How to Effectively Keep Bugs Out of Your Tent (Solved!)

How to Effectively Keep Bugs Out of Your Tent

Key Takeaways
● Set up your tent away from standing water and other moist areas.
● Make sure your tent is completely sealed and free from tears or holes.
● Store food properly not to attract insects.

If you’re a camper, you know that there are few things worse than having bugs invade your tent. Not only are they annoying, but they can also be dangerous if they bite you.

First and foremost, ensuring that your tent is well-maintained is essential. This means checking the seams and zippers for any rips or tears and making sure they are sealed tight. You should also ensure that your tent’s bottom is secured to avoid any openings for bugs to enter.

This blog post will discuss more methods on how to effectively keep bugs out of your tent, so you can enjoy your trip without being eaten alive by these pests.

Why Do Bugs Like Going Inside Tents?

Why Do Bugs Like Going Inside Tents

Like all other creatures, bugs are NATURALLY drawn to warmth and shelter. Tents provide the perfect combination of both a warm and sheltered environment for bugs to hide in.

They also provide access to FOOD sources such as crumbs that may have been left behind by people who have stayed in the tent before you.

Additionally, tents can be made from synthetic materials that are ATTRACTIVE to some insects due to their pheromones. Finally, standing WATER near your campsite is also great for bugs congregating and eventually making their way into your tent.

Types of Bugs to Look Out For

Types of Bugs to Look Out For

It’s important to remember that different types of bugs may be attracted to your tent, depending on where you are camping.

Mosquitoes, moths, and flies are the most COMMON invaders. Other insects, such as spiders and ants, can also find their way into your tent if they have access to food or water sources nearby [1].

Ticks and bedbugs can sometimes hitch a ride in with luggage or secondhand tents. It is best to CHECK for these tiny pests before putting your belongings away if you suspect any might be present.

In addition to these notorious bugs, you should also WATCH out for snakes and other wildlife that may find their way into your campsite.

Choosing the Right Tent Fabric

Choosing the Right Tent Fabric

The type of fabric used for your tent can make a huge DIFFERENCE in how many bugs enter it.

Some materials, such as nylon and polyester, are more EFFECTIVE at preventing bug infestations than others. The material should be tightly woven to make it harder for insects to get through the fabric.

Additionally, some fabrics have been TREATED with insect repellents or other chemicals that help repel bugs.

It is important to READ the tent labels before purchasing them to ensure they are suitable for keeping bugs out. It’s also a good idea to opt for darker colors since lighter ones attract more bugs.

Pro Tip: Avoid tents with mesh windows or vents, as they provide an easy entry point for bugs.

What To Do Before Going Camping

What To Do Before Going Camping

First, ensure your tent is in GOOD condition and that the seams and zippers are sealed tightly. Doing this will reduce the chances of bugs entering your tent.

Second, try not to bring too MANY items with you that can attract bugs. This includes food, sugary drinks, and scented toiletries. Additionally, don’t overeat salty food before camping, as this can make you more attractive to bugs.

Third, wash all your clothes before packing them to REDUCE the chances of bringing any pests with you.

Lastly, bringing extra bug repellents with you is best since some areas may be more PRONE to insect infestations than others. You can spray these repellents on yourself and around your tent before going out camping to help keep away pesky bugs.

Don’t Do These When Camping

Don't Do These When Camping
  • Don’t leave food inside or outside the tent, as this will attract bugs.
  • Don’t use mesh windows or vents on your tent, as this provides an easy entry point for insects.
  • Don’t bring secondhand items into the tent, as these may be carrying bedbugs or other pests.
  • Don’t forget to check your luggage and belongings for any bug infestations before bringing them into the tent.
  • Don’t leave clothing or other items outside the tent, as this can also attract bugs.
  • Don’t leave the tent open for long periods, as this will make it easier for bugs to get in.
  • Don’t pitch your tent near any artificial light sources.

Do These Instead

Do These Instead
  • Check the seams and zippers of your tent for any rips or tears before using it.
  • Make sure to use a tightly woven material treated with insect repellents when choosing a tent.
  • Avoid camping near standing water sources, as these are breeding grounds for bugs.
  • Set up your tent away from lights to reduce bug attraction.
  • Clear away leaf litter and overgrown grass around the campsite.
  • Explore the area around your campsite to remove potential nesting sites for insects.

Different Methods to Keep Bugs Out of Your Tent

Different Methods to Keep Bugs Out of Your Tent

The most effective way to keep bugs out of your tent is to use a combination of prevention methods. Here are some methods that you can use:

Burning Sage

Burning sage is a great way to create an ATMOSPHERE that bugs don’t like [2]. The smoke produced by burning sage acts as a natural insect repellent and can help keep bugs away from your campsite.

Cedar Blocks

Cedar blocks also help to keep away bugs, as they don’t like the SCENT of cedar. Place them around your tent to enjoy a bug-free night’s sleep.

Hanging Dryer Sheets

These sheets can be hung around the tent or placed inside it to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other flying insects. They have a STRONG scent that bugs don’t like and can help to keep them away.

