How to Deal With Mosquitoes on Your Outdoor Adventures

From handy products to natural DIY recipes, here's how to protect yourself from these annoying pests.

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There’s nothing like a summer camping trip. It’s a chance to recharge and go hiking, build a fire, sleep in tents and take in the sounds and smells of nature. But you know what’s not peaceful? Getting bitten by mosquitoes.



mosquito drinks blood out of man

Photo by: PitiyaO


Unless you’re traveling to Antarctica, the only continent where these pests don’t live, you’ll probably have to deal with mosquitoes this summer. Whether you’re doing a cross-country camping trip or hanging out in your own backyard, here’s how to make sure those flies don’t bother you.

One of the simpler ways to keep bugs away from your skin while camping or doing outdoor activities is through barrier methods. Whether you’re hanging out in a hammock or tent camping, nets block mosquitoes from your skin.

An even more simple barrier method solution – wear pants and long sleeves whenever possible, leaving little skin exposed for mosquitoes to bite.

If you’ll be set up in one location for a while, Thermacell Skeeter Reliever Lanterns provide a 15 ft. x 15 ft. area of coverage and effectively does the job of keeping bugs away.

With all of the candles, sprays, lotions and more, it’s difficult to know which products will be effective. The most proven bug sprays tend to use some concentration of DEET, a pesticide geared towards protecting you from all sorts of bugs. For safety purposes, if using a DEET-based spray you should use concentrations of 50 percent or less, avoid spraying skin that will be covered by clothing and wash your skin after coming back inside.

If you’re hesitant to use store-bought sprays, we have some ideas for DIY alternatives that contain herbs or essential oils, which naturally repel mosquitoes.


Diy citronella candles, diy bug repellant

Diy citronella candles, diy bug repellant

©Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Store-bought citronella candles can work, but only if they’re the real deal. Read the labels carefully; candles labeled “citronella scented” might be scented synthetically, containing none of the natural citronella oil extracted from a plant related to lemongrass needed to do the job. Note that even homemade candles only reach a small radius and aren’t as effective when it’s windy. Learn how to make your own citronella candles that have all of the essential ingredients.

Bug-Repelling Herb Bundles

Burn the bundles

Burn the bundles

Burn the bundles

Perfect for camping, herb bundles are another natural way to make sure mosquitoes don’t show up to your outdoor summer gatherings. Collect mosquito-repelling herbs like lavender, sage and mint, tie them with string and place them in the campfire.

DIY Bug Spray

DIY Bug Spray

DIY Bug Spray

DIY Bug Spray

Photo by: Photo by Debbie Wolfe

Photo by Debbie Wolfe

If you’ll be on the go, a DIY bug spray is a good option. Combine witch hazel and distilled water with bug-repelling essential oils like rosemary, thyme, mint, cedar, lavender, catnip, citronella, tea tree and lemongrass. Get the full how-to on our sister site,

DIY Lotion Bars

DIY Bug Repellent 01:25

Keep insects away on your travels with this all-natural bug repellent.

DIY lotion bars are perfect for traveling. The tin containers are easy to pop in a backpack. Plus, if traveling by plane, you won’t have to worry about how many liquid ounces you’re bringing like you would with a bug spray. While a variety of oils repel mosquitoes, you can adjust drops as desired.

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