Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-06-2009
    Location
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Age
    40
    Posts
    4

    Default Black fly question for cajun hikers

    I'm planning a sobo thru-hike in 2010 and mentally preparing myself for the black flies. Are there any cajun hikers out there who can compare June hiking in Maine to swamp camping in Lousiana? I'd like to know if I have a clue what to expect or if I'm just kidding myself. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default

    Welcome Tallaroo!! Having hiked Maine the last three years I can tell you that, while there are plentiful black flies and mosquitos in Maine in spring/early summer, they are easily held off with a simple application of DEET (as needed) - I use the 98 or 100%. It really is that simple to make those insects a non-issue. . . they get way too much publicity as to the negative aspect of hiking as far as I can tell.
    Have a great hike.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-16-2004
    Location
    Purgatory, Maine
    Age
    79
    Posts
    933
    Images
    18

    Default Mo info

    Quote Originally Posted by warraghiyagey View Post
    Welcome Tallaroo!! Having hiked Maine the last three years I can tell you that, while there are plentiful black flies and mosquitos in Maine in spring/early summer, they are easily held off with a simple application of DEET (as needed) - I use the 98 or 100%. It really is that simple to make those insects a non-issue. . . they get way too much publicity as to the negative aspect of hiking as far as I can tell.
    Have a great hike.
    To add some information from a Maine Native living in New Hampshire:

    Biting Black Flies can elicit a very aggressive allergic reaction in some people.

    They are not out at night and cool early mornings.

    They love warm sunny days.

    Often they are not deterred by insect repellents including low percentage DEET solutions.

    They exist during a fairly narrow temperature range in the summer. As the summer heats up, say in July on they tend to become fewer. Except on mountain summits that stay at lower temperatures due to elevation where they can hang out until fall.

    A fast hiker can usually out pace them. It's only when you stop that they attack with a vengeance.

    Once they start to diminish in warmer weather then the mosquitoes take over. Especially at night.

    Then of course there are the painful attacks of the summer Deerflies, and the nightime burning sensation of the No-See-Ums which in Scotland are called Midgies.

    What I'm waiting for is the morphing of the Tick into a winged insect. Now that will be something!
    Everyone has a photographic memory. Not everyone has film.

  4. #4

    Default

    I'm from south Louisiana and southbounded in 2001 (started in mid-June). Maine in June is definitely comparable, bug-wise, to Louisiana. It was worse, in a way--Maine doesn't just have black flies; it has deer flies and mosquitoes, too, and Maine's mosquitoes are just as bloodthirsty (though not as big) as Louisiana's. I wrote a little bit about the bugs in my AT journal (www.trailjournals.com/waterfall). Here's an exerpt:

    Another characheristic of the Wilderness has been the BUGS. Mosquitos ravage us in the morning, then the black flies join them in the afternoon. And sometimes the big, shiny deerflies will join the bloodsucking party as well. No one goes unscathed. We all are bitten from head to toe, despite our bug headnets (the height of thru-hiker fashion!). We wear 100 percent DEET like it's aftershave or one of those good-smelling body sprays you get from Crabtree & Evelyn. I always feel silly spritzing it behind my ears, as if it is a fine perfume, but that's one place the bugs love to bite! I sometimes think that the true test of our endurance is NOT the rugged terrain, NOT the heavy packs, NOT the blistered feet . . . it's the bugs.

    I've hiked quite a bit in Louisiana but never hiked/camped very much down there when the mosquitoes were really bad (I'm a wimp). For me, Louisiana's hiking season starts in late September and ends in mid-April.

  5. #5

    Default

    Duh ... I southbounded in 2000, not 2001. Not sure what I was thinking there ...

  6. #6
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    DFW, TX / Northern NH
    Age
    62
    Posts
    7,693
    Images
    27

    Default

    I think the biggest issue with the blackflies is how nasty their bites can be compared to a mosquito bite. Usually a mosquito bite heals in a day or so and isn't an open wound like a blackfly bite. A black fly bite can take many days to even weeks to heal if you react badly to them and they often can fester and even become infected. The blackflies also manage to land and crawl under and into almost any opening in protective clothing to get to their meal-the buggers are quite persistent.

    How thick can they get? One time I drove a disabled friend of mine up to a lookout on the Kancamagus Hwy here in NH in late May. Just opening the truck doors to get in and out resulted in literally hundreds of blackflies in the truck. Now honestly, usually they aren't quite that bad, but when they swarm it is almost incredible how many of them there can be, and you can literally breathe them in they are so thick.

    Some good news is that they are only out during the day and don't fly (well) in the wind. And some people aren't as bothered by them as others, and the hatch sizes can vary. They can be really thick in one place and absent in another and it varies year to year.

    The best anyone can do is tell you to wear long legs and sleeves and use DEET or Sawyers Broad Spectrum(which has a fly repellent-my favorite). The rest is all kind of just luck of the draw.