Essential Oils

Essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus are all effective insect repellents. You can spray these around the tent or DIFFUSE them using a diffuser to help keep bugs away.

Bug-Proof Mesh Fabric

There are specially designed mesh fabrics with tiny holes, making it impossible for bugs to pass through. This fabric can be used to cover your tent, ensuring complete PROTECTION from any unwanted pests.

Strategically Setting Up Tent Lights

Using bug-proof lights and torches can help keep bugs away. The light will draw in the insects, and they won’t be able to get through the bug-proof mesh fabric. This method is GREAT for keeping out flying insects like moths and mosquitoes.

Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth

Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth

This powerful insecticide made from fossilized diatoms is an EFFECTIVE way to keep bugs away.

You can sprinkle some around the campsite, especially in areas prone to bug infestations, such as near water sources or shaded areas.

Use Sticky Traps Or Flypaper

Sticky traps or flypaper can trap and kill any bugs that make it into the tent.

You can purchase flypaper from most hardware stores and hang it around the tent to help keep pests away. Make sure to check it regularly and REPLACE it when necessary.

Campfire Smoke

Smoke from campfires can also be used as an effective bug repellent. The smoke is an IRRITANT for many flying insects and helps keep them at bay [3].

Setting Up A Solar-Powered Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are a great way to eliminate mosquitoes, moths, and other flying insects.

You can set up a solar-powered bug zapper around the campsite or near the tent to ATTRACT and kill any bugs that make it through your preventative measures.

Tents With Built-In Insect Shields

These days, tents have built-in insect shields to keep out bugs and other pests. These tents usually have mesh panels on the sides and top and a bug-proof zipper that keeps even the TINIEST of bugs at bay.

Clothing and Gear Treatments

You can use many treatments to protect your clothing, gear and even tents from bug infestations. These treatments usually come in sprays or powders that should be applied LIBERALLY over your supplies to ensure they remain bug-free throughout your camping trip.

Pro Tip: Read the instructions carefully before applying any treatments.

How To Make Natural Insect Repellents

How To Make Natural Insect Repellents

Using simple ingredients like essential oils and herbs, you can also make natural insect repellants. Check out some of these recipes to make your bug spray repellant for your camping trip:

Lemon Eucalyptus and Coconut Oils

Mix ¼ cup of lemon eucalyptus oil, ¾ cup of coconut oil, and two tablespoons of witch hazel. Pour into a spray bottle and apply liberally over your clothing.

Garlic Oil Spray

Chop up five garlic cloves and add ½ cup mineral oil to a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes and strain the mixture through cheesecloth.

Add the liquid to a spray bottle to mist your tent or camping gear.

Lavender, Tea Tree and Rosemary Spray

Mix ¼ cup of each lavender, tea tree and rosemary oil. Add the mixture to a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water.

Citronella, Peppermint and Vanilla

Mix ½ cup of each citronella, peppermint and vanilla oil. Add the mixture to a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water and use it to mist your tent or camping gear.

Lemongrass and Witch Hazel

Mix ½ cup of lemongrass oil and two tablespoons of witch hazel. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle to mist your tent or camping gear.

Pro Tip: You can make your natural witch hazel by combining two parts of apple cider vinegar and 1 part rubbing alcohol.

Essential Oils and Water

Mix 10 drops each of citronella, lavender and tea tree essential oils. Add the mixture to a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water and use it to mist your tent or camping gear.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Spray apple cider vinegar around the campsite, especially on the tent door and windows.

The scent of the vinegar is known to REPEL insects, making it an effective way to keep bugs out of your tent.

Using Plants To Repel Insects

Certain plants have natural insect-repelling properties.

Having them around your campsite will help keep the bugs away. Some of the best bug-repelling plants include citronella, lavender, marigold and lemongrass.

Frequently Asked Question

Frequently Asked Question

Is The Temperature a Factor in Keeping Bugs Out Of My Tent?

Yes, it is. Mosquitoes and other insects prefer warm temperatures, so if you can keep your tent cool, it may help reduce the number of bugs that enter.

Try to find a shady spot with good air circulation for your tent to keep it as cool as possible.

Are There Any Dangers of Using Chemical Insect Repellants?

Yes, there are potential dangers associated with using chemical insect repellents. These products contain DEET and other chemicals that, if not used properly, can be hazardous to your health.

How Often Should I Reapply Natural Insect Repellants?

You should reapply natural insect repellants every few hours for maximum effectiveness.

What Do I Do If My Tent Is Already Infested With Bugs?

If your tent is already infested with bugs, you should immediately vacuum or sweep out the insects.

Next, you should apply a liberal amount of insect repellent over the tent and camping gear. Then locate and treat any potential breeding sites in and around your campsite to prevent further infestations.


final thoughts

Mosquitoes, ants, spiders and other insects are drawn to tents because they perceive them as places where people sleep. Knowing how to keep these pests out of your tent is essential for a pleasant camping experience.

While no method is 100% effective at keeping all bugs out of your tent, following the tips above will help you enjoy a bug-free camping experience.

With some preparation and knowledge, you can keep those pesky pests away so you can relax and enjoy nature.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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