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  • Writer's pictureNoel McCarthy

How to Keep Summer Camp Clean, Safe and Pest Free!

Updated: May 25, 2022

Spring is here and it’s almost that time again, isn’t it?

No, not Christmas…summertime! For many families, that means summer camp, the yearly ritual that is the salvation of parents and makes for some of the best times of childhood.

However, if you’re a camp administrator, you know only too well what you’re facing, and by that we don’t mean homesickness, rule breaking, undeclared allergies or social drama – we mean bugs. Lots of bugs!

Getting Rid of Bugs at Camp (Well, some of them...)

Of course, having fun is the first thing on the minds of your young charges, but you know all too well how important it is to keep your camp clean.  While most of us don’t like to think about it, the fact is that summer camps are breeding grounds for germs ‒ and a haven for everything from ticks, lice, and mites, to bed bugs, fleas and lots of other pesky critters.

Of course, it’s virtually impossible to get rid of bugs from a summer camp or eliminate all the germs that can collect, but you should be concerned with the overall cleaning and sanitizing practices at your camp.

The Solution for Every Camp Administrator: Sterifab

So what is camp director to do? You don’t want to send kids home with bites from bed bugs or scabies. You need to get rid of them! That’s why Sterifab should be the best friend of any camp administrator.

Sterifab is the ‘go-to’ pesticide and disinfectant and it can handle all of your needs. In addition to helping get rid of ticks, bed bugs, fleas and other insects, Sterifab is also effective against fungus, mold and mildew. And, unlike many other similar products, it has a number of features that make it ideal for a multitude of uses.

Sterifab is:

  • Effective, convenient to use and doesn’t leave stains

  • Fast-drying and odorless

  • Totally clear and harmless to fabrics or carpets

  • A quick and effective sanitizer and deodorizer

  • 100% biodegradable.

And since it’s able to quickly remove odor-causing bacteria, Sterifab will successfully:

  • Eradicate pathogenic odors

  • Inhibit bacterial growth

  • Function as a bacteriostatic to stop bacteria from reproducing.

  • Kill germs and other and other micro-organisms.

Where and What to Clean in Your Summer Camp

Obviously, you need to clean hand-sanitizing stations, floors and walls and nonporous materials on any number of surfaces in cabins, in the dining hall, in administrative buildings and of course at the infirmery!

We recommend using Sterifab to carefully clean the following areas:

  • Cabins or dorms, especially closets and bedside cubbies

  • Dining areas - Use Sterifab before the summer and then clean and sanitize daily all summer long

  • Food preparation areas - No Sterifab needed, but sanitize before and after each use

  • Restrooms, showers and bathing areas - Treat with Sterifab before camp opens and then sanitize daily throughout the camp season

  • Toilets, door knobs, sinks, plumbing fixtures and toilet stall handles - Clean and sanitize as often as possible throughout the day

  • Bunkbeds, doorknobs, faucet handles, countertops and sports equipment - Treat before/after summer with Sterifab and clean as needed during camp

Getting Rid of the ‘Usual Suspects’

Sure - camp is a place known for bugs. Mosquitoes, fireflies and ants abound. And who are we to discourage them? But there are other kinds of tiny pests that can ruin a campers' day, summer or more. (Just think about the growing problem of ticks and Lyme disease!)

To ensure the health and safety of your campers, you need to do your best to stave off dangerous or harmful critters like bed bugs, scabies and more.

Here's how to rid your camp of bugs, mites, mold and more...

Get Rid of Ticks

To get rid of ticks you need to create tick-free zones around all your camp buildings: cut back wooded areas; keep the grass mowed to 3 inches or less; remove leaf litter, brush, weeds and other debris that attract ticks.

Plus, you should:

  • Clean all affected rooms and remove any clutter

  • Thoroughly sweep, vacuum and mop everywhere

  • Clean beds, mattresses, drapes, couches and rugs

  • Treat all inanimate objects with Sterifab

  • Wash any linens or bedding in HOT water

  • Repeat process again after 1-2 weeks throughout the summer

Kill Bed Bugs!

