This happens every year: The snow melts and our excitement for summer adventures and longer days builds after a long, cold winter.
But then we are reminded of a small nuisance that can negatively alter the outdoor experience:
Mosquitoes. Black flies. No-see-ums. Ticks. And more.
Regardless of your tolerance levels, insects and the outdoors go hand in hand. Fortunately, there are ways to redirect their attention and keep our sanity in check. Let’s discuss a few options.
Forget Fashion and Cover Up
Beyond remaining indoors, the first - and arguably best - option is to cover up with long sleeve shirts, pants and high socks. Light coloured clothes are the better choice to deflect bugs and make it easier to see the ones that can’t resist you. If the bugs are really bad, a hat with bug netting - or perhaps a full bug net outfit will do wonders. This is particularly helpful during more stationary outings such as gardening or trail maintenance.
There are a variety of bug repellent sprays and wipes to help keep your hikes free of spastic swatting. Bug repellent with 30% DEET are among the most effective, and especially key when deep in the woods. There are also several essential oils that claim to repel bugs such as Lemon Eucalyptus, Lavender and Melissa oil.
Mind Your Step
In the case of ticks, where you venture is important. Your chances of a tick latching on to you lessen when you stick to the middle of the trail and avoid tall grass and brush. It is rare to see ticks in the woods yet they are masters of locating you. There is nothing quite like the feeling of relaxing after an outdoor excursion - and then you catch a glimpse of a tick crawling out of your sleeve. This brings us to the next tip.
What to Do AFTER Your Adventure
It’s good practice to change your clothes and inspect your entire body for ticks, post-adventure. If you’re concerned there may be ticks amongst your clothes, you can run your clothes in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 6 minutes to kill them.
When all else fails, it’s key to remind ourselves of the vital role that insects play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Except for ticks. They can go away.
Ticks were hanging out on this stair post, waiting to hitch a ride, along the Fundy Footpath.