General Question

Jude's avatar

What is the best way to deal with black flies?

Asked by Jude (32098points) March 1st, 2012

Camping in the Upper Peninsula (Michigan) in May. Unfortunately, then, it’ll be black fly season. What can we do?

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18 Answers

janbb's avatar

Avon Skin so Soft works somewhat but in my experience, Black Fly season is bad news.

syz's avatar

You could scare them away with this.

DEET advertises that it works against black flies.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m guessing the Upper Penisula is similar to the Adirondacks and only the netting is going to work. They are nasty.

Jude's avatar

Oh, boy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Jude Yeah, these are the creatures from Hell. They treat the streams in the Adirondacks with a variety of Bt, and it’s almost survivable. Before they did that you could not be outside.

Jude's avatar

We’re going to try this. I guess that it works pretty well.

janbb's avatar

That looks like an indoor pest eradicator. How will you use it? Put it on your skin?

Jude's avatar

You spray that stuff on your hat and it keeps them away. That, along with DEET spray for your body.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Jude Seriously, have a backup plan. These flies are on a whole new level than anything else. You spray it on your hat and they’ll be rolling on the ground laughing, before they eat you alive. I’m not trying to scare you or anything, but these things are mean.

janbb's avatar

Yeah – do you have to go there then?

Jude's avatar

From the g/f:

This is what I think about the bugs – you really don’t know. They can be spotty (like bad in some spots and hardly present in others). Also, they may not even have hatched by the time we get there. Or they could be right in the middle of the hatching time and be crazy bad. It’s hard to tell. We’ll just play it by ear. When I was there before, people had warned me that they we terrible, but they were really only bad on a few days in a few certain spots and even then it was when you would have to sit still outside for awhile. If you keep moving they won’t be as likely to bother you.

If it turns out they’re horribly bad to the point where we can’t stand it we’ll just head back to the cabin and go hang out on the Leelanau Peninsula instead.

wilma's avatar

@Jude I would suggest that you get the mesh suit.
They are very lightweight and packable, if you don’t need it you aren’t out that much.
My sister and her husband went camping in the UP for their honeymoon. The black-flies were so bad that year, that when one of them was taking a dump, the other one had to be right there fanning the flies away from their butt. I’m not kidding.
Of course they might not be that bad this year, but for the money, I would rather be safe than sorry.

gailcalled's avatar

@wilma‘s link does not show a picture. This does

I summered in a high-intensity black fly hell in the Adirondacks for over 24 years. The ONLY method that works is the mesh body suit. I wore the top in late May and June in order to try to garden. It was extremely unpleasant.

Wearing it is very unsatisfactory, and if a few flies manage to slip inside, you have them buzzing around your mouth, ears and nostrils with no escape hatch. It is also hot and makes you sweat (which attracts even more bugs) and cuts down on visibly.

The sprays are noxious and not very successful.

Can you find another vacation spot? Spring skiing is fun.

Jude's avatar


If it’s awfully bad, we’ll stay at a B&B,.

wilma's avatar

Good plan @Jude . There are some lovely places to stay if need be.
@gailcalled hmm… the link with picture shows up for me? I wonder why it doesn’t work for you?

gailcalled's avatar

edit; visibility

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Jude I’m with your girlfriend on this one. You should play it by ear – it may not be nearly as bad as you expect.

HarryPotterFreak's avatar

Swat them, or wear the “Off” bug repellent, it works amazingly!

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