Friday, August 23, 2013

How to avoid bugs when day hiking with children

To avoid bugs such as pesky mosquitoes, change the time and location
of your hike.
Mosquitoes, gnats, black flies…such little creatures can prove to be a great annoyance when day hiking, especially with children. Sometimes even insect repellent doesn’t help, mainly because after a mile or two of sweating, it runs off.

Hiking at the right time and the right places, however, almost always can ensure that bugs won’t bother you.

Opt to hike during these times:
g Early spring August through October – Bug populations peak in May and June.
g After lunch – This can help you avoid a couple of the more annoying insects as black flies like to be out during the morning while mosquitoes prefer dusk.
g Breezy days – Most bugs have difficulty flying when winds exceed 5 mph, so they won’t be out to bother you.
g Cooler days – Insects will be less active when the temperature is below 60 F, though you may need a sweatshirt.

Opt to hike in these locations:
g Dry areas – Bugs often lay their eggs in wet areas, so they’ll be more abundant near waterways, pools and wetlands.
g Sunny areas – Insects generally like shade, so a trail open to the sun means fewer of them. Don’t forget your sunscreen, though.

One last tip to avoid bugs: Don’t wear fragrances. The sweet, flowery scents attract bugs. Instead, use unscented deodorant or hair products before heading out onto a trail.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.