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Normally ants are only a problem at the end of the day when camping for the night. Sometimes they can also be a problem when you stop for a rest break. Some parts of the country and specific locals just naturally have more ants than others. Almost all areas have some ants.
Try to pick your campsite away from any obvious ant hills or holes and in most areas you will be okay. Bed down for the night on top of or too close to an active ant colony you will sorry. One night I arrived at the area I was going to camp in after dark. I found a nice spot under a large tree made camp and turned in. During the night I woke up a few times because I could feel something biting me. It wasn't until morning I found a number of extra large black ants inside my sleeping bag and more in my sleeping bag cover. I had camped to close to their home at the base of the tree.
At worst most ants are only a nuisance. The only ants in the US posing a serious health risk are the Fire Ants that seem to be spreading throughout the Southwest. They have a similar effect to that of being stung by a bee, and for people with allergies can pose an extra threat. Learn to identify the ant hills they make and then avoid camping too close.
A solution to the problem of ants when you just can't avoid camping where they are abundant is to use a tent or bivy that zips completely shut.
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