Pest-Proof Your Camping Trip

tent in desert at night

There’s nothing quite like a weekend camping trip to unplug and experience the great outdoors – but sometimes that means you’re putting yourself at risk of some up close and personal encounters with pests.

If spiders in your tent, swarms of gnats around your lantern, or a fleet of mosquitoes are making it hard to enjoy your escape, make sure you know what steps to take to pest-proof your next camping trip.

What Outdoor Pests are Common in Arizona?

There are a number of pests that are native to the Arizona desert climate. When you go camping, you're invading the natural habitat of these critters, so it's important to be aware of what might be lurking in the environment around you. 

In the East Valley, the pests that can interrupt your time around the campfire aren't completely different from those that might startle you in your home, including:

  • Cockroaches
  • Ants
  • Rodents
  • Scorpions
  • & More

There are also wildlife threats that might not be as likely to affect you in a suburban neighborhood, such as:

  • Lizards
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes

Some of these animals may pose a risk to your health, while others may just be a nuisance or give you a scare if you're not expecting them. It's important to be vigilant whenever you're exploring the wilderness of Arizona!

What Can I Do to Prevent Pest Encounters on a Camping Trip? 

Pick Your Site Wisely

Don’t forget that when you’re camping, you’re spending time in pests’ natural habitat. Things like low-hanging trees or abundant plant life can be home to a number of insects that might find their way into your tent at night. Low branches may be holding up spiderwebs, grassy areas may be harboring rodents.

Here in Arizona, it’s always a good idea to be extremely careful when resting on or moving rocks or campfire logs, as those make good hiding spots for scorpions.

Pests also love moisture. Be wary of low-lying, marshy campsites or ones that sit near a body of still water to minimize your chances of running into pests.

Don’t Pack your Perfume

Insects are attracted to scents, so perfumes, colognes, and even deodorants can draw the bugs to you.

With all the fresh air around you, you likely won’t need it – but if you’re committed to smelling good, scents like lemon eucalyptus or lavender oil are natural repellents for some insects.

Store Your Food

Not only can improperly storing your food be a draw for larger animals, like bears or raccoons, but it can also attract bugs and rodents to your campsite. Not to mention that the presence of smaller pests or flying insects can be a draw for carnivorous pests like spiders.

Make sure you don’t leave food sitting out on picnic tables or on the ground, and ensure that your trash can lid is snug. Wipe down eating areas and clean up after each meal. Keep food sealed in plastic containers, and store them at least ten feet from your tent.

Screen Your Callers

For down time at the campsite, set up mosquito nets or camping screens to keep pests away from your family.

It’s also a good idea to keep the doors of your tent zipped up except when you’re exiting or entering to keep flying insects out. Since most flying bugs are attracted to light, some experts recommend unzipping the corner of the tent and placing your lantern or flashlight outside on the ground, as far as you can reach, before trying to leave your tent at night.

Spotting a few pests while you’re out experiencing the great outdoors might not be too troubling – but nobody likes getting surprised by the great outdoors inside their home!

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