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Mosquitoes, fleas, gnat's, maggots, ants, moths, fly's, wasps, yellow jackets, meat bees, honey bees, hornets, ticks, chiggers, spiders, no see-ums, etc, etc . . .

They can make a camping trip miserable.

If you find them at home, be assured you will find them in your camp. Most likely more of them, too.
Then again, you may not find them at all. 

When picking out a campground or campsite, try to stay far away from thick bushy woods, deep grass, stagnant ponds, out houses, garbage dumpsters and anything you think may attract the little creatures.
This also goes along with keeping your campsite clean of food crumb or drink spills.
 Closed or dispose of garbage.
Pop cans are big with insects (especially Sweat Bees) because they are left usually sitting around while you slowly drink it.
Be sure to always check inside
 before slugging down a gulp.

Avoiding Insects

  Flies and Mosquitoes   Noseeums
Prevention Against Biting Flies   Treatment of Fly Bites
Insects that sting
   Symptoms   Is It Fatal?!
The Black Widow   The Brown Recluse
Fire Ants

Avoiding Pesty Bugs

There are many things you can purchase to help cut down on, 
but not eliminate these pests!
How do you avoid them in the first place?

Bugs have favorite colors, too! 
Their two favorites are blue and black, so if you can avoid these, you're going to be one step ahead.

Tight cuffs on your shirts and pants are always a helpful addition; this keeps the bugs from crawling up your legs and arms.

Start a campfire (if they're allowed).
Bugs really dislike smoke, so this is a natural way to keep them at the neighbors.
Citronella candles work, but you have to stick fairly close to the candle to really get the benefits.

Don't camp right next to the water. 
I know that this is where all the fun is, but the mosquitoes don't want to miss any of the fun either, so they're going to be there and they'll bring the whole family to join in the fun!

It's been said taking garlic supplements, or eating garlic 
will lessen your chances of bug bites.

Mosquito coils, body spray repellant, repellant lotion, citronella candles, and repellant sprays for your cloths, the less useful perimeter bug sprays and a whole lot more.
You are going to have to decide what works best for you. 

I have found that there is nothing that repels everything.
The mosquitoes are the biggest problem.
 Therefore, something to do prior to setting up camp is to spray a bug killer under and around the table, (bear box if in Bear Country)
and anywhere we see fit. 
Then set up the tents to give the sprayed areas a chance to air out. It is a good idea to then wash the areas where food will be stored or used. Then at night or anytime you feel the need to, light a couple of mosquito coils and/or citronella candles upwind of your campsite.

 When sitting down to eat, one can be moved to the table either under or near to it upwind. Besides that, also use spray repellant or lotion on each member of your party. This is a backup to the coils and/or candle, incase a mosquitoes gets to you anyway.

Again nothing will eliminate all, but coils and/or candle do seem to help cut down on them.

When buying a tent be sure it has insect screens on all doors and windows.

Other things you can buy are screened dinning canopies. 

For the person who wants extra protection, there are bug suits and head nets.


Usually bug repellants use a chemical nicknamed "DEET" in concentrations from 10-100% that is primarily effective for repelling mosquitoes and ticks. There has been some concern over safety, since it is a powerful chemical that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Those products with 20-25% concentrations have been found effective, but for children, the Americana Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 10%.

Use DEET products sparingly, keeping it away from eyes, lips, or broken skin and off of children's hands which may end up in their mouth. Once it is not needed, wash it off with soap and water. Consider treating your clothes rather than your skin, but note that DEET can damage Spandex, rayon, acetate, waterproof coatings and the plastic in sunglasses.

Controlled release formulas work longer and minimize your exposure since you are applying it less frequently. Lotion formulas can repel bugs up to twice as long as liquids and sprays (of the same strength in active ingredients) which have a higher initial evaporation rate.

Natural repellents are only effective for a short period of time, and have limited repelling effects. They use essential oils such as citronella, citrus products, or other plant oils, and though natural, can be irritating to the skin in high concentrations.

Travelers should be advised that permethrin-containing repellents (e.g., Permanone or deltamethrin) are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. There appears to be little potential for toxicity from permethrin-treated clothing. The insecticide should be reapplied after every five washings.

Most authorities recommend repellents containing N,N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET) as an active ingredient. DEET repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropods when applied to the skin or clothing. In general, the more DEET a repellent contains, the longer time it can protect against mosquito bites. However, there appears to be no added benefit of concentrations greater than 50%. A microencapsulated, sustained-release formulation can have a longer period of activity than liquid formulations at the same concentrations. Length of protection also varies with ambient temperature, amount of perspiration, any water exposure, abrasive removal, and other factors.

