Mosquitos Ticks & Bears Oh My!


June in the woods. There might be bugs. And breezes. Be prepared with bug repellent, garlic, or whatever other repellent method you prefer. Wearing light-colored clothing and longer sleeves/pants can also help you avoid mosquito bites.


Ticks are even more present than ever before in the area. No… more than that. Relatedly, Lyme Disease is rampant in New England.  So as you pack for our favorite annual weekend in the woods a la mode, please consider what you can do to avoid getting bitten by ticks.

One trick is to wear long pants, and tuck the pants into your socks.  The ticks can’t find their way to your skin.  Plus, this is a great way to show off the purple-and-pink argyle socks you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Another trick is to use tick repellents. Products with DEET are good insect repellents — they do a pretty good job at keeping mosquitoes away — but ticks aren’t insects.  For them, look for products containing permethrin or Picaridin.  Spray your socks and the bottom part of your pants  (inside and out for the pants!) with the repellent. Permethrin goes on the clothes, DEET goes on the skin.  Now, some folks may be sensitive to permethrin.  If you’ve ever had a bad reaction to Elimite or Nix (creams and shampoos used for scabies and lice), you might not want to use permethrin on your clothes.  Also, cats are REALLY REALLY sensitive to this stuff.  If you have a cat, don’t put this stuff on your clothes when you’re at home; wait until you get to the mountain.

If you do get bitten, the chances of getting Lyme are greatly reduced if you get the tick off within 24 hours.  But ticks are small, and you might not be able to see them yourself.  We’ll bring the magnifying glass; you decide who you’d like to ask for a tick check.   Ticks can transmit Lyme disease so it is important that you check yourself and your kids daily. If you find a tick, remove it properly. Use sharp pointed tweezers, or specially made tick tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, as close to its embedded mouthparts as you can. If you squeeze the body or head, you risk compressing the guts and salivary glands and expelling even more organisms through their mouth and into your body. Do not twist the tick or turn the tweezers as you pull out the tick. Pull out straight with a slow, steady motion. Twisting may force more organisms into your body, and may result in the head or more of the mouthparts being left in your body.

Do not apply any substances to the tick before removing it – no alcohol or nail polish, no petroleum jelly or other ointments, and do not try to burn it out or otherwise convince to let go of you. It won’t let go. It will just happily keep on sucking your blood and pumping pathogens into you.

If you need assistance, ask for help from one of the First Aid folks.


The mountain campground has been visited by a bear now and again but NEVER when a large group has been present and we’ve never seen one during the quieter set-up & tear-down prep time.  Generally the noise of a crowd will deter animals. To keep everyone and everything safe, we ask that you observe this rule: NO FOOD IN TENTS OR CABINS If you are hypoglycemic and need food in the night, let the concom staff know, and we will figure out the best way to keep you healthy without compromising your safety. We also recommend that you avoid keeping food in your car. You may want to consider packing other scented items (toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen) in two ziplock baggies if you plan to keep them in your tent, or labeling those items with your name and leaving them in one of the cubbies in the bathhouse.

If you see a bear (which is incredibly unlikely and has never happened at an Abode Baitcon)

  • Stay calm, but yell “BEAR”. Noises can scare bears away.
  • Stay in your tent if it’s nighttime, or head for the Living Room during the day.
  • If you are carrying food, and are confronted, drop the food and back away. It’s not a good idea to feed the bear, but the food will distract the bear long enough for you to get away safely.
  • Use common sense. Remember, bears are wild animals. Try not to run; give the bear a wide berth.
  • Do not leave your children unattended.
  • Do not attempt to feed a bear.

According to a NY Times article from a year or 2 ago, there are about 5,000 bears in New York State, but no one has been hurt by them in 40 years. If you want to be extra-careful, you can prep your stuff to be as scent-free as possible. You are NOT required to do this for Baitcon.

Removing scents from your tarp, tent or luggage Tarp and Tent
If you have ever cooked in your tent, or used your groundcloth tarp as a cover for a barbecue, or SPILLED or MELTED food or grease on your tarp or tent, you should probably spray-treat it. Bears have wonderful noses, and can smell food, even old food, at long distances. Rangers say that you can treat this by spraying a 5% bleach or Lysol cleaning solution on the stained areas.

The same guidelines for tarp and tent go for luggage. Bears can smell years old melted chocolate leavings, and crumbs of food spilled in corners of luggage. Suggestion: leave the luggage in the car, and bring only essential items into your tent with a grocery bag.