View Full Version : black fly season

01-02-2015, 17:39
So when are the black flies the worst, and when do they lighten up? Any comments about ticks, gnats, mosquitos, etc.

01-02-2015, 19:34
They were bad when I went through Maine in June, but nothing compared to the mosquitoes. They're both fearless and come in droves. No matter. It's just like anything else: keep going. The netting on my tarptent preserved my sanity; I wouldn't have slept without it.

01-02-2015, 19:42
I rely on stretch gaiters for ankles: Black Flies bite big chunks! Simblisity stretch gaiters.

I have Bug Baffler headnet to hold on to sanity, when flying insects are dense in the air. I move on to a windswept location, if one is available.

I do have a bug bivy. It helps keep my sleep system gear clean, as well.

I wear long chino pants, and, long-sleeves netted vent nylon fisherman's shirts.

My brother told me a story: you know how brothers are. He said there are people in a desert that let the flies crawl all over them, cleaning their skin of excess skin cells, I suppose. I would rather have and use Sea to Summit soap leaves and wash. If no water, I would try sand!

01-02-2015, 21:13
I don't know what kind of Black Flies you have in Montana, but around here they just leave a big welt. For an insignificant bit of protoplasm, they leave one heck of a welt. Deer flies are the ones which take a chunk out of you and horse flies aren't much better. At least the horse flies are big and kinda slow so their easy to kill.

Some people are allergic to Black Fly venom and swell up big time, especially those from "away" who haven't have any experience with them. You'd be wise to carry a good supply of antihistamines. For the rest of us, it takes half a dozen bites to build up an immunity and after that their just annoying. Really annoying. What they lack in size they make up for in numbers.

It's hard to predict exactly when they are the worst and it varies depending on location. Typically late May to early June is the worst, but they are around all summer. If they start to get annoying in the afternoon, it's a good sign there will be thunderstorm soon. Black flies are day light bugs and go to bed after dark when it cools down. However, as soon as the Black Flies go to bed, the mosquitoes come out and there is a little overlap at dusk.

Tics are not much of a problem in the Mountains of New England although early spring is when their most numerous. Lyme is primarily a coastal and suburban problem. It's the central Atlantic states where you have to be really vigilant. Gnats and chiggers seem to be mostly a southern problem.

01-02-2015, 22:25
I don't know what kind of flies.

People around here say, they are bot flies. I have seen bots eggs on horses legs in Washington State.

They are black, they are on Marias Pass near the horse outfits trailhead ramps. They bite big chunks right thru socks. Only stretch gaiters protect my ankles.

The stretch gaiters also keep out dirt and debris, with low cut hiking shoes, so I like to wear stretch gaiters. also, I don't like loose pants legs at the ankles, if no zippers at the ankles: I like to see where I put my feet.

01-02-2015, 23:19
black flies.. at least in the New England States (I live in New Hampshire) are bad from mud season in early to mid May until things start drying up in late June to early July. It may be different down south but in lowland areas in NH and Maine I wouldn't even go into the woods till mid June!

01-03-2015, 05:23
Anybody carry a flyswatter?

01-03-2015, 06:50
I know some folks dont use it, but i use high concentrate deet, as well as gators and sometimes a hat.I read a journal from 13 or 14 and the woman sent her clothing to a place in NC where they applied permathin? she claimed that it worked great for the entire trail.

Old Hillwalker
01-03-2015, 09:31
We love our black flies: http://www.maineblackfly.org/

01-03-2015, 10:15
We love our black flies: http://www.maineblackfly.org/

Sarcasm, I hope :)

Usually by the end of July they are all (mostly) gone. End of May and June are the worst time to be outside. Mosquitoes get worse, or are more noticable, after the black fly season dies down. Mosquito bites just itch. Black fly bites leave a huge welt that hurts and itches. Keep yourself covered up and apply DEET liberally is usually the best defense. I'm going to try Permethrin this year and see if it works as well for black flies and mosquitoes as it does for ticks.

01-03-2015, 12:04
I wouldn't purchase permathin clothing online. Go near it, in a store.

I don't know if I am allergic to permathin, but I feel really sick anywhere near it.

