Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to start hibernating! Fall is one of Canada’s best seasons, with the cooling temperatures, beautifully coloured foliage, and crisp autumn air. Whether you’re at the cottage, on a family camping trip, or just hanging out in the backyard, don’t be afraid to get outside and enjoy yourself before old man winter puts a stopper in your fun! Before heading out on your next family adventure, make sure you are prepared for the bug battle you will inevitably encounter. Many people forget that mosquitos, ticks, and wasps are just as dangerous at the end of summer as they are at the start, so you will still need to take precautionary measures to protect yourself. Below are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe and bug-free right through the fall.
Time is of the essence
When you are planning your outdoor fun, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your watch. Mosquitos and ticks are most active when the sun is weak, at dawn and dusk, or on poor weather days. Wasps, on the other hand, love nice sunny weather and are most active during daylight hours, especially during the middle of the day when the temperature is at its peak. Try scheduling your outdoor fun between 8 am–12 pm and 4 pm–6 pm if you have an allergy to wasps, hornets, or other members of the bee family, or if you have noticed any hanging around. If you’re only worried about mosquitos, anytime between 8 am–6pm should be safe. If you’re heading out for some star gazing, or a nighttime hike, make sure the sun has completely set to ensure the majority of mosquitos have gone to slumber. If you venture out during peak mosquito hours, just be sure to limit your time outdoors, and follow the below tips.
Dress to impress
No matter when you are outside, one of the best ways to deter bugs is to use your clothing as defense. Light coloured, loose fitting clothing are most effective against mosquitos. When it comes to ticks, the best method is coverage; pants, long-sleeve shirts, socks, hats, the more the merrier. Unfortunately, there is no trick when it comes to wasps, they can sting through almost anything. Now comes the hard part: keeping your face protected. Sure, you can put on as many sweaters and socks as the weather permits, but aside from a hat, nothing can stop the bugs from taking a nice big bite out of the middle of your forehead. That is, unless you have a head net. When it comes to your family’s health, safety becomes the real fashion accessory. Ben’s UltraNet has optimum visibility, is roomy enough to still wear your favourite hat, and hooks on under your arms so you don’t have to worry about the kids fidgeting with something around their necks. It’s also a great way to stay safe from wasp stings, which is especially important when it comes to the head and neck.
A layer of spray keeps the bugs away
Get your spray on! After you’ve got your bug-off outfit on, it’s time to give yourself a once over with your handy can of bug spray. And don’t worry, you don’t have to coat yourself in DEET anymore, there are plenty of safe alternatives that can effectively keep the bugs at bay. Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent is 100% DEET free and lasts for up to six hours. It’s plant based, so you can feel good using it on the whole family. Even the active ingredient, Citriodiol, is derived from lemon eucalyptus trees. If you’re outside for long periods of time, or are exercising enough to work up a sweat, don’t forget to reapply!
Location, location, location
Bugs, especially mosquitos and ticks, love moisture. If your cottage or campsite is near water or a forest, your chances of being bitten increases. While ticks can often be found in long grass, or areas with tree cover, mosquitos are found near still water, where breed in large numbers. The best way to protect yourself is to drain and remove any still water, including rain barrels, bird baths, and even dog bowls to ensure mosquitoes won’t have a place to mate. Cut back long grass and overgrown trees to keep all your walking paths clear of ticks. If a mosquito still happens to break through all of you protective walls (clothes, spray, etc.), just apply some After Bite immediately, to help soothe the itch and keep the bite from swelling. There is even After Bite for kids, which contains natural healing ingredients for sensitive skin, and is fast acting to help you avoid tears, tantrums, and whining. A happy kid equals a happy parent!
Knowledge of bugs is power
To help keep your family safe, you should always stay informed about recent disease developments and methods of prevention. Mosquitos put you at risk for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and in some areas, even the Zika Virus. Ticks can also transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease. Keep yourself safe by using all the safety measures listed above.
It also helps to carry a first-aid kit in case of emergencies. This Ultralite and Watertight Medical Kit is perfect for camping, hiking, or even just to keep at home or in the cottage. It has all the necessities for family life, including antiseptic wipes, bandages, and topical adhesive.
As a parent, your best form of defense against wasps and other flying stingers is to find the nests and remove them at night (when the inhabitants are drowsiest) to ensure they don’t multiply or decide to crash your backyard birthday party. They are drawn to sugar and high-protein snacks, which makes even an outdoor picnic dangerous. Always be sure to carry allergy medication if you or your kids have a strong reaction. If you are concerned about a severe reaction, be sure to have an EPIPEN on hand for life threatening situation.
These tips are easy to follow, and certainly won’t get in the way of family time. Protecting yourself and staying safe from disease and allergic reactions means you’ll have more time for fun!
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