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Thread: Black Flies

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    Black Flies

    They're out in hefty numbers and biting here in Southern NH. With the volume of moving water up in the Whites this could be a nasty year!

    How do you handle it?....bug net, grease on a hat, Bens?
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

    http://www.onchristspath.com/4Kpage.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member sapblatt's Avatar
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    This will be my first real spring hiking this year...my plan is to use bug spray/liquid, net/hat and long pants and sleeves. I hope this is enought to allow me to enjoy myself.
    - Mike

    How bad can it be?
    Bobby

  3. #3
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    In the Adk High Peaks, there isn't a bug in the air, nor will there be for at least another 2-3 weeks.

    When they come out, I go with long sleeves, headnets, 100% deet, etc. Deet does not seem to deter deerflies, which have a much more painful bite than blackflies. Thankfully, there are only a few areas where these are prevalent. I just avoid those areas in bug season. If it gets bad enough, I abandon ship and go to the gunks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MtnMagic's Avatar
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    I've seen one mosquito last week during those warm days in the Whites and no black flies yet. As long as the temperatures remain cool it keeps the population down. The only repellent I know that works is a headnet and gloves. The locals say when the flies get bad, it's time to go inside the house. The average date of hatching in the Northern Whites is around May 10-12. Of course your mileage my vary.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim lombard
    How do you handle it?....bug net, grease on a hat, Bens?
    I usually treat clothing with permethrin before going out (lasts 2 weeks). Also protects against ticks.

    On the trail, just keeping moving is generally good enough. When it becomes time to resort to chemical warfare, DEET on skin does the trick. Headnet in camp if they are really bad. (Haven't used the headnet in many years...)

    Doug

  6. #6
    Member dolladoj's Avatar
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    i just picked up a hat that was treated with permethin (supposed to last 25 washings)

    http://www.exofficio.com/buzzoff/default.aspx

  7. #7
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dolladoj
    i just picked up a hat that was treated with permethin (supposed to last 25 washings)
    You can also buy a pump spray bottle of same. REI carries it, presumably other outdoor stores do too.

    Doug

  8. #8
    Senior Member Artex's Avatar
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    ***insert jaws theme music here***

  9. #9
    Senior Member lumberzac's Avatar
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    I had me first encounter with them a few weeks ago while trout fishing in central Saratoga County, NY. As for avoiding them, I like using the Lemon Eucalyptus repellant. When all else fails, I just hike faster, I've noticed that they can't keep up with you if you hike around 2mph or more.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MtnMagic's Avatar
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    After a google search and a few hours reading, I believe I'll stay with the head net. Here is why I decided:

    www.permetherin-repellent.com & http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pest...report/cox.htm

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim lombard
    How do you handle it?....bug net, grease on a hat, Bens?
    I feed them.

    http://mudhead.uottawa.ca/~pete/blackf.html
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  12. #12
    Member Hakuna Matata's Avatar
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    Pete,
    That must explain the avitar. BUG CONTROL

  13. #13
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Permethrin is an "insecticide," while DEET is an "insect repellent." Big difference! Insecticides are designed to poison and kill, whereas repellants are designed to confuse and repel (by mimicing compounds in the flies neural system).

    While DEET may also have some neurotoxic action, I put DEET on my skin and I have not suffered any effects. I am not going to start putting permethrin, a specifically designed neurotoxin, on my skin or my clothes.

    Be careful with some products, as they contain mixtures and are not clearly labeled. A friend of mine, who has horses, was using a product called Equicare Flysect Super 7 on her skin. It is marketed as a "fly repellant" for horses, but it contains both repellants (citronella) and insecticides (permethrin and pyrethrins). I pointed out the toxicity of this product to her; I think she has stopped using it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    More accurately, permetherin is a contact insecticide. It is sprayed on clothing and allowed to dry before wearing. It is inactivated by contact with skin, so there is no point in applying it to skin.

    DEET acts as a smell "blinding" agent--it blocks the chemical sensors used by mosquitoes to home in on you. DEET has been established to both be effective and safe when used properly.

    Abstract:
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/...urnalcode=nejm

    Full article:
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/...urnalcode=nejm
    Note comments on safety near the end.

    Excerpt:
    "Despite the substantial attention paid by the lay press every year to
    the safety of DEET, this repellent has been subjected to more
    scientific and toxicologic scrutiny than any other repellent
    substance. The extensive accumulated toxicologic data on DEET have
    been reviewed elsewhere. DEET has a remarkable safety profile after 40
    years of use and nearly 8 billion human applications. Fewer than 50
    cases of serious toxic effects have been documented in the medical
    literature since 1960, and three quarters of them resolved without
    sequelae. Many of these cases of toxic effects involved long-term,
    heavy, frequent, or whole-body application of DEET. No correlation has
    been found between the concentration of DEET used and the risk of
    toxic effects. As part of the Reregistration Eligibility Decision on
    DEET, released in 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency reviewed
    the accumulated data on the toxicity of DEET and concluded that
    "normal use of DEET does not present a health concern to the general
    U.S. population." When applied with common sense, DEET-based
    repellents can be expected to provide a safe as well as a long-lasting
    repellent effect. Until a better repellent becomes available,
    DEET-based repellents remain the gold standard of protection under
    circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against arthropod
    bites that might transmit disease."

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 04-25-2005 at 11:27 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Deet

    Yeah, I use DEET, too. But don't get it anywhere near your good plastic gear--like fly line. It dissolves the stuff!

    Took a memorable trip on the Allagash many, many years ago. At one meal in particular I remember lifting the headnet just long enough to stick a spoonful of food into my mouth and still getting zillions of black flies. That was in the days before DEET was generally available, so we used the infamous Swisher Sweets technique much of the time.
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

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