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Bug Report: Black Flies

Black FliesNothing ruins a summer barbecue at the cottage quite like an invasion of black flies. Not only is their bite nasty, the mere sound of them buzzing near your head and the thought of them crawling into your hair or under your clothing is enough to keep some people indoors for the season entirely.

Black fly larvae can be found in nearly every type of flowing water. Once adulthood is reached, the flies take to the woods or forested areas, which oftentimes takes a bite out of summer camping fun.

If you live in Southern Canada, you'll want to keep your insect repellent on hand from early May until mid-June when black flies are most prevalent in this region. Farther north, black fly season can run from early May throughout June and July. In Canada's far north meantime, ice cold rivers force black flies to keep under wraps until late July or early August.

Some other tips to keep in mind: black fly numbers, and their tendency to bite, increase as sunset approaches. They also love dark colours, particularly blue, purple, brown and black. So if you're going to be outdoors in the evening hours, the lighter the colour of your clothes the better.

One strike against black flies is that they cannot bite through clothing. However, it seems they have mastered the art of crawling under clothing and biting in inaccessible places, such as the ankles and belt line. Tucking your pant cuffs into your socks will help prevent them from biting your ankles. You can also now purchase special jackets containing deet to help keep the flies at bay.

Some information courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Image courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture

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