About Janet Reynolds

Janet is a frequent Explorer contributor and Adirondack visitor.

Reader Interactions


  1. Boreas says

    “…Palmer says. “They need a particular range to maximize their growth,” he says, noting that the ideal range for water temperature is between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    Wouldn’t that be ice?

  2. Boreas says

    Wouldn’t killing larvae and reducing blackfly numbers in an area using Bti also ultimately reduce numbers of their natural predators in the same area? Seems like a losing battle plan.

  3. James Marco says

    Boreas, Yup. I am sure she meant air temperature and not water temp. So, that part of the article is senseless. The best I have ever been able to measure flowing water was 34F. The air temp was -15. I would guess Janet means around 45-55F, which is more consistent with my experience with the critters.
    She also doesn’t mention permethrin. Sawyers is pretty good. It is not a repellent, but black flies don’t like it. They get a dose and within a few seconds they fly off, literally loosing interest in feeding. Works well on mosquitoes and ticks, too. I limit DEET to my hat, hair face and hands. Everything else is pretty much covered up. They MUST eat through your skin, to drink the resulting blood with their mouths, they do not have a proboscis like a mosquito. Stay out of the brush. You’ll stir up a swarming party in no time.

    No, killing larva with Bti leaves them available for fish. Gotta feed the brookies, hey ha… But, there is some detriment to fly eaters (warblers, swallows, etc.) They don’t have the afternoon feast. Generally, anytime below 55-60F you will be fairly safe and not swarmed by them. Just an occasional bunch that are a little slow to eat. Below 55F, they start looking like zombies, stuck to something, but very sluggish. Nights are great, non of those pests.

  4. Boreas says


    The natural predators I was thinking of were other small aquatic invertebrates that feed on the larvae while in the streambed. But, as you say, brookies gotta eat as well. Will fish eat dead larvae?

  5. James Marco says

    Yeah, brookies don’t care. They take my poor offering of wet flies. Hell, I have seen them eat pine needles from cedars. Maybe they are after the caddis flies, but I doubt it. One fish I caught was bulging. He had a piece of rotted wood almost half his size in his stomach. I have no idea what he thought he was eating. Crabs, hellgrammites, etc all eat detritus. I’m sure they do well on larva…either dead or alive. I thought about it back when it was introduced. But, they cannot kill them all. What would an ADK spring look like without the blackflies?

  6. Ray says

    Mosquitoes hunt by smell and mosquito repellents clog up their noses work well for mosquitoes.

    Black flies, deer flies and horse flies hunt by sight and hence mosquito repellents don’t work on them.

    There is some evidence that a zebra’s stripes reduce fly bites. My next experiment is to try a refery’s striped shirt.

  7. Don Boink says

    Thanks for the info on black flies. Missing from the advice part are a couple of remedies I found effective working on my camp thirty years ago. Skin-so-soft did a good job . I’ve also heard that the paper put in the drier called Bounce is good to rub on skin and put in your collar.
    Nice warm weather is the biggest help.

  8. Warren Harman says

    I live just outside the blueline and our town treats with BTI. However, when hiking or fishing within the blue line I’m at the mercy of the female blackfly. I’m a proponent of DEET mainly on my clothes and I do get bit. However, I have a remedy for taking the itch and pain away from a bite. Spit (or otherwise wet the bite) and sprinkle on meat tenderizer (either Adolph’s or McCormack’s) and rub it in. The itch will be gone until you rub it again which will require retreatment. This remedy also works on mosquito bites. Having a remedy for the consequences of a bite helps to relieve the mental anguish caused by the blackfly or mosquito.

  9. Don Boink says

    The Spring of 1990 I was building our camp on the Hudson River near the Glenn. My remedy for black flies was Skin So Soft liberally applied to exposed areas. Maybe it just made it hard for them to land or get a grip but to me it made life bearable while working and sweating. Taking a hike, use of a bug net worked well also. Some folks claimed a certain type of fern wrapped around the neck kept them off.
    Warm weather seems to shorten their season. That’s the Adirondacks, love it or leave it.

  10. George R Gallagher says

    James Marco – In response to your closing sentence: “What would an ADK spring look like without the blackflies?,” my response is: “It would be heaven without the hell!”

  11. Margaret Szeliga says

    I’m allergic to those black flies and as a child was rushed down the mountain to the ER (twice since my mother love her hiking) because my face swelled shut with hives. Living in Minnesota now and wondering what is the real name for black flies so I can find out if they are up north here.

    • Andy says

      yep we got em down in Minneapolis suburb called Bloomington right now bad my puppy was yard maybe 20 min on a line and was covered with hundreds of these biters the poor pooch. Freaked me out, now I am wondering how long til I get a city fined for not mowing the lawn because I don’t want to get swarmed too. Maybe I’ll wait til dark let it get below 50degrees hope neighbors won’t mind a late mow.


    I use a bug shirt for gardening and lawn mowing. If only they would make a bug shirt out of white netting. Why only dark green? The dark color attracts the Black Flies and heats you up.

    Physical barrier superior to all bug sprays or treatments. You just can’t bushwhack in a bug shirt.

    Can you imagine how bad life would be if black flies bit at night?

  13. Paul says

    What is this called? This is a trick my dog taught me. When the blackflies would be getting on her nerves she would come and sit close to me. Then after a few minutes she would get up and quickly move to another spot. It took a few times for me to realize what she was doing. By her moving quickly to another spot, she would leave all her flies behind. I used to call it “shagging your flies” but somehow that doesn’t seem like the right term. Would anyone know what this sneaky little maneuver is called?
    And of course I had to teach everyone else. Pulling the same stunt is actually quite funny. After the deed is done, I would sit, watch & wait. You know how it goes. First it’s a random wave in the air until it gets to the point where they just can’t take it anymore. Reaching their limit causes them to get up, all the while they have both hands going now, and cursing my little friends who been visiting.
    But what is the act of dumping your flies on to an unsuspecting person called?
    Thank you.

  14. Bill Miner says

    Late May and all of June – Black Flies. June , July & August – Mosquitoes. July, August & September – Deer Flies. Thought biting insects were done? October Deer Lice

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