|My arsenal for all bug situations|
The lack of mosquitoes and the abundance of blackflies are a reflection of the cool, wet summer we have had so far in Nolalu (Red Lake has fared better).
Typically the bug seasons go like this: May-to-mid-June blackflies, mid-June to mid-August mosquitoes, July-August ankle-biters and deer flies, September blackflies.
What is the best way to deal with them? Life is short so I'm not going to beat around the bush. Use insect repellent that contains DEET. There's no point screwing around with so-called natural repellents.
Mosquitoes are the easiest pest to keep off. Repellents with low concentrations of DEET will work. Flies are much tougher. The BLUE top Deep Woods Off contains 30% DEET and that is the minimum necessary to keep off ankle-biters. It also keeps away blackflies and, of course, mosquitoes. Anything less than 30% has zero impact on ankle-biters. The BLUE top Deep Woods Off works well on ankle-biters but it evaporates fairly quickly meaning you need to reapply the repellent every few hours.
It also works against ticks here in Nolalu. Just spray it on your socks and pant legs. Although there are lots of wood ticks here in Nolalu there are virtually none at camp in Red Lake.
A longer term repellent is Repel lotion. It contains 40% DEET and because it is a lotion rather than an aerosal sticks on for up to eight hours. I recommend this for anyone who wants to wear shorts and/or sandals while fishing in a boat mid-summer.
If you are sitting still, like at a picnic table or on the porch in the evening, a wonderful thing to have on hand is the ThermaCell. This has a tiny butane cartridge that heats up a repellent-soaked pad which keeps mosquitoes, blackflies and most importantly, no-see-ums (tiny gnats that can come right through the window screen at night).
No amount of DEET will keep away the larger deer flies or horseflies. However, a great product for dealing with these vicious biters is the Deer Fly Patch. It is a sticky piece of tape that you affix to your cap. It is incredible.
To see it in action, check out this link on YouTube.
I love this commercial's simplicity. Seeing is believing.
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