View Full Version : biting bugs down south?

El Toro '94
07-10-2009, 02:59
Anyone have problems with mosquitos/noseeums/biting flies on the southern (south of NY) part of the trail? I don't remember bugs being too bad on my thru except for the occasional cloud of horse/deerflies in PA. The only mosquitos I encountered was one night at deer park mtn. shelter just south of Hot Springs. I'm debating as to whether to buy a net for my tent or not.

07-10-2009, 04:53
I use netting from May / June until Sept / Oct

BTW, NY & PA ain't the south

07-10-2009, 06:32
Must have been a dry year on your thru. This is a wet year . . . bring the net. :)

07-10-2009, 07:44
Will no-see-um netting stop chiggers from getting to ya? :)

07-10-2009, 08:04
Last month I hiked the Art Loeb trail (south to north), then east on the MST, and this week did an overnighter up at Grayson Highlands and on both occasions it wasn't mosquitoes or chiggers, but instead the swarms of gnats. After making camp and slipping into sandals I didn't notice the gnats were making a feast of my feet. Anyway I carry a small bottle of 100% deet and it worked to keep them at bay.

07-10-2009, 08:17
The no seeums are so bad in Florida that my last two camping trips made me swear I am going to wait til fall to go again. I can handle the heat at night but bugs and heat is an ugly combination. I tried everything last month while camping the thermocell works great for mosquitos but the noseeums I don't think anything kills them.

07-10-2009, 12:13
Will no-see-um netting stop chiggers from getting to ya? :)

No, but permethrin-treated clothing usually will. It's worth wearing long pants or me in most areas in the summer around here.

Ticks have been pretty bad this year as well.

07-11-2009, 13:13
Couple of weeks ago, up at Gregory Bald, it was the same story with the gnats. Even my permethrin-permeated cap and shirt didn't do the whole job. We all had wounds around the ankles. I've bought the lemon-eucalyptus stuff (PMK?) from REI, which is supposed to be superior to DEET for gnats. I'll resurrect the thread and report back...

07-11-2009, 14:13
I've never known knats to bite. They are just a nuisance by clouding around your face, flying up your nose and crashing into your eyeballs.

The "wounds around the ankles" were likely from no-see-ums or skeeters.

07-11-2009, 16:00
The "wounds around the ankles" were likely from no-see-ums or skeeters.

Or nasty stinkin' chiggers. :mad:

07-11-2009, 16:04
These were larger than gnats, but smaller than sweat bees. If you didn't get them off before they dug in, they left a small bleeding wound behind. You could actually witness the act of biting. Call'em what you want; I think that they are the critter most folks are complaining of...

07-11-2009, 16:25
Yes, the BIG gnats bite. They fly high though, not around the ankles. Permethrin usually works, but last week I had on permethrin treated gaiters and had a tick on my shin underneath, when I took them off.

07-11-2009, 16:26
Chiggers get on your clothing or skin and crawl in to their favorite tender spots. Isn't netting for flying things?

07-11-2009, 17:03
Beg to differ on the non-ankle biters. All four of us observed them doing that. In fact, after our arms, it seemed to be their favorite spot.

07-11-2009, 17:45
These were gnats and about 3-4mm in length and swarms of them and they flew about the face but also the feet (once the boots were off). The ones I swatted were full of blood. The following link has a good synopsis:

07-11-2009, 18:02
Only problems NY south to mid VA really is the ticks. Some deerflies around the Potomac.

07-11-2009, 18:35
Hiked from Stecoah Gap to the NOC two weeks ago, with an overnight at Sassafrass Shelter. I witnessed the same ankle-biting/hovering gnats. Left welts that itched for days and caused both ankles above the sock line to swell for at least 3-4 days. They were not skeeters or stinging bees...I couldn't exactly ID them, but appeared to be some sort of gnat. They seemed to go away when the sun went down and it cooled. :)

07-11-2009, 19:10
The reaction to their bites seemed to vary. I just had a little scab. OTOH, my wife, who reacts very strongly, even to a skeeter bite, had the same swelling you did. Sundown did calm them down, as did a good stiff breeze when a cold (?) front came through. I finally gave up on my permethrin cap, with the French Foreign Legion scarf, when I realized that the bill was just accumulating C02 in front of my face and that was drawing them in...

John Klein
07-11-2009, 19:17
I hiked from Dicks Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap 2 weeks ago. I wore shorts because I thought long pants would be too hot. Never again. Between plant rashes and bug bites, my lower legs were tore up by the time I was done. I had treated my clothes (T shirt, shorts) with permethrin and I had picardin to spray on bare skin but I didn't use it consistently until after the bugs started biting. I'll use permethrin again but next time I'll treat my socks, too. Biting bugs got at my feet too. I wonder if they got in my socks at night when I left them outside to dry after laundering them. I also wonder if they got in my shoes when I left them outside my tent at night.

07-11-2009, 19:29
They will get in your tent. We left our Double Rainbow (doors on both sides) open one afternoon, and, when we went to bed, the tent probably contained 150 of the biting gnats (or whatever they are). They were quiet, unless you had to get up and turn on your headlamp, in which case you were attacked again. As I lay awake, I thought of a solution. I always carry an emergency length of duct tape. The next AM, I started mashing them between the top of the tent and a 1" section of tape. Ten minutes, and 3 or 4 pieces of tape, later, they were all residing outside on the ground on my improvised fly paper...

07-12-2009, 12:24
WRT biting bugs, anyone know when "chigger season" ends down south? Does it last all summer? Pleeeaase help!......:)

07-12-2009, 13:02
Pretty much all summer, but heaviest early. Here's a link from TX A&M - LINK (http://insects.tamu.edu/extension/bulletins/L-1223.html) & Wiki - LINK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombiculidae)

07-13-2009, 22:55
I am a bug magnet. For the most part if it is not too cold for bugs to be out I am getting bit. I have been told it was because I sweat so much, but no matter where I am at I find bugs that like to bite.