I don't know about you, but I can certainly tell summer is upon us. We've already had our share of warm, no hot, day with high humidity. But it seems we've also had more than our share of rainy days. I know I'm fighting a losing battle keeping my lawn mowed; I can almost see the grass growing. While I probably should not complain, one of the down sides of all the rain we've received is the number of "bugs" it produces. They seem to be everywhere, and just when it seems the number seem to subside, boom- another rain storm and more bugs hatching. While I love the hatches that occur on my favorite trout streams, I don't appreciate being attached by mosquito's and fleas in my own back yard. (My wife also complains that she can't sit on our deck without being attacked, even being surrounded by those citronella candles) I've tried spraying the lawn with those bug killers, but it seems the "Sky Gods" wait to dump the next batch of rain until right after I've sprayed, effectively diluting and washing away what I hoped would eliminate at least some of the bugs.
Now, if you are active in the outdoors during these periods of heavy insect presence, you need to take precautions. It's a lot easier preventing attacks by bugs, then treating the outcome afterwards. Here are some steps I hope you will take to protect yourself and family while spending time in the outdoors:
1. Wear proper clothing. While the summer is the time to get those legs and arms tanned, shorts and short sleeve shirts provide insects with nice targets to attack. You can stay cool and still keep bugs off the arms and legs by wearing light, but full length clothing. They actually make clothing that is impregnated with bug repellant. I don't really know how effective it is but it might be an option for those very sensitive to bug bites.
2. Use plenty of bug spray and keep it fresh. Shop for bug spray based on where you will be and what you will be doing. Wearing full length clothing will keep the spray off your bare skin, and a number of repellants warn against direct skin contact with the product. Don't keep the repellant that has been sitting on your garage shelf for the past two years. They do lose their effectiveness and the cost is replacement is minimal compared to the discomfort bug bites will cause.
3. Stay away from high grass areas or areas you are not familiar with. If hiking, stay on trails and don't wander off. I've had more than my share of yellow jacket attacks because I accidentally stepped to close to a ground nest that I didn't know was there. I've even been stung at my house while mowing because they seemed to move in and set up a nest overnight. High grass areas can also provide shade for snakes that may be looking for areas to cool their bodies during the heat of the summer.
4. Keep first aid handy. If you are sensitive to bug bites keep ointments and medication close to be able to respond immediately to any bites you may experience. Certain over the counter medications will help prevent swelling and pain associated with certain types of bug bites or stings.
I hope you don't let the potential for bugs keep you from enjoying the outdoors. If you take the necessary precautions you won't allow them to keep your outdoor activities limited during the summer months.
Have a great, "bug free", summer.