About Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a multimedia reporter for the Adirondack Explorer. He can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Mike’s newsletter

Reader Interactions


  1. Todd says

    We were unprepared for black flys one time at the cedar River flow several years back in late June. It was like something out of a horror movie. It only takes one encounter like that to make you prepare for the next. Now I even carry my bug net when snowshoeing

  2. Patti Brooks says

    Good article. But, does anyone have advice for us horse back riders? We can’t really dress our horses in nets altho we do use nets that cover the entire head.

  3. Bushwhack Jack says

    Bugs are a fact of life in certain parts of the world just as sand is a fact of life rafting down the Colorado River. You can’t escape it but just as our guides on my recent trip through the Grand Canyon said about sand, I say about bugs. “You have to learn to be one with them.” I know, I know, it is easier said than done but everything is relative. My first encounter with bugs outside the Adirondacks came in 1971 when I climbed Denali. We climbed the Muldrow Glacier route and on the sixteen mile approach the mosquitos were ferocious. For fun we would slap our arm once and then count how many of the bastards we killed. The record was twenty-six. That record stood until 1993 when I was portaging a canoe three miles across Manitoba muskeg country to the Churchill River. The terrain was described by my friend Doc Forgey, “Think of a gymnasium filled with a foot of water and then throw in a few hundred half inflated basketballs.” Tricky stuff. The black flies, locally called white socks, because this particular species had white feet, were thicker than a swarm of locusts only smaller. I decided to see if I would break my Denali record. I slapped my forearm, collected the flies in my hand and started counting. When I hit forty I threw the rest on the ground in disgust.
    Like I said, bad bugs is relative. So what do I recommend? Use bug repellant with DEET, it is the only type of repellent that really works. Wear a head net or jacket. (My favorite is the Canadian Bugshirt.) But most importantly become one with the bugs.
    (You might enjoy this video of bugs on one of our canoe trips in Northern Canada in 2010. https://youtu.be/0-tudBeDGAM)

  4. Barry Mcockiner says

    Bats! A healthy bat population will make the bug problem manageable. A single bat can eat a thousand mosquitoes per hour. To those people who are afraid of them, get over your fear. Bats are, for the most part, harmless and misunderstood creatures that are very beneficial to us. They do not carry rabies at anywhere near the rate that most people tend to believe. Also, you cannot contract rabies through a close encounter or even direct contact. You are not even at risk unless an animal carrying the virus actually bites you. Your chances of being bitten by a bat are extremely low. The adirondacks should host the biggest bat sanctuary on the planet.

  5. Boreas says

    I assume bugs were just as bad during the mid 1850s when outsiders first became acquainted with the ADKs. Why did it ever become popular?? I believe I have mild PTSD from blackflies, skeeters, and deer flies in my previous life. No wonder I loved winter camping!

    • Todd Eastman says

      Bugs and good mountain air were great alternatives to the disease ridden cities in petri dish summer heat and humidity…

  6. Larry Master says

    I’ve been using DEET-free and locally (Saranac Lake) manufactured “Bye Bye Blackfly” (also known with perhaps slightly different formulations as “No Bite” and “Wildwood” and “Carpe Insectae”) in stick and spray form successfully for many, many years to mostly avoid black fly bites. I just spray it on the rim of my hat, and if black flies are bad, on my skin. It is available in many local stores and on-line at http://allnaturalrepellent.com/. (I’m not convinced yet that it works as well for mosquitoes, and deer flies are a different matter.)

    I have not gotten ticks on me for many, many years as I spray my outdoor shoes, socks, and pant legs once a month in tick season (in CT and in the ADKs) with Sawyer’s permethrin (0.05%), available in some hardware stores and on-line (e.g., Amazon Smile). See previous Almanac post by Worth Gretter on this subject (https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/05/more-tips-for-avoiding-ticks-and-tick-borne-disease.html). It also works for chiggers in more tropical climates.

  7. Phil Fitzpatrick says

    I forgot to mention that the little buggers like to mate when its rainy and they want a good blood meal before hand. You may have noticed that they get most ravenous as the barometer is dropping before the rain.

  8. Deb. says

    Are they the size of regular flies or are they the smaller ones? I got covered in ones the size of regular flies stuck to my jeans from thigh to ankle, but in yard are little flies that are in swarms.

    • Michael Smith says

      It’s not that drastic, but that is my answer during the peak of black fly season. No thank you! Take me to the Water


    Why are all of the bug nets for sale dark colors? I understand that you need a black section to see thru, but the wearable bug jackets could be made of white netting. You would stay cooler and attract less black flies. They all seem to be army green.

  10. jd says

    the illustration of a black fly is a little off. the jaws are about right. they bulldoze into your skin with them. Not a needle like mosquitos. black flies are more gnat sized. and they have been called “buffalo” gnats for a reason. You will readily see the hump behind their head as they settle in for a meal.

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