How To Keep Bugs Away: 21 Tips for Outdoor Bliss

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Here is a comprehensive guide to tackling the age-old bug nuisance during camping and outdoor activities. This article is designed to provide a wealth of information on how to keep bugs away, so you can enjoy the great outdoors without interruptions.

The list has been carefully curated by researching various sources, such as experts in the field of entomology, outdoor enthusiasts, and scientific studies. We have looked at many methods, from traditional techniques to modern innovations, to provide you with a comprehensive list of ways to keep bugs away.

When it comes to outdoor activities, bugs can be a major annoyance. From mosquitoes and flies to ants and bees, these tiny creatures can quickly ruin a camping trip or a picnic in the park. Bugs not only cause discomfort but also pose health risks, as some bugs are known to transmit diseases.

But, with the proper knowledge and preparation, you can keep bugs away and enjoy the great outdoors without interruption. 

Remember, there’s no one way of keeping bugs away, but using a combination of these measures will put you on track to a bug-free outdoor experience.

Also, always follow the label for safety and optimal results, and consider your own situation (sensitive skin, kids, pets, etc.) when selecting a bug control method or product.

1. Insect Repellent Sprays and Creams

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Keep pesky bugs at bay with insect-repellent sprays and creams that use a potent combination of chemicals and essential oils to create a barrier of protection against mosquitoes and other insects.

The most common active ingredient is DEET, but other chemical and natural options are also available. So you can choose the one that best suits your needs. 

Whether camping in the woods, enjoying a day at the beach, or simply lounging in your backyard, insect repellent is a must-have item to keep the bugs away and allow you to enjoy the great outdoors without interruption.

PRO ADVISE: Make sure that your bug spray or cream is waterproof.

2. Wearable Inspect Repellent

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Wearable bug repellents offer a convenient and effective solution to keep bugs away. They can be worn on the wrist or ankle without the indeed for constant reapplication. They are also great for children who are not so keen on being sprayed with traditional repellents. It also reduces the chances of accidental insect-repellent ingestion.

3. Avoid Standing Water

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Escape the swarms of bugs and enjoy the great outdoors by selecting a camping location farther away from sources of standing water, like ponds, lakes, or marshes. 

These bodies of water act as breeding grounds for insect larvae, so avoiding them will reduce your chances of encountering irritating bugs. Instead, try camping in higher elevations or areas with good airflow, like near running water, to create a bug-free oasis for you to enjoy.

The gentle breeze and the sound of running water will add to the ambiance and make your camping experience even more enjoyable. 

4. Permethrin

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Permethrin, a synthetic chemical, is the ultimate solution for a bug-free camping experience. It is an insecticide commonly used to treat clothing, gear, tents, sleeping bags, and bed nets to protect against bugs. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s also safe for humans and pets (except for cats) when used as directed. Permethrin should be used with care. Always follow the instructions on the label. 

5. Have a Campfire

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Light up a campfire and watch as the smoke and heat create a bug-free zone for your enjoyment. The smoke from the fire contains certain chemicals that act as an all-natural insect repellent. So while the fire crackles and the smoke rises, you’ll be surrounded by the soothing atmosphere of the outdoors while keeping the bugs far away. Check out our article on the best way to build a fire.  

6. Candles and Tiki Torches

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Make your outdoor space bug-free with the power of natural citronella oil. Candles and tiki torches containing this oil emit a strong, distinct scent known to repel bugs, particularly mosquitoes. As the oil is burned, it releases its powerful scent into the air, creating a barrier that bugs can’t stand. So light up a citronella candle or torch and enjoy the great outdoors without any bug-related interruptions.

PRO ADVISE: Never put citronella candles inside your tent.

7. Bug Repellent Incense Sticks

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Elevate your outdoor experience and keep bugs at bay with the convenience of bug-repellent incense sticks. These incense sticks are a popular and easy-to-use option for outdoor activities such as camping, picnics, and backyard gatherings. Light the incense stick, place it in a holder and let the magic happen.

8. Bug Repellent Coils

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These powerful coils release a combination of chemicals into the air when lit, creating a cloud of smoke that repels many insects. The primary active ingredient, pyrethrin derived from chrysanthemum flowers, is toxic to bugs and, when combined with other ingredients such as citronella oil, provides an even more effective barrier against bugs.

PRO ADVISE: Mosquito coils almost look like toys to young kids, so keep them out of reach of children and use them according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent potential health hazards or accidental fires.

9. Lanterns

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Mosquito lanterns are an excellent solution for a bug-free experience. These lanterns use a combination of light, heat and scent to repel mosquitoes and other insects. Place it near your camping area or tent, or hang it from a nearby tree to create a barrier of protection around your outdoor area, for a comfortable and peaceful open air experience.

10. Red light

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Unlike white or blue light, bugs are less attracted to red light, making it the perfect solution for cooking in low-light conditions. So, next time you’re out in the wilderness, pack a red light and enjoy a bug-free meal under the stars.

11. Herbs

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Throw a bundle of sage on the campfire for a natural and pleasant scent that repels mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Or crush the leaves and rub them on your skin or clothing for added protection. You can also make a natural homemade bug repellent spray by mixing crushed herbs and sage with water and essential oils. 