No definitive studies have been published about what concentration of DEET is safe for children. No serious illness has arisen from use of DEET according the manufacturer’s recommendations. DEET formulations as high as 50% are recommended for both adults and children >2 months of age. Lower concentrations are not as long lasting, offering short-term protection only and necessitating more frequent reapplication. Repellent products that do not contain DEET are not likely to offer the same degree of protection from mosquito bites as products containing DEET. Non-DEET repellents have not necessarily been as thoroughly studied as DEET and may not be safer for use on children. Parents should choose the type and concentration of repellent to be used by taking into account the amount of time that a child will be outdoors, exposure to mosquitoes, and the risk of mosquito-transmitted disease in the area. The recommendations for DEET use in pregnant women do not differ from those for nonpregnant adults.

DEET is toxic when ingested and may cause skin irritation in sensitive persons. High concentrations applied to skin can cause blistering. However, because DEET is so widely used, a great deal of testing has been done, and over the long history of DEET use, very few confirmed incidents of toxic reactions to DEET have occurred when the product is used properly.

Travelers should be advised that the possibility of adverse reactions to DEET will be minimized if they take the following precautions:

Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin or clothing. Do not apply repellent to skin that is under clothing. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection. If repellent is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again.

Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. 

After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water. 

Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas; do not breathe in. 

Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to the face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.

When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid the child’s eyes and mouth and apply sparingly around the ears.

Do not apply repellent to children’s hands. (Children tend to put their hands in their mouths.) 

Do not allow children under ten years old to apply insect repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them. Keep repellents out of reach of children.

Protect infants two months of age and under by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

Bed nets, repellents containing DEET, and permethrin should be purchased before traveling and can be found in hardware, camping, sporting goods, and military surplus stores. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide, deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes.

Natural Insect Repellents

Cedar Oil 

Try a cedar oil spray. I get it at PetSmart & use it on the dogs, cats & kids - it may seem a bit pricey but one bottle lasts for awhile. There may be another source for it among herbal shops, natural food stores, etc. One tip for anyone using it for fleas - it's a REPELLANT and works best if used before you see any fleas. If you've already got fleas, the same company makes a shampoo.

-- Cindy 

Newbury, OH 

Rubbing Alcohol 

I found out many years ago, when I was a young teenager, that just splashing plain rubbing alcohol on me and allowing it to dry would deter mosquitoes from biting me. I am allergic to mosquito bites and develop huge welts everywhere they bite me. With the alcohol, they never bit me. And once it dries, it leaves a pleasant odor on the skin, not repugnant at all. Thought this might help. And it only costs less than 50 cents a bottle!

-- Linda G from Tennessee 


This is going to floor you, but one of the best insect repellents I have found and I am in the woods every day, is Vick's Vaporub. I rub it on my pants and legs to ward off ticks. If you can tolerate the smell it's pretty good.

-- Barbara 

Marine's Choice 

I don't know how "organic" you want to go, or if it's just DEET you're trying to avoid. But here in Jacksonville, NC, home of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, our "tough guy" Marines who spend a great deal of time "camping out" say that the very best mosquito repellant you can use is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol. I've tried it, and I have to admit it works just as well if not better than the commercial sprays. Actually, I just saw an ad on TV this week for Avon's own Skin-So-Soft insect repellant. I'm assuming it's made about the same way -- but it may turn out to be less expensive in the long run to mix your own. An added plus -- it smells great too.

-- Carol D. 

Homemade Recipe 

20 drops Eucalyptus oil 
20 drops Cedarwood oil 
10 drops Tea Tree oil 
10 drops Geranium oil 
2 oz. carrier oil ( such as Jojoba ) 

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the eye area. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities . Experiment with different percentages of essential oil.

-- GR 


One of the best natural insect repellants that I've discovered is made from the clear real vanilla (not the grocery store vanilla extract which is mostly alcohol). This is the pure vanilla that is sold in Mexico. It's cheap there if you know of someone that lives there or in the US close to the border. If not, health food stores usually carry it or can order it for you. I use it half vanilla and half water and find that it works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don't know about other insects. It's nice that you don't smell like a chemical plant but a cookie! I cannot use chemical insecticides, so I love the way this works and I hope you and your kids will also.

-- Sharon 

Moth Balls 

To the person who needed natural insect repellent. This is not natural but if you put out moth ball in the yard where children can't find them, they are great for mosquito. Or make a mixture of 1part baby powder, 1 part flower of sulfur(found at drug stores), 1 part cornstarch. Mix in a ziploc bag, sprinkle on the ground. Repels most bugs.

