black flies

hollyk(5A or 5B)May 12, 2006

Hi everyone,

Any great tips on defeating the "lovely" black flies that are so prevalent this time of year? We can't garden w/out them swarming our heads and biting us. The bites itch as bad as mosquito bites! I wear a mosquito net over my head but they can crawl through the openings and get inside. We spray our hats and clothes with Cutter, with DEET, but it doesn't work for more than an hour. Do the Bounce dryer sheets really repel them? Any advice is welcome!

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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

No advice. I've given up fighting them. After my first year of living full-time up here in the northern Aardvarks, I learned a few things about them.

The first bites, over the first week or so may swell up to marble size, hurt and bleed like hell, but the effects lessen as the body builds up a temporary degree of immunity.

Knowing that they will be coming makes me get all the major gardening projects, like building trellises, prepping the raised beds, and strolling aimlessly around the garden done early in the spring.

I've learned that black fly season is an excellent time to sit in front of this computer and try to earn my living without feeling guilty that I'm not out pulling weeds.

I learned to get a lot done outdoors in the early morning hours since black flies seem to sleep late in this neck of the woods. Also to take advantage of very windy days.

I've found that they tend to hug the shoreline, so an excellent survival tactic is to spend many hours fishing from the boat out in the middle of the lake.

I heard that eating a lot of garlic is a natural deterrant. Since I don't care for large quantities of garlic, I learned that creating a thin paste of garlic and smearing it on the skin doesn't deter the critters, but does deter neighbors.

I learned that 5 or 6 weeks of hell is a small price to pay for living up here in paradise.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 1:26AM
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I agree with everything that Wayne says (especially about your neighbors and the garlic!) I never seem to get badly bitten, but my husband and a friend of mine get badly bitten. The friend tried taking (eating) brewers yeast (a tablespoon a day). However, you have to start the regiment a couple weeks before black fly season starts. It did help to some degree.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:56PM
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hollyk(5A or 5B)

Sorry for the late reply - Wayne, your msg has me chuckling! Especially the garlic part. But you are SO right. A small price to pay for living in this glorious part of the world.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 5:33PM
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green_panther(Upstate NY)

We have the same problems, but the peace and quiet are well worth it to me (I like in the middle of a swampy wood! LOL) We were the mosquito nets AND spray them with MAXIDEET. In combination with heavy long sleeves and long pants... that is about all we can do. Getting everything done early is the best advice. Mornings are nice... by evening they chase my car up the driveway (Im not kidding!).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:10AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I've seen this advertised but have not tried it. It's a patch you put on a hat.
from their website:

"The Tred-Not DeerFly Patch is simple, effective and clean. No messy oils or lotions."

The DeerFly Patch was developed following years of study into the flying and attack habits of Deer Flies. It was discovered that Deer Flies typically buzz around your head in circles, lighting momentarily several times before biting. They attack moving objects from behind and high.

Seeking a non-chemical solution, different types and colours of strips were tested. It was determined that skin coloured strips were most effective and that the back of a hat was the best location. Lengthy testing was conducted to develop an adhesive that would immobilize the flies and be effective in varying weather conditions.

The end result is 2" by 6" flesh-coloured patches which attach to the back of the cap or hat. Attacking deerflies land on the patch believing it is a "good feeding place". When they do, they are stuck. The Deer Flies are no longer a nuisance flying around your head or biting.

There are no messy lotions to rub on your skin, There are no toxic substance or odours. DeerFly Patches were developed and are manufactured in the United States.

Here is a link that might be useful: fly patch

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 10:04PM
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