Home Up Stinging Insects Mosquitoes    

Did you know your camera is at risk from mosquitoes?  Not directly, of course, but working in mosquito-infested areas can pose a threat to your camera.  The problem is that the main ingredient in many repellents, DEET, will dissolve the plastic common on many cameras and lenses.  Other repellents which do not contain DEET may have chemicals which will also damage plastic.  Further, there is some controversy about the safety of DEET applied to the skin.

Nature photographers tend to spend a lot of time in places where mosquitoes and other biting insects abound.  With diseases such as encephalitis, and more recently West Nile Virus about, the threat from mosquitoes should not be taken lightly - nor should the threat to your equipment from the repellants.  What to do?  This tips might help:


  1. Most mosquitoes are more active just before dawn and just after dusk.  Avoid these times if possible.

  2. Day-flying mosquitoes prefer the shade - stay in sunny areas.

  3. All mosquitoes abhor wind; they are less apt to be out on windy days.

  4. Mosquitoes can't bite through tightly woven, layered clothes.  Wear long sleeves, long pants, and a hat.

  5. Mosquitoes and other biting insects are attracted to warm, moving dark objects.  Wear light-colored clothing and don't move.  When you do move, move quickly.

  6. Apply repellant carefully.  Apply it lightly to the underside of the brim of your hat, and to the cuffs of your (long) sleeves and pants, as well as your shirt collar.  Either apply the repellant directly from the container to the clothes, or apply it to a paper towel or tissue first, then to the clothing.  Don't get any repellent on your hands.

  7. If you must apply repellant to your head or face, do so very lightly and only wipe your face with a handkerchief - never with your hands.

  8. Carry some sort of hand cleaner to clean your hands if you get repellent on them.

  9. Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2 - stop breathing.

  10. People vary in their attractiveness to mosquitoes.  Some people are rarely bothered, others attract hordes of mosquitoes.  Find one of the latter and stay near them.

OK - some of the suggestions are far out.  But others aren't.  No one likes to wear long sleeves in the summer, but a good long-sleeves shirt can fend off the bugs and the sun at the same time, keeping you cooler.  Before you laugh, one summer in the Everglades I met a park ranger.  Despite 85o heat and 100% humidity he was wearing long-sleeved Polartec fleece.  Not even everglades mosquitoes have long enough mouthparts to get through that!


Afraid of bees?