It would not be good to spend a lot of money on permathin clothing, then find out you don't like it at all.

I feel the same way about Deet, Jungle Juice, or spray-on products.

01-03-2015, 12:19
some people are more sensitive to chemicals than others. Permethrin is derived from some flower, so maybe you are allergic to the plant itself?

01-03-2015, 12:28
What flower?

I didn't realise I had allergies. My MD, last visit, said no shellfish.

I hadn't had shellfish. She said, it is the medical iodine allergy.

Really? But why take a chance. My mom had shellfish allergy,

I was just now posting in the allergies thread. Maybe allergies can be more subtle, and then a product emphasizes there is a problem.

I do know I am not the only one that feel sick around permathin.

01-03-2015, 13:39
Black Flies are tiny, about 1/8" long at best. They swarm in large numbers, typically around the head. Because of their shear numbers insect repellants have little to no effect.

The only effective defense is a head net, which is a real pain to wear while hiking (it gets hot and stuffy under there) but you'll want one handy for when you stop. Black Flies are a little slower then an average hiking speed, but they tend to collect in a swarm behind you and when you stop they all catch up. If your following behind someone, you need to leave a 20-30 foot buffer or you'll be in their Black Fly draft.

When you get to camp you'll want to start a small, smoky fire right away to help drive off the million or two flies which followed you to camp. Hopefully you will find a spot to set up your tent to take refuge in, but tent spots are hit or miss in Maine so it's a good idea to also have some kind of bug bivy you can use in shelters. This could just be a large piece of no-see-em netting you can string up over your bag.

01-03-2015, 14:24

The pyrethrins are a pair of natural organic compounds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound) normally derived from Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysanthemum_cinerariifolium) that have potent insecticidal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insecticide) activity. Pyrethrins are neurotoxins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotoxin) that attack the nervous systems of all insects (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect). When present in amounts not fatal to insects, they still appear to have an insect repellent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_repellent) effect. Pyrethrins are gradually replacing organophosphates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organophosphate) and organochlorides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organochloride) as the pesticide of first choice. They are notpersistent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_organic_pollutant), being biodegradable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodegradable), and break down on exposure to light or oxygen. The chemical structure of pyrethrins inspired the production of a variety of synthetic insecticides called pyrethroids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrethroid), such as bifenthrin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifenthrin),permethrin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permethrin), and cypermethrin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypermethrin).

lemon b
01-07-2015, 17:08
I live in Blackfly Country. Have a nice clean brook that runs 140 feet away from my backdoor. Whats happens in my yard is kinda fun to watch. Seems like when ever the Blackflys hatch, the dragon and Damsflys hatch. Then the fun starts divebombing dradon and Damsflys criss crossing the backyard having a feast. The blackflys never have won that battle yet. However, I've often run into some nasty packs of blackflys on the AT which crosses within a few miles of the house in three places. Becket Mt Rd., Washington Mt Rd, and Blotz Road. Worst area just North of Washington Mt Road. But of course down on the flats in Great Barrington is just about unwalkable at certain times and its more the mosquitos. End of April early May is the worst for the Blackflys. Mosquitos vary but June thru August on hot humid days suck the most. Also, Blackflys do not come out at night.

Another Kevin
01-08-2015, 22:11
The worst part of blackfly season? Mother brings it and Father takes it away again. (Mothers' Day to Fathers' Day) But a few stick around all summer.

Almost There
01-09-2015, 10:49
I hiked the Wilderness in Maine starting around June 10 from Katahdin. Mosquitoes were worse than the blackflies, but mostly kept from being bitten with Permethrin clothing and Deet. Only place I got killed by mosquitoes was at White House Landing after taking a shower...those suckers waited in ambush for me and killed me when I left the shower house. Thinking about heading up that way again this year, but I'll wait until July this time.

01-09-2015, 11:24
I know some folks dont use it, but i use high concentrate deet, as well as gators and sometimes a hat.I read a journal from 13 or 14 and the woman sent her clothing to a place in NC where they applied permathin? she claimed that it worked great for the entire trail.

I read that blog, too! It's called Walking with Wired. Great blog!! Link: http://www.walkingwithwired.com/search?q=ticks