April showers bring May flowers and unfortunately, they bring black flies too, and they can be a real drag as we head into the beginning of summer. Just when you are itching to get outside and enjoy camp, they swarm around your head and ankles making it tempting to give up and stay inside. Their nasty little bite can leave large welts on your skin that some find much more irritating than mosquito bites. In preparation for your trip, here are a few different tips, tricks, recipes, ideas and opinions:
- Skeeter Skidaddler: Try this all natural deet free Maine favorite! You can find Skeeter Skidaddler in the Tomhegan store and all throughout the state. Consisting primarily of essential oils, this bug spray has a longer shelf life than its competitors, is highly effective for 3-6 hours, is made by 85% US suppliers and has a pleasant fragrance.
- Essential oil blend: Essential oils have many powerful properties. We posted a few on our Pinterest page. This is one of our favorite: 10 drops Blue Cypress Oil, 10 drops Tea Tree Oil, 10 drops Eucalyptus Oil and 8oz witch hazel. Combined all together and put in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to repel biting black flies and other biting insects.
- Pine-sol: This outdoor solution is for your furniture and outdoor living areas. We have been told that flies and mosquitoes hate the smell of pine-sol. It is suggested to mix pine-sol with water in a 50/50 ratio and spray on your cabin exterior, including the table and furniture. The lemon scent seems to work the best.
- Summer Citronella Candles: This was a great DIY you can do when you arrive at camp this summer. Bring with you: mason jars, floating candles, lemons and limes, citronella essential oil, fresh herbs, twine or ribbon (optional). To assemble my candles, I first sliced up the lemons and limes. The fruit will float in the jar, so I recommend adding them in last. Place your fresh herbs in each jar (I used rosemary, lemon thyme, lavender and chamomile from my garden). Fill the jar about halfway with water and add about 10 drops of citronella oil to the herb and water mixture. Next, add in the sliced citrus and fill the jar the rest of the way up with water. Finally I added the floating candle and tied a piece of twine around each jar. Place one or two candles at your picnic table.
Black flies are most active during daylight hours, and particularly on cloudy days. They are on the move in the early morning and are the worst in the evening right after sunset. They tend to be active right before a storm, but hide during rain or cold.
Believe it or not, black flies care what you’re wearing. They seem to be attracted to dark shades such as red, purple or blue, so put on your best pastels during black fly season. Long sleeved shirts and long pants will dramatically reduce the bite zone. And if you want to get really serious about it, tuck your pants into your socks.
Avoid wearing perfume, aftershave, or scented body lotions when you are going outside. If you think you smell good, so will the black flies. Share your buggy tricks with us in the comments here on social media. We would love to hear your ideas!