a great way to keep the bugs from burrowing in the kids’ hair and feasting.
3) Don’t wear anything “stinky” – Send the kids with unscented shampoos, creams and sunscreens, and try to wash their clothes in unscented detergents before they leave. All of these things attract bugs in droves.
If you still want some kind of a bug repellent, I’d suggest using something without harmful chemicals in it. This protects both your childrens’ health, and the plants and animals that they’re going to visit. DEET, while quite effective as a repellent, is a toxic chemical, and should be used sparingly if at all. The challenge is that there are so many “natural” solutions out there that really don’t work, so are hardly worth the expense and effort. Repellents containing either eucalyptus and citronella, or both seem to be the most promising.