-- Rose M 

Catnip Concoction 

Make your own by filling a quart jar with some herbs from the mint family - catnip, spearmint, pennyroyal and then cover with apple cider vinegar. Shake twice a day for 2 weeks. Strain and either rub on or spray on.

-- Gary 

Lavender Oil 

I just read about a pleasant solution, though, that worked for me last weekend in the mountains (lots of biting bugs, but they pretty much left me alone.) Use lavender oil, and dab it on your pulse points (I used it on my wrists, behind my ears, temples, behind my knees, and on my ankles). Smells wonderful, but apparently the insects don't think so.

- JT 

I, The Webmaster of this site have not tried any of these techniques, yet

Uh-oh, I've been bit or stung!
 Now what?

The first thing that you have to figure out is what bit or stung you! 

Flies and Mosquitoes

These pests can quickly bring an end to your comfort around the campground, so take along something that will repel these little nasties. Citronella candles help keep them away from the immediate area, but for thorough protection you may need to apply a bug repellent to your skin.

The number of mosquitoes at any given location is inversely proportional to the amount of repellent that remains.

Stay away from wet, grassy areas. 
Any still stagnant water or swampy wet meadows

Avoid using fragrant or scented personal products.

Wear light colored long sleeve shirts and pants.

Colors: Dark colors, especially navy blue and black, attract insects.
Powder blue, yellow, mist-green, white and other light colors have a neutral or mild repelling effect.
Mosquitoes come out right after a rain, so it's best to avoid dark blue rain suits. 
Air-force blue wool pants and shirts are an abomination in the woods and are nearly impossible to wear on buggy days.
Contrary to popular belief, red does not repel black flies. Red is a fairly neutral color which neither repels nor attracts insects.

Wear a hat and a bandana on your head and neck.

Keep cool - bugs are attracted to sweat.

Traditional bug repellent - most contain DEET as the active ingredient against bugs. Use this sparingly. This chemical may be harmful and should not be used on children.

 N. N-Diethylmetatoluamide, commonly known as DEET.
The higher the percentage of DEET, the more effective (and expensive) the repellent.
Products which contain more than 80 percent DEET are highly effective but may burn sensitive skin, a factor to consider if you're camping with children

Liquid or cream repellents are much more potent (a better buy) than sprays.

-BEN GAY is a surprisingly good insect repellent.

Sunscreen/insect repellant
this may have a lower concentration of DEET. 

Avon Skin So Soft - tests don't prove this but many insist that it works.

Citronella candles and oil
helps keep mosquitoes out of the area. 

Build a small fire, smoke will keep most bugs away

Zip up tent door always. Even if you're just in for a minute

Turn off flashlight before entering the tent.
Moths may follow the light in with you.

Garlic -  it will secrete through your pours.

Zinc or Vitamin B
also secretes through your pours. 

Citrus - deters the bugs.

Camp in the cooler months, Spring & Fall

If you have been bit by a mosquito, it's going to be a little sore, but there's not much that you can do about it.

You might try a cool, damp washcloth if it stings or some calamine lotion if it itches. 

-Household ammonia and water will cut the sting of mosquito bites.


Biting Midges,""no-see-ums," "punkies," or "sand flies" 

They are very small flies (about 1/25-1/10) inch long whose small but bladelike mouthparts make a painful wound out of proportion to its tiny size. Welts and lesions from the bite may last for days. The larvae of various species breed in a wide variety of damp or wet places high in organic matter. Most are attracted to lights. One vicious biter breeds along the Atlantic coast in salt marshes and wet soil. Another species, found in mountainous areas, feeds in the evening and night hours and is small enough to pass through ordinary screens. These are important pests along coastal and mountainous areas and can seriously interfere with outdoor activities.

These tiny biting gnats are small enough to fly trough standard mesh bug netting. They bite with a fiery nip. Noseeum tent netting will stop these critters cold; however, noseeum net is so tightly woven that ventilation may be a problem in muggy weather.

Head nets are best constructed of dark-colored standard mesh mosquito net, both for good visibility and ventilation. It's difficult to see through the milk-colored noseeum net supplied with many tents. 

Prevention Against Biting Flies

  • Be sure to use repellents containing R-326 (Di-n-propyl Isocinchomeronate). R-326 is more effective than deet against flies. "Composite" repellents are best because they contain R-326 for flies, deet for mosquitoes and ticks, plus the synergist MGK-264 that maximizes the effectiveness of both. Commonly available composite insect repellent products include: Bens Backyard Formulas Tick and Insect repellent, Cutter Insect Repellent Spray and Sawyer Broad Spectrum Insect Repellent.

