Deer flies are heavy and very active. Have not seen Deer flies like this in years. They were relentless thru the day and active up until dusk. Mosquitoes are still very heavy. Active really at dusk and into the evening. Very heavy on the portages. I was in the park last year at the same time, same location and the flies this year are substantially thicker as compared to previous year
I am not sure when the deer flies subside as I have always avoided the park between mid may and June...and have never encountered them before over the years.
There was no avoiding them. They were out on the water, and are also very strong fliers, so even wind does not keep them at bay. There are present in shade and full sun. The best defense is to were long pants and socks as they want to bite your legs and ankles. But they will alos go for your neck. Obviously with really hot weather this creates another issue in that you are covered up.
I don't know when they will subside, but suspect that a few more weeks of dry hot weather will burn them and the mosquitoes off.
Been a while since I posted here (probably since my last random question prior to last years trip lol).
We are taking a nice light trip up to Maggie lake via the Western Highlands backpacking trail. Yes I know Canoeing is more fun, yes I wish that was the case again this year, but alas for logistical purposes we have some people joining us later and solo canoeing is not an option.
That all being said I am beyond stoked to get out to Algonquin again, this will be the first test of My Hennessy Hammock and im looking forward to a great nights rest after long hiking filled days.
Does anyone have any experience with this time of year, location and bug awareness? I know it changes each year based on early/late spring etc but if someone could chime in here with a recent trip up that would be great.
Otherwise I will assume the deer flies will be joining us the whole time and big gear will be needed.....
terrible this year indeed. What I do is wear a really wide-brimmed straw hat, and wrap a fly tape around the top. The buggers like to land on your highest point, and come in from behind. Once they are stuck, other flies see them and think its a good spot to land also. You'd be amazed how well this works. It has made summer camping enjoyable for me. Saves the neck burn too.
I believe it was Mark or John Scarlett that mentioned double-sided fly tape they use on the back of their hats, from in a post a few(?) years back. You used to be able to find it at Lee Valley, but if it's available I can't find it on their site. It's not the product that you hang from the ceiling and use a thumbtack to support the looped end, but akin to the 'sticky trap' but in much smaller sizes (~2" x 3").
Mosquitos/deerflies/stableflies/horseflies/no-seeums/etc, in fact almost all insects were primed for a good year this year because of the good snowpack, wet elongated spring, wet summer so far and 'warm' 2010/11 winter.
Deerflies/horseflies generally 'slow' down mid-to late August and peter off into September. They peak in July, and they will be 'bad' on your trip but there is power in people numbers: more eyes watching each other to help with the slap-fest, not to mention dilute the bugs/person ratio. They can bite through light-medium weight clothing. Keep moving and stay in the water (less blood-filled surface area exposed), portages will be bad but once on the water they shouldn't be an issue (stable flies may though) and most open campsites should be fine. Deet I find doesn't work well on them, so use your cat-like reflexes honed. Wearing a hat as EGB stated is a good idea and will help reduce the bites (flies will land and be passengers on them for a bit). Stable flies tend to hover around your ankles/feet, horseflies on your back and legs and deerflies on your shoulders/arms/head.
Headed into access #4 this Saturday. With all of the posts about how bad it is this year on bugs, I decided to take a gamble and purchase a Thermacell. All of the reviews spoke very highly of it but ofcourse, one never knows until you try it out personally. I will make a mental note to post my experiences (both on the bug count and experience with the device) when I get back.
I haven't used them myself but they sure look effective (+ the psychological benefit...). Personally I'm the old fashioned type and prefer the hand-swatting and patience technique, then throw their smushed carcasses in the water or on the ground for the other critters (ants/fish/grubs/etc) to dispose of.
You will encounter stable flies as well, they've been out for 3 weeks or more now and are growing in numbers (peak in early August). Not much you can do with those other then swatting. They look like young house flies and almost as fast. A challenge to kill and a real pain when paddling. They like to lay-in wait around your bare ankles (assuming your wearing sandals), very hard to detect on your skin until they begin biting (painful sharp bite), generally out of reach of hungry dragonflies (stay low, small profile, fixed position) and rarely leave the boat (e.g. you have to kill them). Stableflies are a worthy opponent. We're lucky they don't have the numbers of other biting insects and their season is short.
Andy - please do let us know what you think of the Thermocell. Don't know if they will be effective against deer/horse flies, even under perfect conditions (small confined areas on windless days).
There was one trip in the east end where the flies were bad on the portage. It was so humid that bug spray was sweated off in a minute. So, swallowing my pride, I draped a towel over my head, neck and shoulders and held it in place with a my cap. It wasn't pretty, but very effective. Since then I've just used a bandana for the same purpose. Less goofy looking but almost as effective. Plus it tucks under the cap better.
I assume long socks would help as a defense vs. stable flies? Not for me, for the kids. I am looking forward to killing a stable full of stable flies with no apologies to the animal rights activists.
On a related note, a recent survey was published regarding the number of bugs killed by cars annually. The numbers are staggering. We should have more highways in Algonquin to keep the mosquito, black fly, stable fly, deer fly, horse fly and no-see-um populations in check! Of course, that's a tongue in cheek statement - please don't anybody fly off the handle on that one. ("fly" pun intended)
Socks, depending on their thickness, will help reduce the bites, but not eliminate them. The stable flies use a proboscis, and like mosquitos and other similar insects can 'weave' it in/out and penetrate some clothing (thin and/or loose weaved) to reach the skin. Best protection is shoes/boots that run up beyond the ankle, but obviously not the best choice for kids in the summer in a canoe who likely spend as much time in the water as out.
