View Full Version : Home Remedies for Black Flies

01-21-2010, 15:47
I know about treating clothes with Permitherin and treating exposed skin with Deet to discourage black flies but, today someone told me that carrying an unscented dryer sheet in the brim of your hat or somewhere on your pack will discourage black flies. What does anyone know about that or any other home remedies for the hoards of little buggers?

01-21-2010, 15:47
Wear window screen. ;p

01-21-2010, 15:50
All you ever wanted to know about Black Flies can be found here:


Yes, there is a section on prevention there too!

01-21-2010, 23:05
On a previous thread, I mentioned using Fly Dope to keep black flies away. I feel it does the job, and contains no DEET. However, the stuff has a very powerful, pungent "scent", kinda like skunk spray mixed with diesel oil. These days I use a boonie hat with a built-in bug net, and rub Ultrathon on all exposed skin. Seems to work for me.

01-22-2010, 08:46
It's not home made, but it sure worked in the Arctic... http://www.bugshirt.com/

I got both the shirt and the pants and had no problem with bugs, except for potty breaks. I called it my sanity suit.


Old Grouse
01-22-2010, 09:43
Anyone ever hear "The Blackfly Song" by the late, great Stan Rogers? It captures the experience very well.

Hikes with a stick
01-22-2010, 10:16
That rumor was started by the companies that make dryer sheets, so they can sell more sheets!

01-22-2010, 10:32
That rumor was started by the companies that make dryer sheets, so they can sell more sheets!

More outlandish home remedies on repelling bugs can be found at www.snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/skeeters.asp)

01-22-2010, 11:13
Best home remedy i know of is to stay home, experimenting with home remedies out there in the woods is asking for a blood bath, once one of them gets a taste of you they spread the word , and word travels fast.

01-22-2010, 11:16
"Can't Win, Don't Try."

02-08-2010, 17:20
Some of the locals say that they use Vicks Vapor rub right around their ears and neck and it keeps them away... Or they were just screwing with me. But either way they werent that bad last year! Plus, they keep the tourists away and the mountains quiet!

02-08-2010, 18:10
Parts of Australia are plagued with flies that relentlessly try to get to your face. They have something called a "cork hat" that is just what it sounds like - a wide brimmed hat with about a dozen little corks dangling from strings around the brim. If you can put up with all the little swinging corks, apparently it's enough to keep the flies away. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it myself, and I assume for the Aussies a cork hat is the lesser of two evils. Would it work for the blackflies here in the good ol' US of A? I'm not sure, but maybe someone could give it a try sometime and let everyone know.

02-08-2010, 18:10
Cover with clothing. tuck stuff in. snug cuffs. They only crawl up. No soapy/scented stuff.

You will need DEET.

The best home remedy is being near someone they favor.

And then you still will want a little DEET.

02-08-2010, 18:14
Here's a picture of that Aussie Cork Hat. You know you'd be stylin'...!


Old Grouse
02-08-2010, 18:19
For many years L.L. Bean claimed that its chamois shirt in the red color repelled black flies.

02-08-2010, 19:49
According to the people in New York who sell it, this stuff is supposed to work:


Jack Tarlin
02-08-2010, 19:53
As a lifelong New Englander, here's my particular home remedy for avoiding the annoyance of Black Flies:

*Avoid the backwoods til after Springtime.
*If thru-hiking, don't Southbound.

Works every time.

02-08-2010, 20:02
I find eating a clove of fresh garlic works great at repelling insects, they still swarm around but they rarely bite.

As an added bonus I have never been attacked by a vampire (I attribute this to my eating the garlic).

Its bigest downside is it also does an equally effective job at repelling my wife so it also highly effective form of birth control as well.

02-08-2010, 20:10
I always bring deet but I don't use it unless things get totally out of control.

I like to stay along the coast during black flie and mosquito season.
Interestingly, the natives here did the same thing, coastal in summer, inland in winter.

If I had to travel inland in summer, highlands would be a better choice, and perhaps more open rivers and lakes. Of course they are still going to find you, somewhere, especially on long inland hiking trails that go through varied terrain, like the AT. Smoke can help. Clothing can help. Deet can help. If there was ever a can for an enclosed tent I would say it was inland during bug season. Those simple all mesh tents look very attractive. That and a simple rain tarp.

Seriously though, I don't have much experience with bugs. I tend to avoid them.

02-08-2010, 20:19
As for the dryer sheets, I found them fairly effective with mosquitoes. I have a lot of family members that swear by them when gardening to keep the bites at bay. I usually wear one in my pony tail and makes you smell nice too. I learned the hard way that it doesnt work on bees and its ability to keep the pests away last maybe a few hours in the sun.

02-08-2010, 20:33
Here's a picture of that Aussie Cork Hat. You know you'd be stylin'...!


Better than waterboarding!