  7. #7

    Default

    A bug headnet is good, too, to keep you from swallowing/breathing them. Nothing quite like a blackfly choking fit ...

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-14-2006
    Location
    The wilds of Maine
    Posts
    2,983

    Default

    We locals live and breathe them, no biggy.
    When the blackflies are biting, so are the trout.
    I can see where they would be rather annoying for people who aren't
    accustomed to them or prepared for them.
    Think Deet (Bens 100 in the lil orange bottle) like warraghiyagey and others have mentioned.
    WALK ON

  9. #9

    Default

    I don't react badly to black fly bites, so I let them bite and after a dozen or so an immunity builds up. Then thier just annoying. Afterbite helps keep the bites from getting itchy.

    However, those who react badly to the bites are a sorry sight. I've seen welts as big as half dollars on some people. Get enough of those and it looks like someone beat you with a stick!

    A head net and a tent with netting will help keep your sanity if you happen to be out when they are at thier thickest.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #10
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    DFW, TX / Northern NH
    Age
    62
    Posts
    7,693
    Images
    27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    However, those who react badly to the bites are a sorry sight. I've seen welts as big as half dollars on some people. Get enough of those and it looks like someone beat you with a stick!
    Like this poor SOB


    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...3Doff%26um%3D1

  11. #11
    Registered User TheKO's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-03-2007
    Location
    Tampa,fl
    Posts
    76
    Images
    1

    Default Dogs

    How do the flies bother dogs? Does their fur protect them or are they attacking the flies all of the time?

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheKO View Post
    How do the flies bother dogs? Does their fur protect them or are they attacking the flies all of the time?
    You bet they bother dogs. Man and beast are fair game for these pests. Moose spend as much time under water as they can when the flys are bad.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-31-2009
    Location
    Westchester PA
    Posts
    64
    Images
    28

    Default

    Im Cajun! but dont live in louisiana. im also doing a 2010 SOBO and dont really have much experience with the blackflies. i hope there not to bad

  14. #14
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    DFW, TX / Northern NH
    Age
    62
    Posts
    7,693
    Images
    27

    Default

    Depends more on when you go than anything else. They can be very annoying in May and June but usually taper off pretty quickly towards July. May is not a good time to hike anyway(snow and mud and streams) and the closer you get to July the more all the conditions in ME improve from a hiking perspective.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by warraghiyagey View Post
    Welcome Tallaroo!! Having hiked Maine the last three years I can tell you that, while there are plentiful black flies and mosquitos in Maine in spring/early summer, they are easily held off with a simple application of DEET (as needed)
    Actually a lot depends on body chemistry for the effectiveness of DEET. For some people, like this guy, it works. For others, Black Flies use DEET as barbecue sauce.

  16. #16
    Registered User Seeker's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-13-2005
    Location
    West-Central Louisiana
    Posts
    1,291
    Images
    8

    Default

    I grew up in Upstate New York and spent a lot of time in the Adirondacks. I lived in Knoxville, Tn for 7 years and spent a lot of time in the Smokies. I now live in west-central Louisiana (going on 7 years) and spend a lot of time in the Kisatchie National Forest and on the local bayous. The bugs are by far the worst in the Adirondacks. No place on Earth like that. The black flies there can be insatiable (thank God i'm not hypersensitive to them). The bugs are 2nd worst here in LA, and I never even have to wear repellent in the Smokies. Hope that helps.

    Oh. For the Adirondacks, in the April/May/June timeframe, i usually bring a good head net, the one with a hoop in it. I was up there last summer, early July, and just used repellent and was fine.

  17. #17
    Registered User boarstone's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-02-2004
    Location
    Brownville Me
    Age
    65
    Posts
    778
    Images
    11

    Default

    You might want to consider bringing and taking some over-the-counter antihistamine.
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-16-2004
    Location
    Purgatory, Maine
    Age
    79
    Posts
    933
    Images
    18

    Default Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by boarstone View Post
    You might want to consider bringing and taking some over-the-counter antihistamine.
    Benedryl......Good sleeping aid too.
    Everyone has a photographic memory. Not everyone has film.

  19. #19
    Registered User naturejunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-12-2007
    Location
    Reston, Virginia
    Age
    47
    Posts
    164

    Default

    A lot depends on when you start as well. Last year I started around June 15th-ish and black flies were a non-factor. The mosquitoes however, were big, nasty and came in cloud-like swarms. They will occassionally try to take you down in a rush. I also highly recommend DEET in the 95-100% concentration range.

  20. #20
    Registered User think0075's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-31-2008
    Location
    Reston, Virginia
    Posts
    58

    Default

    i have to say i dont think there is anything worse than the bugs in maine in early june. but theres nothing you can do but get a head net and some ben's 100 and be prepared to try not to scratch. at the same time its the experience of a lifetime i couldnt think of a prettier time to walk through maine and new hampshire right as spring is blossoming and summer is coming.
    a happy boddhitsva

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •