Everyone looks forward to vacations. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable to encounter pests during picnics, camping, or hiking. Aside from the possibility of bringing home these pests as “bad souvenirs,” these pests can cause stings, rashes, allergic reactions, or even transmit infections.
This article discusses tips on how to avoid these dreaded pests – mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, rodents, and lice.
Mosquitoes thrive in wetlands. If one is traveling to the tropics, it is best to be informed about the various kinds of mosquitoes in the place. They can cause critical diseases like malaria, dengue fever, Zika fever, or yellow fever.
Prevention is better than cure. Here are some precautionary measures when traveling:
- Use insect skin repellents which are available as lotions or sprays
- Cover arms and legs with long sleeves and pants
- Wear white and bright clothing since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors
- Avoid perfume or any scent that can attract mosquitoes
- Use mosquito nets over sleeping areas (beds, hammocks, or sleeping bag)
- Light mosquito coils, citronella candles or oils which emit a repelling scent to mosquitoes
- Stay indoors during dawn or dusk since mosquitoes are more active during daybreak and nightfall
- Sleep in air-conditioned rooms or places with window screens
- Apply repellents to fabrics
- Use mosquito hat, drawn over
- If one is camping, avoid areas with standing or stagnant water and sleep with a mosquito net
Ants have above-average abilities in finding food. So wherever food is left exposed, ants will surely find it. If one brings the food home, the ants travel with the container also. Therefore, keep all food sealed in airtight bags. Don’t leave crumbs or food debris in clothes and traveling bags. Throw food wrappers and garbage into bins at once.
Ant stings can be painful. Although ant bites usually clear up after a few days, some people are allergic, and the pain may lead to anaphylactic shock, which could be lethal.
Cockroaches are known as disease carriers. Therefore, do not touch them or allow them into food.
Although easier to spot than bed bugs, cockroaches also travel through bags. They are also looking for dark, moist, warm, and hidden areas. They will stay hidden until one unpacks and unknowingly release them at home.
Cockroaches can survive without food or water for extended periods. They can fly, climb, and cling to even sleek surfaces. Usually, they slip into open food containers, purses, and clothing bags. In short, they can hide in anything that is left exposed.
Therefore, make sure to close all travel bags. Seal and elevate everything, especially when there’s food inside the container. It might not be a good idea to transport food kept in improperly sealed boxes.
4. Bed bugs
Travelers may not be aware that they are transporting bed bugs to their homes through their suitcases. Bed bugs stay in dark, warm, and hidden places. They usually hide in luggage bags, clothes, and purses and can remain dormant for extended periods. After unpacking from the trip, the bed bugs emerge and find new hiding places in the home.
To avoid this from happening, always elevate, close, and seal unused bags. And when one reaches home, put travel items under the dryer for twenty minutes under high temperature.
Bed bug bites can also cause rashes, allergic reactions, and other skin irritations. One way to check for the presence of bed bugs is by checking the crevices of the mattress for signs of black dots. These are remnants of bug feces or carcasses.
Before visiting a country, find out what kind of flies they have. The common house flies spread infection and can contaminate food. Flies are dangerous if they came from exposed garbage or waste.
Some flies are dangerous, like the tsetse flies that can cause sleeping sickness, which has killed many people in East Africa.
There are available fly repellents in local drugstores.
Rats, mice, and other rodents can chew into clothes. Since rats can enter buildings through the toilet, never dump the food, whether rotten or not, through the bathroom. Rats also carry fleas, which are disease-carriers. Therefore, avoid rats from getting inside the building.
A human host transports lice, mainly through the hair. They can climb from items like hats, scarves, hoodies, and sweaters – anything near the head. With their hook-like feet, they latch into hidden parts of clothing until they can transfer.
To avoid this from happening, refrain from sharing clothes or trying on anything worn on the head. Keep clothes sealed in closed bags.