Love to Camp, but Hate the Ants?

 

When we were kids, my sister and I went camping at girl's camp with Mom nearly every summer. While sometimes the camp site included cabins, most times it did not. The organizers of the girl's camp wanted all of us to experience camping in the raw, with no amenities. We learned to chop and haul our own firewood, kindle fires with kindling, igniting it with flint and steel wool, cook over open fires with Dutch ovens and iron skillets, set up and maintain tents, and sleep in the quiet of the woods while trying to outguess the next move of the insects, pests, and critters of the wild.

As a bug repellent, Mom insisted that we use a then-new product sold by Avon called Skin So Soft moisturizing body oil. Although sold as a body oil, Moms everywhere soon learned the added benefit of the natural insect repellent properties of the product. We slathered it on everywhere when we went camping and it kept the bugs and mosquitoes from biting. Soon, we found that it also repelled ants and Mom poured it into a spray bottle container and, while setting up camp, we sprayed the stuff everywhere.

Do you love to camp, but hate the ants? If so, here are some more tips for keeping ants away from your campsite, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors without the ants annoying and biting you:

  • Ants love food, so it's best to set up one small tent just for food. Do not keep food in your sleeping quarters, because you're just inviting them to share your sleeping bag if you do.
  • While setting up camp, use water and vinegar to keep ants away. Pour equal parts of each into a spray bottle, then spray anthills and the perimeter of your campsite with the solution. Ants hate the smell of vinegar, and will not cross a vinegar path.
  • If you find that ants have invaded your campsite despite your best efforts, use vinegar full strength over their hills and around your tents and campsite.
  • When eating your s'mores around the campfire, if you discover the ants want a piece of the action, climbing your legs and arms to get at the marshmallows, put on a hefty dose of canola oil, Skin So Soft, or Off! Insect Repellent. The canola oil will act as a barrier to the ants climbing your frame, while the insect repellents create a scent the ants can't stand.

The most important thing to remember about ants is that they want your food, so make it nearly impossible for them to get at it. Don't leave crumbs after eating. Take a book with you and sweep the dirt around your tents and campsite. If possible, use lake or creek water to wet the areas where you've had food.

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