A bed bug outbreak at your camp won't just ruin this summer. It can affect the reputation of your camp and reduce your enrollment for future summers. If you even suspect that you might have bed bugs, be sure to use a bed buy spray immediately.

To prevent and get rid of bed bugs at your camp:

  • Remove any clutter, including stacks of paper or piles of laundry

  • Treat all affected areas with Sterifab bed bug spray

  • Clean all the affected areas thoroughly

  • Throw away mattresses with major infestations

  • Vacuum beds, carpets, chairs, drapes and more  

  • Wash all linens and bedding in very hot water

To make sure that you get rid of bed bugs permanently, we highly recommend that all camp managers carry out your inspections at least once a week.

Get Rid of Cockroaches at Camp

A cockroach or two at camp is no big deal. But if you've got dozens of them, the kids will be jumping - and running to tell their parents. Needless to say, you don't want a cockroach (or 10) to be the most memorably part of a camper's summer experience.

To get rid of cockroaches, you really need to make sure that your camp is clean. Cleanliness is the key to keeping these pests at bay. If they do appear, then spraying Sterifab is a surefire way of getting rid of them.  Again, remember to keep pets and children away from the surfaces you spray.

Dealing with Fleas at Camp

The treatment for fleas is similar to the one for ticks, seen above. It can be more of a problem at camps with several dogs, particularly if the dogs enjoy visiting the cabins. (May we recommend that Fido stay outside?)

If you have a flea problem at camp, disinfect with Sterifab first and foremost. Then, vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture regularly and be sure that you, the staff and the campers are regularly washing clothes and linens in very hot water.

Getting Rid of Mites

Getting rid of mites should be another item on your camp ‘To Do’ list. Many children and staff members might be allergic to dust mites, and these tiny critters can be responsible for some very painful skin conditions. To get rid of mites, wash all linens and bedding in hot water. Then, apply Sterifab, but not on pets, and certainly not on humans

How to Make for a Happy Summer at Camp

As you prepare for the summer, we encourage you to have a generous stock of Sterifab on hand. (See some distributors.) Sterifab will be your best bet for dealing with bugs, mold and bacteria.

You also have a responsibility to make sure that your staff knows how to identify and eliminate the various and sundry bugs they will encounter. Talk to them about the differences between benign bugs like flies and more dangerous ones like scabies or bed bugs.

Your staff members should also be able to properly identify and treat a wide variety of insect bites.

Here’s a short list for them to consult, should they need to:

  • Learn all you can about the insects you will encounter as a camp counsellor: bed bugs, mites, fleas, ticks et al. Make sure you know the basics of bug prevention, and elimination.

  • If you think one of your campers has been bitten or stung, make sure you inspect all the places that can harbour bugs, e.g., walls, mattresses, furniture, electrical outlets and so forth. Then, treat all affected areas.

  • Learn how to use insecticides and disinfects (fortunately Sterifab functions as both)

  • Go after the pesky critters, but be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

  • Learn to recognize not only the various insects that will call your camp home, but (and this is very important) become skilled at treating bites and stings appropriately. Keep in mind that what may work for one kind of bite may not work for another.

A Word about Getting Rid of Mold

Finally, remember that there’s one more, non-bug thing you should be on the lookout for: mold.

Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms in campers including itchy eyes, nose and throat; sneezing, runny or stuffy nose; coughs and postnasal drip; plus watery eyes and dry, scaly skin. Nothing fatal, fortunately, but good enough reasons to want to get rid of mold. If you’re not sure of how to get rid of mold, simply read the instructions on the side of your Sterifab container and proceed accordingly.

Now that you know how to eliminate bugs, pests, mold and more, you're ready to kick off a summer of fun - for you, your staff, your campers and their families. So get out there and enjoy the summer - pest free!

We’ll revisit this topic in a few months and provide some tips about how not to transport summer camp bugs back into the house ‒ and what to do if they infiltrate anyway! Stay tuned!



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