  • Spray tents and clothing with permethrin. It lasts up to two weeks and is not washed off by rainwater. Permethrin will also kill ticks and mosquitoes.

  • Dispose of litter, garbage, manure and decaying matter.

  • Avoid areas of standing water where flies and mosquitoes may breed. If possible, dispose of standing water.

  • Use window and door screens. Repair holes promptly.

  • Spray screens with permethrin to keep out tiny no-see-ums, fruit flies and pomace flies. Permethrin is effective for up to two weeks and will also kill ticks and mosquitoes.

Treatment of Fly Bites

  • Use an extractor pump to create a strong vacuum to suction out poisons and other foreign fluids. This will relieve pain, itching and swelling and perhaps reduce the risk of more serious allergic reactions.

  • Wipe the bite with a benzocaine anesthetic for fast pain relief.

Okay, you have used every preventive measures 
and still
you have been stung or munched on.

 For this, you can purchase one of these products:
BenadrylSting EzeAfterbite LanacaneCampho-phenique
 or something similar to these.
 These will help with the sting or itching from a bite.

In any case always watch for an allergic reaction.

 Signals of allergic reactions may develop quickly. 
They include a rash, difficulty breathing, a feeling of tightness in the chest and throat, and swelling of the face, neck and tongue. Person may feel dizzy or confused.
 Severe allergic reaction can become life threatening if not treated at once.

Insects that sting include:

Yellow jackets 
Fire ants 

Disturb their nests and you will be attacked. All of the bees are active throughout the warm weather months, but late summer and early fall, when their numbers are highest, are particularly troublesome times. Ground nesting yellow jackets frequently choose banks along back country trails to build, while both wasps and hornets seem partial to limbs overhanging water. Several types of bees are attracted to foods in camp. Anyone who has a history of allergic reactions needs to be particularly cautious, and should flee immediately after disturbing a nest, then assess the situation after you have gotten away from the danger. Obviously you should carefully examine your surroundings before setting up camp.

Usually these nasty flying things are nothing more than a quick,
 painful OUCH!

But, you still want to get the stinger and poison out.
 The first thing you want to do is remove the stinger. 
You DO NOT do this by grabbing it and pulling,
 that only injects more poison.
Get a credit card or knife and scrape at the stinger, it should come out. Now, get either some baking soda, or if you can't find any, grab a little dirt, mix either of them with water, making a paste, and apply it to where you were stung, when it dries, it will pull the stinger out with it.


Most often, the symptoms that come from these insect stings include: 

Quick, sharp pain 
Redness at the sting site 

Insect stings can even result in a severe allergic reaction.


Approximately 10% of the population develop severe hypersensitivity to bee and yellow jacket stings. When they are stung or bitten, their entire body is affected
 (a systemic allergic reaction).
 This can result difficulty in breathing, and even shock.

Severely allergic people should carry a syringe of epinephrine with them for self-injection in case they are stung. Epinephrine is available by prescription only. It can be dangerous for some people, so it's definitely something to talk with your doctor about if you think a severe sting allergy is a consideration.

Symptoms of this include: 

Severe swelling, all over and/or of the face, tongue, lips
Weakness, dizziness 
A difficult time breathing or swallowing 
Airway obstruction or shock 

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction usually happen soon after or within an hour of the sting. A severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening.

It  needs  immediate 
emergency  care.

If you've ever had an allergic reaction to an insect sting in the past, you should carry an emergency kit that has:

(a medicine called epinephrine that stops the bodywide reaction) and a device with a needle to inject it

An antihistamine 
An inhaler that contains adrenalin 

Instruction sheet that explains how to use the kit

You have to get this kit from your doctor. You should also wear a medical alert tag that lets others know that you are allergic to insect stings. Persons who have had severe reactions in the past to bee or wasp stings should ask their doctor about allergy shots.

If you or someone that you are with gets stung,
 and they're allergic,

Be sure that you have your "EPI-KIT" with you, if you're the one that's allergic, and be sure to tell the person that you're with that you have it. That way, if you get stung, and you can't tell them, they already know and be sure that both of you know how to use the kit.

Seek Medical Attention! 

There are also kits you can buy at the store.
I have never used one 
(Although we have one included in our First Aid Kit)
and am not sure if it is as EFFECTIVE as what the Doctor would prescribe for such needed patients!
Click Here for Details



Try to avoid getting stung. 

