Pro­tect your­self

Go! Camp & Drive - - CAMP BOFFIN -

If you’re a fre­quent trav­eller you’ll know that you’re of­ten re­quired to get an anti-malaria shot to be al­lowed into cer­tain coun­tries. Be­cause mos­qui­toes mostly feed be­tween sun­set and sun­rise, there’s a good chance that you’ll have fe­males in the air around your camp­site or in your tent dur­ing and be­tween th­ese hours – though they are day biters as well.

It’s a good idea to wear trousers and long-sleeve shirts when you’re in the great out­doors and are un­sure of the malaria risk. Or if you just don’t like the an­noy­ing buzz of a mosquito. But avoid colours that are go­ing to stand out, like red and blue and even black – rather go with white or neu­tral colours. Along with their sense of smell and chem­i­cal re­cep­tors, mos­qui­toes also use vi­sion to fig­ure out where to bite.

An­other solid op­tion is a good old mosquito net. Ob­vi­ously you’ll have to be cer­tain that the area you’re cov­er­ing, be that a bed or your even­ing chill spot un­der the gazebo, hasn’t al­ready been con­tam­i­nated. Of course, there are also a num­ber of mosquito re­pel­lents and bite balms avail­able on the mar­ket, like cit­ronella oil and can­dles, lemon eu­ca­lyp­tus leaf ex­tracts, lo­tions, sprays and wrist­bands that thank­fully can also fit around an­kles. You even get mosquito-re­pelling soap. Some of th­ese con­tain di­ethyl­tolu­amide and icaridin, which in­ter­feres with the mosquito’s abil­ity to de­tect your chem­i­cal emis­sions.

If your camp­site has elec­tric­ity, con­sider a plug-in de­vice that uses a pyrethroid as a key in­gre­di­ent – the ones with the screw-in re­fills. Or your reg­u­lar sprays such as Doom or Raid from the su­per­mar­ket. Mosquito coils also con­tain a pyrethroid and don’t re­quire elec­tric­ity. They come with handy metal sup­port stands used to keep the coil off any sur­face that can ig­nite and can burn for a few hours.

It’s im­por­tant to note that pyrethroids are toxic to not only mos­qui­toes but also ants, cock­roaches and spi­ders. That may sound at­trac­tive to the pet­ri­fied campers, but pyrethroids also kill ben­e­fi­cial in­sects such as hon­ey­bees (which are highly en­dan­gered). Ac­cord­ing to Dr Pia Ad­di­son, a re­searcher and se­nior lec­turer at the Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity’s Con­ser­va­tion Ecol­ogy and En­to­mol­ogy depart­ment who works in the field of pest man­age­ment, there’s no defini­tive proof that pyrethroids are dan­ger­ous when hu­mans are ex­posed to it over a long pe­riod.

“There’s a rea­son that pyrethroids are in the ma­jor­ity of house­hold bug killers and that’s be­cause they do have a rather low level of mam­malian tox­i­c­ity. The long-term ef­fects in a hu­man be­ing would be very dif­fi­cult to mea­sure.

“I find the safest so­lu­tion to be me­chan­i­cal ex­clu­sion – cov­er­ing up any ex­posed skin. And if you’re go­ing to be in a malaria-risk area to take pro­phy­lac­tics (anti-malaria med­i­ca­tion).”

You can find recipes for cre­at­ing your own re­pel­lent at home – us­ing noth­ing but stuff from your pantry and garden, like ap­ple cider vine­gar, sage, laven­der and rose­mary. Mos­qui­toes are also not fond of the scent marigolds give off. The flow­ers range in colour and the plant is able to grow in fairly dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, in­clud­ing poor soil and pro­longed pe­ri­ods of di­rect sun­light.

go! Drive & Camp says There’s no proof that qui­nine-con­tain­ing tonic wa­ter (the T in G&T) helps to re­pel mos­qui­toes. Munch­ing on a clove of gar­lic may help, how­ever.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.