From early spring to late fall, a danger in your wilderness adventure is insects. While most insect bites aren’t deadly, a mass attack, or a sting you’re allergic to, could cause serious health issues.
If you’re hiking in areas where there are pools of standing water or swamps, you’ll encounter mosquitoes. Mosquito bites aren’t just itchy; they can also give you West Nile virus. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt like this one with an SPF of 30 for sun protection, and long pants that can convert to shorts, or these that also provide sun protection, to limit the skin mosquitoes and other insects can reach. You’ll also need a serious insect repellent. Health authorities in Utah recommend DEET.
Another enemy is the Africanized Honey bee, more commonly called the “killer bee.” Unlike other honey bees, these are aggressive and easily provoked. Killer bees can sense you from 50 feet away and will chase you for at least a quarter mile. You’ll receive at least ten times as many stings as you’d get from other bees. The stings aren’t often deadly, just painful. Wasps, like bees, attack in swarms. If you’re attacked, run away, and cover your face and head, as killer bees and wasps most often sting there. Don’t take cover under water, because the bees will wait there for you to come up and breathe.
A third type of pest is the tick. Inhabiting both woods and grassy areas, they attach themselves to your skin. Again, the danger is less the bite than the Lyme disease it can carry. Check for ticks frequently.
If you’re stung by a bee or wasp, scrape the stingers out using your nails. Use the tick remover forceps from your first aid kit to remove the entire tick; grab it as near as possible to your skin, and pull it out slowly but firmly. Make sure you get the head of the tick as well as the body. If the bites itch badly, use an anti-histamine cream or liquid. If you or someone in your group is allergic to bee stings, be sure that they carry epinephrine to use if they go into anaphylactic shock. If you start feeling flu-like symptoms or develop a rash after a tick bite, see a doctor as soon as possible, because it could be Lyme disease.
Educated and prepared, you can survive insect bites and enjoy your trek.
(Sources: http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept16498/files/182660.html, http://irreference.com/how-to-survive-if-you-hit-a-beehive/,http://www.t... , http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/A..., http://quamut.com/quamut/how_to_survive_an_animal_attack/page/how_to_avo... )