Keep food and drink containers tightly covered.
(Bees love sweet things like soft drinks.) 

Don't wear perfume, colognes, or hair spray when you are outdoors. 

Don't wear bright colors.
Choose white, or neutral colors like tan.
These don't attract bees. 

Don't go barefoot. 
Look for insects in your shoes before you wear them. 

Don't swat or otherwise provoke bees or yellow jackets with your bare hands.

Wear insect repellents especially if you are sensitive to insect stings. 


If an insect that stings gets in your car, 
stop the car, roll down the windows and get the insect out of the car. 

Questions to Ask

If you are stung by an insect, do you have any of these problems?

Problems breathing and/or swallowing
Swelling all over
Swollen tongue, lips or face
Throat that feels closed up
Skin that turns blue

{Note: Give shot from emergency sting kit if there is one. Follow instructions in kit.}





Were you stung in the mouth or on the tongue?

{Note: Give shot from emergency sting kit if there is one. Follow instructions in kit.}


Do you have any of these problems after you are stung by an insect?

Stomach cramps

Myth: It's OK to treat at home an allergic response (see above) to a bee sting.

Reality: Delaying professional treatment could be fatal.

The right approach: For symptoms such as breathing problems, tight throat or swollen tongue, call an ambulance immediately.

Click here to see 9 other common first aid mistakes

Self-Care Tips

Gently scrape out the stinger as soon as possible. Use a credit card or a fingernail. This applies to bees only. Yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets don't lose their stingers.

Don't pull the stinger out with your fingers or tweezers. Don't squeeze the stinger. It contains venom. You could re-sting yourself.

Clean the sting area with soapy water.

Put a cold compress on the sting. Put ice in a cloth, plastic bag, or plastic wrap. Don't put ice directly on the skin. Hold the cold compress on the site for 15-20 minutes.

Keep the sting area lower than the level of the heart.

Take an over-the-counter medicine for the pain.

Tylenol, Acetaminophen, etc.

Take an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Benadryl, for the itching and swelling unless you have to avoid this medicine for medical reasons. Look on the label for how much to take.

Another Home Remedy
is to apply a wet salt pack and allow it to dry.
The salt will draw the pain away quickly.

*Reader's Contribution:

"I am 54 and the mother of two grown children. I also grew up on a bee farm, following my grandfather and dad, and later my husband, around the bee yard, working right along with them. I learned of a stinger remedy, oddly enough through an old Ann Landers column many years ago. I promise you it works much better than (eeoh) tobacco spit, msg, baking soda or others.

First: DO NOT REMOVE BEE STINGERS WITH TWEEZERS!!!  The stinger is made like a syringe and the poison is in a little sac at the end of the stinger. If squeezed, the poison is automatically injected into the already abused victim. Instead, scrape the stinger away, being careful not to squeeze the sac.

Next: Always keep a supply of fresh onion on hand. A fresh cut onion quickly applied to the stung area will prevent swelling and redness, and will stop the pain, usually within fifteen minutes.  I promise this works.

True Story:

At the age of five my daughter was stung in the face no less than five times by yellow jackets (nasty little buggars that are far worse than honeybees or wasps). I put slices of onion all over her face (except the eye which had a sting and I really felt onion juice in the eye was just more than she could handle).  Within fifteen minutes, her face was normal, except for the one eye, which was swollen and red, but not life threaten like five stings which could have swollen her little throat.

Question:  I know this works from my daughter's experience, and my own with various other insect stings. BUT . . .
I don't know how it would work with someone who is allergic to bee stings.  In a state of emergency, if there was an onion present, and no doctor or suitable medicine, I would certainly try it (while dialing 911 or driving to the doctor, of course). That's how much faith I have in the remarkable ONION."

Good luck.
G. Lee


The stinging insects play a vital part in our environment and economy. When we confuse them with our bright colors, our sweet scents, our sources of nourishment, they are attracted to our surroundings and to us. When we threaten them, they aggressively protect themselves and their hives. They are very unlikely to sting until they perceive a threat. Our best protection is not to poison or bait, but to respect their habits and, give them the wide berth that they deserve, then stings become unlikely.


The ultimate in "crawly"! 

Recognized by the eight legs attached to the cephalothorax, 
spiders are very useful
 should not be killed.
 They eat only insects and other small pests and deserve a better reputation than they have.

While all spiders kill their prey by injecting poison, only two spiders have the ability to actually harm most people.

Almost all spiders are capable of producing venomous bites.
However, there are very few species of spiders in the United States that produce harmful bites.

