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Black Flies!!

Amsterdam, The...
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Black Flies!!

Hi All,

With a week to go before we are staying in Algonquin park we are getting a bit terrified about the Black Fly reports! The idea of bugs that crawl under your clothes to bite is just ruin my holiday pre pleasure. My and my girlfriend were planning to do a hike and take a canoing trip but now I don't know it that such a good idea.

I saw the bug jackets and heads but i guess you don't walk around with those on day and night and I guess only tourist from the city that are complaining like me wear those clothing :-)

Can someone convince me that I don't have to worry or just say that they aren't out there yet next weekend :-)

thanks

Rolf

The netherlands

Burlington, Canada
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2,564 posts
28 reviews
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1. Re: Black Flies!!

Bug shirts should be worn at all times while camping, canoeing etc... if you drive into town take them off but put them back on once you leave. You will not feel out of place wearing them.

A couple of tips...wear bug repellent. Look on the label and it should have about 30% deet to be effective. Look on the label.

Make sure to wear a hat. They like to get into your hair. Or by the bug hat which covers your entire head.

Try to find wind. The windier the better as it will keep the bugs away. Have lunch on a windy point by the water.

Black flies are only around in daylight hours so after dark you will not have to wear your bug shirts (unless you have mosquitos but I think the nights will be too cool for mosquitos).

If you have your tent open and you see black flies inside don't worry. For some strange reason a blackfly will not bite you if you are indoors.

Finally, have a look at this.....it's from the National Film Board of Canada....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjLBXb1kgMo

Edited: 19 May 2013, 19:03
detroit
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
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5,675 posts
19 reviews
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2. Re: Black Flies!!

Thats more about black flies then I ever knew before, lol.

We don't have many where I live but then it doesn't take many to cause a problem. Pesky flies that won't leave you alone. If you walk away, they follow after you. Bring a flyswatter with you for your tent, they can be easily killed if they are the type that stay still once they land. I keep a swatter on my outdoor table in my backyard. Helps alot.

Burlington, Canada
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2,564 posts
28 reviews
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3. Re: Black Flies!!

Hi SS. Yeah, this type of fly is tiny and unlike the mosquito which pricks you with his needle the black fly bites and tears a small chunk of skin. It hurts much more than a mosquito and in the spring when they are in full force they can drive a normal person completely crazy.

SE Ontario
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19,625 posts
15 reviews
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4. Re: Black Flies!!

Well ... my neighbour tells me the black flies aren't too bad at their Algonquin area cottage this weekend, so you might be lucky...however I wouldn't count on it. I'll just point out here, as I have in another thread about the pesky bugs, it is really important you have repellant, as Krusty points out (Muskol is one). Most of us have built up an immunity to the effects of the bites, but if you've never been bit, or encountered them before, then you can have a nasty reaction. They will itch like "heck", but if you've no natural built up immunity,the effects can be worse. Wind on water is a good thing...

And yes SS - these black flies are not at all like regular flies at all ... the closest cousin would be what I believe southerners call no-seeums.

Almaguin Highlands...
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5. Re: Black Flies!!

Yes, the black flies are out, but don't let them stop you from having a great time in the park.

To echo krustytripper, do wear your bug jacket. You won't look silly and no, it's not just the tourists that wear them. I practically live in mine during the few weeks of black flies. If you get the jackets with the hoods, wear a ball cap or other brimmed hat underneath; it keeps the mesh from sitting against your face and is much more comfortable and effective that way.

You won't need bug jackets in town, just in the woods. You may not need the jackets on while canoeing since even a light breeze over open water keeps the bugs down.

Bring inspect repellent containing deet; wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing; avoid using a lot of scented products such as hairspray/gel, perfume, etc. Have fun!

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
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4,054 posts
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6. Re: Black Flies!!

I actually just got back from Algonquin last night after 4 days there. I really didn't find the bugs all that bad, I mean I've seen worse at other times of year. There were a few places and times where the bugs were pretty intense and terrible but it wasn't a constant thing, not sure if they're still ramping up or what. In fact most of the worst swarms of bugs just buzzed around our heads without biting us, I think we had more bites from lake trout than blackflies, which made me pretty happy. One or two of the guys on my trip wore a bug hat with a net over the face and was pleased with the results.

This was something like my 5th time in Algonquin in May and I've never experienced black flies as badly as people talk about. Take what krustytripper says to heart: blackflies, much moreso than mosquitoes, are very picky about conditions and will disappear when it's windy, cool, or dark. If the blackflies are bad, canoe tripping is a better idea than hiking, since it puts you safely out on the water during the peak blackfly hours. If the mosquitoes are out they do tend to attack in the evening when you're at your campsite, but they're an all-day menace in shady, low-lying, muddy/swampy areas -- another argument for canoeing over hiking (but have the bug repellant ready for portages).

ontario, Canada
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261 posts
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7. Re: Black Flies!!

Some great advice here.

The itch and pain from a black fly bite can drive a tea-toadler to drink whiskey from the bottle. So, heed all advice here to wear bug dope (with Deet!) and concentrate on applying in the sensitive areas e.g. neck, ears, backside of arms and don't forget behind the knees and ankles - I'd suggest using it even if you're wearing a bug jacket.

The other part not mentioned is how the constant buzzing of black flies around your head and ears is enough to drive one crazy. So, if you're wearing a bug jacket and you've applied bug dope... ignore them. I swear, the more one flails their arms about the more black flies they attract.

Last, but certainly not least, don't allow them to get in the way or deter you from going on a very memorable trip.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Black Flies!!

I just returned this weekend as well. I've been out about 5 or 6 times and those new to the backcountry experience will be driven insane by Black Flies, especially during portages or if your campsite is well secluded from wind / coast.

Seriously: bring a bug net. And be prepared to wear your bug jacket or rain jacket at all times. Black flies love to just get in your face and annoyingly, your ears and even buzz around your eyes. Mosquitoes will add to the mix during dusk or after a good rain (which is basically guaranteed regardless of the weather report). Hiding behind the mesh of a tent will feel good after a while, and you may look insane as you swat the phantom feeling of bugs around your head.

Oh, and DEET does nothing. Or it feels like that because they'll keep pestering you.

I'm not saying you won't have fun, but go prepared for the bugs and don't under-estimate them. Buy a cheap Coghlan's bug jacket just in case (12 bucks at MEC) and wear long sleeves. You can switch to shorts if you feel up to it, but better you go in prepared than run out because you can't stand the bugs.

PS. They'll hound you even on a canoe if you go near the coast, and stick with you for several minutes even when you're in the middle of a lake.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Black Flies!!

Rolf,

I just returned from Algonquin a few days ago. Wear the full bug suit. They're out now, and they're pretty bad. This whole area flooded a bit in recent weeks, so there are more bugs than usual. Sorry for the news, and don't let it bother your plans. Just wear the big jacket with the full hood (like everyone else) and enjoy it anyway.

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
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4,054 posts
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10. Re: Black Flies!!

I would disagree that DEET does nothing. They'll still buzz all around you, so it may feel like it does nothing IF you let that drive you crazy, but they won't much land on you if you're wearing it, so it's all psychological. Anyway maybe I'm just resilient and/or crazy but I was in Algonquin this past friday through monday and I went without a bug suit/hat and only put on DEET (in Muskol lotion form) on the first and last days when we had a long portage.

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