Genius Tips For Keeping Gnats Away From Your Campsite

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There's a lot of planning that goes into a camping trip, especially when you have kids in tow, but no matter how much you plan ahead, sometimes Mother Nature has little surprises in store for you. Case in point: gnats. You can bring all of the bug spray and bug zappers in the world, and yet those little, winged bugs of torture find their way onto your food and skin. One Reddit user even posted that they prepared by wearing a mosquito net hat and spraying themselves with DEET, but that didn't keep the bugs away.

However, it turns out there are some tricks to get rid of bugs that don't involve any fancy netting or highly toxic sprays. The solution might be as simple as a room fan. The New York Times reported that studies found wind to be an effective insect repellent. Vanderbilt University's professor of biological science and pharmacology, Laurence Zwiebel, told Wirecutter that flying bugs can't compete with a stiff breeze, so plugging in the fan and blowing it all over your family will help prevent bites. Joe Conlon, a former technical adviser of the American Mosquito Control Association, agrees, telling the outlet to keep your fan blowing toward the lower half of your body because bugs "tend to prefer the lower extremities to bite." Fortunately, there are lots of portable floor fans that range in size from handheld to floor mounting that you can grab from Amazon.

Home remedies like vinegar traps or dryer sheets work wonders

If you don't have access to a floor fan during your camping trip, there are some home remedies that might just do the trick. Vinegar traps are easy to make and super effective. Simply pouring some apple cider vinegar into a ramekin with a bit of sugar to attract the bugs, and a dose of dish soap to prevent them from flying out has been known to trap gnats and other insects. Another method is to pour pure apple cider vinegar into a ramekin, cover the lid with cling film, and then poke dozens of tiny holes through the cling film. This way, gnats can get in, but they can't figure their way out, slowly dying in the vinegar. 

Another home remedy that works has a bit of science behind it. In 2010, HortScience magazine, a peer-reviewed journal about horticultural science, published a study conducted by Kansas State University which found that Bounce dryer sheets — yes those inexpensive laundry sheets that prevent static cling in your clothes dryer — were effective at repelling fungus gnats. The study reported that it was the presence of chemicals linalool, benzyl acetate, beta-citronellol, and hedione in the dryer sheets that repelled the gnats. So if you're heading deep into the bush, don't forget to raid your pantry for vinegar and laundry sheets first!