The U.S. Public Health Service reports that poisonous bites are a very minor cause of death in the United States. Annually, venomous animals produce death as follows: bees, 12; wasps and other hymenoptera, 10; snakes, 14; spiders, six; and scorpions, one.

The two most common, poisonous spiders; the brown recluse and the black widow are of most concern and will be discussed in detail.

Two other species, Chirocanthium inclusum (a common running spider) and Argiope aurantia (the black and yellow garden spider), have occasionally been reported as inflicting serious bites in humans.
None of these bites produced death or prolonged illness.

The Black Widow

Its body is about one-half inch long (smaller than a dime), and it has long legs.
 The black widow spider is shiny and black with a red-orange or yellow mark in the shape of an hourglass on its stomach.

Click here for a real photo of a Black Widow Spider

Black widow spiders and their relatives can be found almost anywhere in the Western hemisphere of the world.

The black widow's range in North America is from Massachusetts to Florida and west to California, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Although they can be found in almost every state (and some portions of Canada), this spider is most common in the Southern locales of the United States.

 They can be found in damp and dark places. 

Their favorite places are wood piles, tree stumps, trash piles, storage sheds, fruit and vegetable gardens, in stone walls, and under rocks. If they come inside, they will go to dark places like corners of closets, garages, or behind furniture.
 They are shy by nature and bite only when trapped, sat on, or accidentally touched.


What a Black Widow Spider Bite 
Looks and Feels Like

A person who gets bitten by a black widow spider might not know it right away, since the bite can sometimes feel like a little pinprick and may go unnoticed.
After 30 to 40 minutes, though, the area of the bite will swell and hurt a lot.


The symptoms, which generally occur about two hours after you get bit can include: abdominal pain similar to appendicitis as well as pain to muscles or the soles of the feet.
Other symptoms include alternating salivation and dry-mouth, paralysis of the diaphragm, profuse sweating and swollen eyelids.

There is no first aid treatment available for spider bites. 
It may take several days to recover, but recovery usually occurs without serious complications.

Seek Medical Attention!


What You Should Do

If you ever think that you've been bitten by a black widow spider, tell someone immediately.
 Black widow spider bites rarely kill people, but it's important to get medical attention as soon as you can because they can make you extremely sick.
Wash the bite well with soap and water.
 Then apply an ice pack to the bite to slow down the spread of the spider's venom.
Try to elevate the area and keep it still to help prevent the spread of venom.

If it's possible, catch and bring the spider to the doctor's office with you. Even though it's usually easy to identify black widows, you'll want to make sure that's the kind of spider that bit you.
The spider can be killed first before you bring it with you; 
just be sure not to squish it so much that no one can tell what it is.

The Brown Recluse

 The Brown Recluse is another spider that is poisonous that you must be on the lookout for.

It has long, skinny legs and is about one-half inch long overall. 
Its entire body is brown, except for a dark mark in the shape of a violin on its head. Its poisonous relatives may be gray, orange, reddish-brown, or pale brown.

Brown recluse spiders are most commonly found in Midwestern and Southern states of the U.S. Many cases of bites are reported from Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The edge of its range just reaches the tip of western Virginia, but it occurs rarely in this state.
 The spider commonly lives in basements and garages of houses and often hides behind boards and boxes. They usually hang out in dark places.
 When they are outside, they like to spend time in piles of rocks, wood, or leaves. If they come inside, brown recluse spiders will go to dark closets, attics, or basements. They are non-aggressive and bite only when disturbed.

Bites often occur when the spiders hide in towels or old clothes left in those areas.


What a Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Looks and Feels Like

A person who gets bitten by a brown recluse spider may not notice anything at first or only feel a little sting at first. After about four to eight hours, the sting will start to hurt a little more. It might look like a bruise or might form a blister surrounded by a bluish-purple area that turns black or brown and becomes crusty after a few days.


 If you get bit by a brown recluse spider you may not notice anything at first or only feel a little sting.
 The symptoms generally begin showing up after four to eight hours and the area where you were stung will start to hurt a little more.
It might even look like a bruise or a blister, surrounded by a "bruise" may begin to form.

What You Should Do

If you ever think that you've been bitten by a brown recluse spider, tell somebody immediately.
 Brown recluse spider bites rarely kill people, but it's important to get medical attention as soon as you can because they can make you pretty sick.

Wash the bite well with soap and water.
 You can also apply ice to the area, elevate it, and keep it still. If it's possible catch and bring the spider to the doctor's office with you

- this is important because it can sometimes be hard to diagnose a spider bite correctly.

