Monday, July 10, 2017

How to beat the bugs this summer

My arsenal for all bug situations
A remarkable thing happened in our house yesterday -- I swatted a mosquito. It was remarkable because it was the first mosquito of the season, at least inside the house. So are we having a bug-free year here in Nolalu? Hardly. I have never seen the blackflies this bad but it is like they are the only bug (other than ticks, something new for Brenda and me to deal with).
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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Anonymous said...


That Repel lotion works great and is my go to! (You are the one who got me on that stuff) For someone looking to keep bugs off without using DEET, a good friend of mine who works as a line man for the telephone company uses a home made mixture that works just as well...

Orange Listerine
Vanilla Extract
Avon Skin So Soft Lotion

Ratios are 3 parts lotion, 2 parts listerine, 1 part vanilla

Neil from Chicago

Anonymous said...


Don't forget you can become one, with the bags. Not sure how well this works in the bush.