If you have never been camping, you are about to find out one of the less thrilling things about nature; God must love insects, he sure made a lot of them. Something for folks from the "left coast" to remember is that there are a lot more insects, both type and number, on this side of the Rockies. I never saw a tent with zip-out bug netting until I helped King Paul from the West set his up at a Pennsic. They just are not sold in the Midwest or East. Bring mosquito netting and bug spray and remember to keep garbage, coolers and tent netting closed. If you are allergic to bee stings, bring your medication! Some types of bugs of note:
- House flies - That friend you thought you left at home is here at the war, too. Just like at home, he never wipes his feet before landing on your table (or food), no matter where he was last. Keep food and garbage covered and clean food preparation areas, just like at home.
- Horse and deer flies - While you can go the whole war without seeing them, these beauties are not uncommon in the area. They both bite and leave a welt. Horse flies are slightly larger than house flies. Deer flies are dark with white "eyes" on the wing and are slightly smaller than house flies. They are both easily discouraged by using insect repellent.
- Ticks - Both Woods and Deer Tick are indigenous to the region, each can vector for some nasty diseases. Insect repellent works, but a "tick check" twice a day is still a good idea.
- Mosquitoes - While not in the same class as the ones in Alaska or Minnesota ("It is awe inspiring to watch as the mosquitoes majestically flap their wings as they carry off sheep and small children."), mosquitoes are a pest in the wooded and low areas. Insect repellent makes the evenings more pleasant (and pungent).
- Ground Hornets and Wasps - There are usually several nests in the woods. If you find one, mark the area and walk away passively. Do not disturb the nest. Contact site security (and the Cooper staff) about it, if it is in a high traffic area they will probably bomb it.
There are other bugs out there -- ants will find any open food, given time, and a cricket is not an ideal tent companion -- but they are not threats to health or comfort. Some are downright good companions. A Crane-fly (Mosquito hawk), for instance, looks like an oversized mosquito, but eats several times its weight in mosquitoes a day. Spiders are also on your side, unless you rile them.