12. Use Food to Repel Bugs

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Food can be your best friend in the wild. Use citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges to keep bugs at bay. Their natural citronella compounds repel insects. 

Garlic, mint, and basil are natural insect repellents, crush them and rub them on your skin or add them to your meals. Not only will you be keeping the bugs away, but you’ll also be treating your taste buds to delicious and healthy options.

13. Essential Oils

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Oils such as citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus contain compounds that insects find unappealing. Whether you apply the oils directly to your skin, use a bug spray containing them, or diffuse them around your site, you’ll create a barrier against bugs. You can also make your own bug repellent by mixing essential oils with water and vinegar in a spray bottle. But remember, these oils can be potent. Always test them on a small area before using them widely to avoid skin irritation or allergic reactions.

14. Insect Foggers

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These portable devices use a powerful spray to create a mist of insecticide that fills the air, effectively killing or repelling a wide range of flying and crawling insects. Not only do they provide quick and easy relief from bugs, but they also offer long-lasting protection to keep campsites and outdoor areas bug-free for hours.

​​15. Cartridge Bug Repellents

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These convenient and effective devices use a combination of heat and a specially formulated repellent to create a barrier of protection around your camping area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use and storage of the device and the cartridges, and enjoy a more comfortable and bug-free outdoor experience.

16. Close Doors and Windows

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Don’t let bugs ruin your peaceful indoor retreat! While it may seem like a no-brainer, bugs can be sneaky and may still find a way to get in through cracks, tears, or other openings in the screens or mesh. So don’t let these small openings be the weak point in your bug-proof barrier. Instead, take the time to check and fix any gaps to ensure that bugs can’t get inside.

17. Fragrance-Free Hygiene Products

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Elevate your bug-fighting strategy by going fragrance-free! Certain scents can attract insects and make you more susceptible to bug bites. So avoid using scented products, like perfumes, or lotions, when spending time outdoors and opt for fragrance-free alternatives to reduce your chances of attracting bugs. 

18. Clean Campsite

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Unlock the full potential of your camping experience by ensuring your campsite is spick and span. A clean campsite is not only visually pleasing, but it also keeps bugs at bay. Remove food scraps, and store your food in airtight containers to prevent bugs from getting at it by minimizing any food odours. 

Properly dispose of trash. Bugs like flies and mosquitoes are attracted to rotting organic material. Spilled drinks and food can also attract bugs, but quickly cleaning up spills can prevent bugs from making a beeline for your campsite.

19. Screen Shelters

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Imagine a camping trip where bugs are not a concern, and you can relax, eat and sleep in peace, free from the annoyance of mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects. This dream can become a reality with a bug tent or screen shelter. These structures provide a barrier of protection against bugs while allowing the breeze to flow through, creating a comfortable and relaxing environment. 

20. Cover Up

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Be mindful of what you wear. For example, avoid wearing bright colours or floral patterns that can attract bugs and instead opt for neutral tones. Cover up exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts and pants. Use a head net worn over a hat or hood to protect your face and head from bugs. And opt for loose-fitting clothing, as bugs can more easily bite through tight clothing. 

PRO ADVISE: When hiking in dense woods, tuck your pant legs into your socks and boots

21. Stay on The Trail

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Trails are generally cleared of tall grasses and weeds, providing fewer hiding spots for bugs. These areas are also less likely to have underbrush and trees, which can provide shade and shelter for bugs. Also, paths are often located in areas with good airflow, making it more difficult for bugs to fly near you. 


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This innovative, entertaining and easy-to-use device is an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pest control methods. It uses a spring-loaded mechanism to shoot a fine mist of salt at flying insects, making it a unique and engaging way to eradicate bugs. It’s also relatively safe and can be a fun activity for friends and family to participate in.

What to do next for How to Keep Bugs Away? 

Now that you have a wealth of knowledge on how to keep bugs away, it’s time to put it into action. Whether planning a camping trip, a picnic in the park, or just enjoying your backyard, use the tips and tricks outlined in this article to keep bugs at bay and make the most of your outdoor experience. With the proper preparation and knowledge, you can enjoy the great outdoors without interruptions. Happy bug-free adventures!


What types of bugs are commonly encountered while camping?

The most common types of bugs encountered while camping are mosquitoes, ticks, flies, ants, bees, wasps, and spiders.

How can I keep flies away from my campsite?

To keep flies away, keep your campsite clean and free of food scraps and garbage. You can also use a fly trap or citronella candles.

How can I protect myself from bees and wasps while camping?

To protect yourself from bees and wasps, avoid wearing brightly coloured or floral clothing and perfume, and cover sweet foods and drinks. If a bee or wasp comes near you, stay calm, still, and slowly move away.

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Meet AJ Yarwood, the outdoor enthusiast and the Creative Director of, dedicated to sharing unforgettable outdoor experiences with a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step. Join him as he navigates the wonders of nature, from towering peaks to hidden trails, sharing a treasure trove of tips and tricks along the way!