 The spider can be killed first before you bring it with you; 
just be sure not to squish it so much that no one can tell what it is.


Chiggers are tiny and red
 (most can only be seen with a magnifying glass),
 and they are a type of mite. Mites aren't insects - they are arachnids and part of the same family as spiders, scorpions, and ticks.

As for chiggers, sometimes simply called "red bugs," the sad truth of the matter is that you usually become aware of their presence after the fact. They can bring on miserable itching after piercing the skin, and the virtually invisible insects have a distinct preference for the more private (and sensitive) parts of the body.

Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into the skin, but pierce the skin, 

Chiggers are found all over the place, including in grassy fields, along lakes and streams, and in forests. There are adult chiggers and baby chiggers (called larvae), but only the baby chiggers bother people and animals.

Chiggers have tiny claws that allow them to attach tightly onto people and animals. Once attached, they are able to pierce the skin and inject their saliva, which contains digestive juices that liquify skin cells. The chigger then slurps up the liquefied skin cells. To the chigger, this is a tasty meal! Having a chigger do this is very irritating to your skin. After a few days, the chigger will be done feeding and fall off a person's skin, leaving behind a red welt where it had once been.

What a Chigger Bite Looks and Feels Like

If a person gets bitten by a chigger, the bite will be very itchy. A chigger bite will cause a tiny red bump, which will get bigger and itchier as time goes on.

What You Should Do

If you think you've been bitten by a chigger, wash the bite with soap and water. Put on some calamine lotion or cool compresses to help with the itching, or use an anti-itch cream or medicine.

To help with the sting or itching from a bite.
 Sting Eze, Afterbite, Lanacane, Campho-phenique
 or something similar to these.

 Try not to scratch the bites too much, because this can make the bites become infected.

How to Avoid Getting Bitten

The best way to avoid getting bitten by a chigger is to wear an insect repellent.

 Insect repellent containing "deet" (diethyltoluamide) is effective in reducing attractiveness of your body for chigger feeding. For maximum effectiveness, repellents should be applied to shoes, socks, pant cuffs, ankles and legs, and around the waist. To relieve itching of chigger bites, over-the-counter lotions and ointments may be helpful. The "painting" of bites with clear nail polish to destroy the chigger is probably not effective. By the time the bite itches, the chigger has already fed and dropped off.

When it's possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, especially if you'll be hiking or playing in fields.

Once you come in from being in an outdoor area that may have chiggers, take a hot shower and use plenty of soap. Also, be sure to wash your clothes in hot water to kill any chiggers that might be living there.

You can check out whether an area is infested with chiggers by using a simple technique.
 Six-inch squares of black paper placed vertically in the grass will become covered with chiggers if they are present.

Because several hours elapse before chiggers settle down to bite, bathing soon after exposure to chigger-infested areas may wash chiggers off your body and prevent feeding.
 Clothing also should be washed to prevent reinfestation. 

The most suitable breeding areas of chigger mites are among weeds and thick vegetation are where there is an abundance of moisture and shade.

 Outdoor areas where chiggers are known to be a problem can be sprayed with an appropriate insecticide labeled for chigger control. Sprays should be made on grass, ground litter and soil, and shrubbery when chiggers start to become a problem in June and July.
Be sure to follow label directions of any repellents or insecticides that are used.

The tiny larval chigger mites do not present a real medical health concern, 
but they can make enjoyable outdoor outings into an unpleasant experience that lasts several weeks.
Many people have found that chigger bites are the most irritating and long-lasting bites by summer arthropod pests.


Ticks are no bigger than the size of a pinhead, and therefore, very difficult to spot.

Besides just being yucky, certain species of tick carry Lyme disease. When outdoors, prevention is the best measure: wear hats, cover exposed areas of skin with long clothes; use a repellent, such as those used on the skin containing DEET are considered to be the most effective in repelling ticks. Permethrin repellents/insecticides are designed to be applied directly to clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and any surface other than skin. It actually kills ticks and mosquitoes on contact, lasts up to 14 days and won't wash off in water.

 Avoid walking through tall grass or brush.
Ticks crawl, they do not fly or jump.
They crawl to the top of grass or another upright object and wait for you to brush up against it and then lock on for a ride. Walking in the middle of the trail will help you avoid these hitchhikers.
 If you are going to wander in grassy areas, be sure to wear long pants. If you must wear shorts, hiking boots, socks and insect repellents are the only way to go.

Perform routine inspections to check for ticks.
 If you find one, remove promptly.