Just be aware of them, socks as you suggested are better than nothing given the alternatives and will help those who complain the most about the stable flies. Socks that aren't worn but are handy can prove to be a great 'fly swatter' in the bow or stern against the marauding flies .
The one thing deeflies have going for them is they are very handsome flies - I love their eyes and colorful wings. But not to the point of letting them live, lol. Stable flies and horseflies are on the opposite end of the beauty scale, no love-lost there.
I have to respectfully disagree on the deerfly vs. horsefly beauty. Horseflies often have very cool, slate colored, large compound eyes while deerflies, while patterned, present a weak effort at camouflage.
Stable flies, agreeably, have no perceptible features to make them appealing to any human...even a soft hearted entomologist.
I have used this the last few trips, but they have been fairly bug-free so don't know its actual effectiveness.
You either spray or soak you clothes, then let them dry.
Supposed to last thru half dozen washings.
Is a contact poison for insects, as well as "sidestream" from multiple people are supposed to help keep an areas bug density a bit lower...
You can't buy it in Canada, only the Military gets it, but I have had no problem ordering it from Campmor or REI for the last few years. Customs lets it thru as they have opened one of the packages it was in...
Q. What is permethrin?
A. Certain products which contain permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear, and are registered with EPA for this use. Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. The permethrin insecticide should be reapplied following the label instructions. Some commercial products are available pretreated with permethrin.
Permethrin is a synthetic version of Pyrethrum found naturally in Chrysanthemum flowers.
It is also a component of Lice spray, and a treatment for scabbies.
It is highly toxic to fish ( it is fine, when bound to fabrics after drying )and cats.
From what I remember it acts on the insects CNS and is neuotoxic.
Just wondering how effective it is, I have been wearing it for a couple of years. Problem is I don't know how well it is working; I don't notice the bugs, so have I been bug-lucky the last couple of trips or is it doing as it says on the tin.
If I recall correctly Permethrin is an insecticide as opposed to a repellent. That means that the insects have to at least land on you, maybe even bite you, in order for it to have an effect. They won't bite anyone after that but they already got you.
The first paragraph is probably the most important one. Yes it gets referred to as an insect "repellent" but once you have an idea how it works, then you'll see that the repellent label isn't really appropriate.
I got back on Monday from six days out of Smoke Lake .. to Ragged, Big Porc and Bonnechere.
Compared to McKaskill only the month prior, the bugs were quite light.
Camping on windswept point campsites certainly played a big part in keeping the bug-bother down. But, I'm thinking that since this latest trip was through headwater lakes with mixed forest and few swampy areas .. plus a month later .. the difference was dramatic.
I didn't have to use my bug shirt, I was in shorts, and only used a few applications of bug spray. However, the swampy creek and bay at the south end of Big Porc had a lot of deer-flies!
The bug spray use was in the evenings after the wind dropped down.
I'm going to the park for a week or two starting at the end of July and was wondering how the bugs are in the portages now? We were at Sec Lake a couple weeks ago and the mosquitos were terrible in the portages.
I just got back from Wendigo down to Radiant and the mosquitoes were fairly tame, save for the big portage (775m I believe) where they were awful. However, the horse flies, deer flies and especially the stable flies were pretty bad. The good news is, they went away at night and after the peak mosquito time, we were quite comfortable.
Just back this past weekend from a quick trip up to the Western Uplands backpacking trails.
Really good time, quite the workout up all those hills heading into Maple Leaf/Maggie lake area.
Regarding the bugs, they were not bad at all. A few skeeters on the trail (typically just in the low laying boggy areas) and during the peak dusk hours. Brought bug gear but did not end up really using it. So that was a nice surprise.
The weather this past weekend was amazing.....good breeze, nice and warm/sunny. Ill do up a TR soon
Just came back from weeklong trip into: Rain, Hot, Islet, Sawyer, Jubilee, Moccasin & Cranebill.
All had relatively low amounts of mosquitos and deer flys, during the day. No black flys to speak of. However, portages were rougher with heavier deer fly's and about 1 - 2 hours in the evenings were tough with mosquitos.
I'll use this thread as the opportunity to report back on the new toy I purchased for the trip as well. ThermaCell, which had very high reviews for repelling insects. Although expensive, I can honestly say it is well worth the money. Turn it on and in 2-3 minutes all the skeeters / fly's literally left a surrounding area about 15 feet in diameter.
The last Thursday and Friday had perfectly clear skies, went out on the rocks by the water to stargaze and would never have lasted, had I not had this device with us which would have been unfortunate as the constellations were in full view and the milkeyway particularly was beautiful on both nights. I would highly recommend it, budget permitting
bring a needle and thread, some of those bugger are big enough to tear a chunk out of ya you'll need to stitch yourself up. unfortunately, there's no pics of our thurs-mon trip via big crow to dickson (bonfield ptg). too busy paddling, swatting, paddling, portaging, swat-swat-swating, portaging...
had an awesome time, after my 3rd trip i now have the bug for AP!! definitely no pun intended.