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5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Biting Bugs

Posted by 
June 13, 2014
1332   Comment

5WaysProtectBitingBugs blogThere's nothing that makes the blood boil more than the relentless annoyance of biting bugs. Whether it is mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, horse flies or the dangerous deer tick, adequately preparing for your time outdoors can lessen your chances of getting bit.

Carry a ThermaCELL

Last year was my first for giving the ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Unit a go. Spending a lot of time in the deep woods, whether for photo assignments or tagging along on hunts, I needed some extra protection from the rabid flocks of mosquitoes I would often encounter. This unit seems like the real deal.

Creating a 15-by-15-foot invisible and odorless zone, mosquitoes will keep their distance when the unit is running. I wear the holster accessory, which allows me to conveniently keep it clipped to my belt.

Always carry spare butane cartridges and mats. If spending a long day in the outdoors, you can go through them quickly.

Head Wear

Many biting bugs, especially black flies, will target the back of the neck and ears. A remedy is a ball cap with a back neck flap.

I keep one of these in the boat and back of the truck at all times. It works wonders for keeping the bugs at bay. For increased effectiveness, give the cap a spray of an insect repellent containing DEET — both at the onset of heading outdoors and periodically throughout the day.

Cover Up

Just the other day I was out in the woods photographing owl chicks. The bugs were bad and I was covered head to toe in protective clothing. Along came a couple — her in a sun dress and him in shorts and a t-shirt. All I could do was shake my head.

Wearing long sleeves and pants is a necessary precaution that all should take. This is especially true when deer ticks may be present. The less skin that is visible, the less likelihood of getting bit. Of course, some bugs can bite through clothing. For this reason, I douse all garments in a fine spray of insect repellent for added insurance.

Bug Jacket and Head Net

On those super hot days, when wearing long sleeves is akin to sitting in a sauna, a fine mesh bug jacket is the cure. I've found it is best not to skimp on these, as some of the cheaper versions are not made with mesh fine enough to keep bugs at bay.

Same goes for the head net. I always carry one tucked in a pocket for those times when bugs get overbearing. They have been a life saver a few times.

Bug Juice

It goes without saying that insect repellent is your best defencs against biting bugs. To ensure adequate protection, make sure that the spray or lotion you apply contains DEET. This chemical is proven to work best and is necessary in order to repel deer ticks.

Insect repellents will only last for a set amount of hours. Reapplication throughout the day will ensure you will be fully protected.

Don't let biting bugs keep you indoors this season. Follow these tips and you'll succeed at keeping the bugs at bay.

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Justin Hoffman

Justin Hoffman is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer, with a fishing specialty, based in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. A graduate of the North American School of Outdoor Writing and currently a field editor with Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine, outdoor pursuits with a journalistic approach keep him returning to the field week after week. A well-established freelance writer since 1999, Justin has publishing credits in many North American magazines and web sites. His photographic stock work also appears regularly. In addition to his writing and photography work, Justin is also a Pro Staffer for TUFF-Line and National Pro Staff. For more information visit

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