To avoid exposure to ticks, stay on the trails and avoid grassy, brushy areas.

 Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be seen. Wear long sleeve shirts and tuck shirts into pants and pant legs into socks. Wear a hat. Do not wear shorts on the trails.
Check yourself for ticks or have someone else check for you.
These little creepy crawlies generally wander around for two hours before they figure out where they want to bite you, so if you check yourself over every hour or so, you might be able to get rid of it, before it gets you.
For some reason, ticks tend to wander upward, so be sure to check your hair and other warm places that they might be hiding.

Finding and removing a tick early (within 36 hours) is key to the prevention of Lyme disease.

Of the 840 known tick species, 100 of them transmit infections through their saliva. To prevent further saliva being released, once they bite, do not twist or squeeze. Grip as close as possible to the head and slowly pull it away from the skin. Tick Pliers or tweezers make it easier to grip and extract the tick without squeezing or cutting the tick's body.

As a last resort, if you are having trouble, and to make the tick uncomfortable use a heated paper clip, alcohol, acetone, oil, or swab a pesticide such as permethrin directly to the upper and lower surfaces of the tick. This will cause it to relax, making it easier to remove.

Wash with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. Preserve the tick in a vial or polybag for analysis (alive) in case disease symptoms appear.

 Do not use Vaseline.
 It will kill the tick and cause more harm. 

 do not squeeze the body of the tick,
it can cause all the infected material of the tick to enter into your skin. 
Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and use a disinfectant. You should have any tick bite checked by a doctor, but you should definitely have a doctor check out the bite if a rash of more than one inch wide appears at the site of the bite. This is a sign of Lyme disease. If you have flu-like symptoms up to a month after being bitten by a tick, call your doctor, you could have ehrlichiosis, another serious, potentially fatal,  tick-borne disease that can be treated with antibiotics.

Don't forget to check your pets for ticks also. 
You can get a Lyme disease vaccine for your dogs, but they have not yet developed one for cats.

Be sure to use a flea and tick control medication or a flea and tick collar also. 

An item we picked up at Wal-Mart that works GREAT for us.

APPROX $3.25

Click for enlarged image

The simple, gentle action of the patented design insures the complete removal of Ticks for both people and animals.

* The spring loaded claw securely holds the Tick and a gentle turning action will easily and safely remove it.
* Ends messy dangerous tick removal

Deer ticks are the pinhead-sized transmitters of Lyme disease, in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. This disease causes fever, flu-like symptoms, a target-shaped rash where it bit, and soreness and swelling, particularly in the joints.

Lone Star ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and is found in all parts of the US. This disease causes headache, fever, severe muscle ache and a rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet that spreads to other parts of the body.

For more information on Lyme disease
visit the American Lyme Disease Foundation Website.

And last, but certainly not least, 
before you set up that tent, 
be sure to check the ground where you're going to put it. 

Ants nest in the ground, and if you put your tent on top of their hill, they're going to come on in and join you in yours until you move it so they can get to theirs.

Fire Ants

Fire ants fall into a class all by themselves, and across an increasingly wide area of the warmer parts of the country they have become a fact of life.
Never pitch a tent or set up camp where their mounds are visible, and in areas where they are really prevalent, exercise great caution.
Small children, in particular, can get into an ant mound and be bitten many times in seconds.

Fire ants are so called because their venom, injected by a stinger like a wasp's, creates a burning sensation. They are also active and aggressive, swarming over anyone or anything that disturbs their nest, be it wild animals, domestic animals, pets or people. An encounter with a fire ant nest can leave a lasting memory of burning pain, followed by tiny, itching pustules.

Because of this, and occasional stories of animals or people killed by multiple stings, people fear fire ants. In some areas infested with certain species of fire ants, playgrounds, parks, and picnic areas lie abandoned, unused because of the presence of fire ants. In campsites of state and national parks in fire ant infested areas, it is often difficult to put up or take down a tent without being stung by angry fire ants.

The red fire ant is now found throughout most of the southeastern United States and west into Texas.

The black fire ant is very similar to the red imported fire ant
 It is currently limited to a small area of northern Mississippi and Alabama.


Dealing with devilish insects and trouble-making creatures is a fact of camping life.
Awareness is your finest ally and anticipating problems will help you avoid most of them, as well as leaving you prepared to deal with them when they do occur.

If you are not sure what is causing bites,
or need information on biting pests found in your area,
 visit here.
If you are concerned about the bite or possible infection,
always contact your physician.

There is one more thing 
that can bring discomfort to your camping experience . . .

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