It’s a bug’s life

You pour yourself a glass of Champagne, settle into your campchair, begin gazing out at the wondrous sunset … and then it begins. The first telltale zzzzz of the leading mozzie is the worst. It means  the evening you had planned is not the evening you are going to have. It’s time to throw water on the campfire, dash for the van, and batten down the hatches.

It’s a similar story when you stop for a picnic lunch on a dusty Outback track and find flies are the main ingredient of your sandwich! Travelling Australia is a fantastic experience but it throws up some challenges … and annoying insects are one of them. You’ve also got spiders, ants, bees, sandflies … the list goes on and on.

Happily, we are not quite as much at the mercy of Mother Nature’s ‘mini-monsters’ as our generational predecessors. Technology has marched on and all manner of creams, home-made contraptions and commercially manufactured devices now attempt to ease our suffering – with various degrees of success.

The iconic cork-dangling broad-rimmed hat led the way in the fly fighting department. However, insect zappers, which lure flies with a light source and then electrocute them, have brought the battle into the 21st century.

Portable zappers specifically designed for campers are now available. There are also sticky traps, and the good old fly swat remains an option. While these may be useful when you are safely sitting in your mesh screen tent, they still ain’t going to save you from fly sandwich on your summer’s day William Creek picnic. A fly screen hat and lightning quick hand movement are your best bets there!

A mesh screen is probably your main hope for a totally mozzie-free al fresco evening, although coils, commercial roll-on and spray repellents, and a dazzling array of home-made chemical concoctions can  certainly help.

When your pantry is on the road, one thing to avoid is an ant infestation.  As well as the commercial ant poisons, some  travellers swear by baby powder sprinkled at key potential entry points, while others prefer  van legs stuck in water filled ‘feet’.

It’s a big, bad buzzing, creeping, crawling world out there and grey nomads have placed themselves right in the midst of it. It obviously pays to do what we can to protect ourselves but, at the end of the day we are significantly outnumbered. And, after all, we are supposed to enjoy getting close to nature!


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