The thing about camping is you have to share the forest with it’s permanent residence which includes BUGS.
It seems that bugs are just one of those inconveniences we just have to learn to negotiate. One technique is just don’t go camping when they are really bad. In Arizona, where I camp, I simply will not go in June. That’s when those oh so pesky ‘no-see-ems’ gnats are so predominate. Can’t tell you why but they just love my angles and elbows. They are at their worse in late May and June right up till the monsoons start.
Therefore, my first major bug mitigation practice is don’t go camping then. In my case this works out real good because the high winds and hot weather of June tend to cause at the least 'no camp fire restrictions' if not total forest closures. Additionally, June isn’t loaded with hunting seasons or other reasons to camp so it’s really a great month to get things in order in camping anticipation, so to speak.
The second biggest mitigation practice is, not surprisingly, clothing. Covering the skin is all but obvious solution to biting bugs. Incidentally, I usually wear boots and blouse the bottom of my trousers to stop the aforementioned ‘angle biting’ problem.
In July the monsoons usually start up cooling things off, washing the dust out of the trees and putting me back in the forests. In the warmer months ( when bugs are usually the worst ) I’ll tend to set up my camps in an area where you might have a bit of a breeze ( which is exactly the opposite of what one would do in colder months ) . Bugs hate wind though.
They also hate fire so it’s good to have a fire going even in the daytime if bugs are being pesky. This is one of the critter control ideas for you on our camping tips website. There is a great tip there for at least staying bug free while sleeping.
The mosquitoes tend to become more of a problem as the summer wears on and into fall. Interestingly, I have found ‘mud’ to be a great treatment for their bites. Put it on till it dries and that will tend to stop the itching. I also have “Flonase” ™ in my Camping First Aid Kit which really helps treat bites of all sorts. ( I think it has something to do with the steroids they use in it. )
Bugs represent little to no problem when 'winter camping' which is one of the reasons I do a lot of that.
Honestly, bug mitigation is not unlike a lot of life, you need a bunch of little tricks, some subtle and some not so subtle.
As I have gotten older I have come to realize that the creatures out there all have a purpose and very likely were put here for reasons that far exceeds my ability to perceive them. Therefore, I don’t let their presence and annoyances frustrate me. Instead I have developed practices that minimize their negative impact.
Let me also mention that BUGS are probably the top I Hate Camping reasons I have encountered from non-camping friends and acquittances.
Don't let the bugs win, Go Camping!