Going On A Wine Tour? Remember Your Bug Guard
When you are out in the valley with loved ones exploring the great vines of California, the last thing you want to be worrying about is bugs. Quite frankly, there are a lot of them out there. After all, you are in the wild, and that's where they live.
With all the flying, stinging, biting pests in the great outdoors, you need to know precisely what you are up against and how to protect yourself. Facing off against blood-thirsty insects might sound scary, but when you have the right tools, you have absolutely nothing to fear.
In this article, we discuss the bugs you can expect to find in vineyards and what you need to do to defend yourself and ensure you have a great experience.
Common bugs found in vineyards
One of the things you will discover when on a wine tour is that human beings are not the only creatures that like a good merlot. A creature that seems to appreciate fine wines (or at least the vineyard) as much as we do is the humble spider.
However, there is a reason for the proliferation of spiders - farmers sometimes use them as natural pesticides. Spiders eat insects that would either puncture the grapes or eat the leaves, like grasshoppers, caterpillars, and fire ants.
But before you freak out, most spiders found in grapevines are harmless to humans, unlike the next predator.
Mosquitoes are another common enemy, and they can ruin a perfectly good holiday if you don't come prepared. These tiny bloodsuckers won't hesitate to nibble on humans of all ages.
Sadly, spiders can only trap so many mosquitoes, so we need to protect ourselves with mosquito repellant and other bug guards.
How to choose the right bug guard
Bug guards come in different shapes, sizes and formulae, so it can be tricky finding the right one. Here are a few things to consider:
To DEET or not to DEET – N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, commonly known as DEET, is one of the most common active ingredients used in insect repellants. However, not everyone is a fan.
Though DEET is relatively non-toxic, there have been reported cases of irritation caused by prolonged exposure. If you are not a fan, many DEET-free insect repellants perform just as well or even better.
Sun protection –
As bug sprays are typically used during summer, it is helpful to find one that contains SPF 15 or higher, depending on how long you plan on being in the sun. This way, you don't have to worry about your sunscreen negating the efficacy of the bug spray.
Delivery method –
Bug spray usually comes in aerosol form, pump spray, and lotion. You can also buy toilettes, which are ideal for carrying with you on a plane.
Water protection –
When you're out on the wine trail for hours, chances are the heat will get to you, and you'll probably sweat a lot. It is helpful then to have bug spray that won't let up even when you're soaking wet. It is not perfect, however, so you will still need to reapply it as directed.
What insects do bug sprays repel?
Most bug sprays are designed to repel mosquitoes. Note that they do not actually kill the mosquitoes, so don't be surprised if you still see them buzzing around, although they will not come close to your skin.
Another group of insects targeted by insecticide sprays is deer ticks. Unlike mosquitoes, the bite of a deer tick goes beyond an irritation. These pests sometimes transmit Lyme disease. There are an estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease each year in the US.
Other insects you can expect protection from are gnats, no-see ums, sand flies, and biting midges. Sadly, spiders are not on that list. Spiders are not repelled by the same thing these other insects are, but you are unlikely to be attacked by them.
Whether you are traveling alone, with family or with friends, exploring the great California vineyards is an experience of a lifetime. Before you embark on your tour, it is essential to come fully prepared for whatever might try to ruin your fun.
Choose a bug spray to suit your planned tours. Insect repellents are usually effective for a few hours, but the outstanding ones last a lot longer. You should also bring along two different types – one for dawn and one for dusk.
That way, your skin will be protected all day and all night long, giving you the freedom to enjoy your wine in peace.