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Old 02-04-2021, 04:25 PM   #1
rbi99
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Queer Lake

Two springs ago I hiked into Queer Lake the last week of May. Big mistake!!! The black flies were so brutal that my permethrin sprayed clothes and DEET did absolutely nothing to deter them. My dog and I were forced to retreat after only one night at the lean to. When is a good time to get in there before those bastards come out in force? Looking to spend three "comfortable" nights there again this spring, but after the snow is gone.
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Old 02-04-2021, 04:52 PM   #2
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At least around here the black fly season is not predictable by date, it really depends on the weather and when the snow goes. There is always a window in there, but some years it's very short and some it's 2 or 3 weeks.
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Old 02-04-2021, 05:29 PM   #3
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The commonly accepted "danger" period is Mother's Day to Father's Day, but as Zach has said, it can be highly variable. The route to Queer may not be as dry as you may wish before early May. On the other hand, some of us look forward to just dealing with the critters, so that the wild places we travel to during that time of year are far less crowded with people. I have been very pleasantly surprised on Memorial Day with a multi day trip totally free of black flies. I have also been totally swarmed on the Fourth of July.
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Old 02-04-2021, 07:16 PM   #4
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I've been in that general vicinity 4th of July week for almost every year of my life. I never once remember the BLACK flies being an issue... DEER flies OTOH...

I've also been there in early spring on many occasions and never once did I have a black fly so much as bite me. A little swarmy sometimes.

Memorial day or around last week of May is always when I've been annihilated by black files. I go elsewhere around a 3-4 week window of late May, early June. I won't deny it, I've literally packed up and went home they were so bad.

I've also been around town and lived up there during that time of year, and while I would get bit here and there, it wasn't that bad. Especially now that a lot of towns do treatments. Dank and sheltered is not where I'd want to be. If you're out in a breeze, or riding a bike, they usually aren't too bad. Not Queer Lake...
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Old 02-04-2021, 07:31 PM   #5
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There's usually about 2 weeks between the end of snow melt across most of the ADKs and the beginning of black fly season, but as the other posters point out... it's super difficult to predict with any accuracy well in advance when exactly those two weeks will fall. And yeah, those two weeks also coincide with the height of mud season so don't expect dry trails.

Black flies do have 1 saving grace- they go away at night. If you can make it to nightfall, then the rest of the evening is usually bug free until daylight brings the black flies back. Mosquitoes and no-see-ums, in contrast, just get worse with the coming of dark.

I personally carry a bug bivy for lean-to camping during bug season. This allows me to enjoy bug free nights inside the lean-to. If I'm camped at a tent site, I can also pitch the bug bivy under a tarp, which allows me to avoid having to carry both a bug bivy and a tent.

A few years ago I also purchased a frameless bug house and have started carrying that on easier backpacking trips into buggy terrain. It is designed to be pitched over a ridgeline. It's still far from light but I've found that for trips during the worst of bug season, it's well worth the added weight.

Bug season itself lasts well through the summer across most of the ADKs. Black fly season is may through June, and then come mosquitoes and no-see-ums (although no-see-ums seem to be the most site specific- some areas get them really bad, others never get them at all). Deer flies overlap with mosquitoes and no-see-ums but get started a little bit later- mid to late July or so. How bad bug season is generally depends on a few factors, including how much snowfall there was that winter and how wet or dry spring was.

Across most areas of the ADKs bugs are usually pretty much done by late August. But there's a few areas where I've seen bugs after Labor Day. I've seen mosquitoes out and about (enough to be annoying) in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness on Columbus Day Weekend, even. And FWIW: Anecdotally, bug season seems to be lasting longer in general in recent years.
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Old 02-04-2021, 08:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
And FWIW: Anecdotally, bug season seems to be lasting longer in general in recent years.
Maybe a personal anecdote for you, but the data shows ice-out is earlier and ice-in is later, on average, than years past. It keeps shifting this way each year so eventually someone might notice the bugs come out sooner and stick around a little longer.

Last edited by montcalm; 02-04-2021 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 02-04-2021, 09:26 PM   #7
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In the years when my gang does a spring canoe trip, we generally go around the 1st of May. Occasionally, there might be a few black flies out then, if it's warm and calm. Another week or two, and we just stay away...

BTW, August is not necessarily bug free, that's prime stable fly season!
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:18 AM   #8
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Which Queer Lake? There are a couple in the Adirondacks IIRC. I've camped at the south of Big Moose Lake.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:38 PM   #9
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Still coming up the last week of May, but instead of backpacking I am taking the easy way out by staying up at Art Devlin's for six nights. My dog and I plan on getting in a climb or two and lots of trail hiking.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:28 AM   #10
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it is probably too late already. I was cutting wood in the SW Adirondacks last week. The early hatch, which annoys but tends not to bite (yet) is out now. The more aggressive crop with teeth will be with us within days.

Make a note: this is "Star Wars Day" on the calendar. May the fourth be with you.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:34 AM   #11
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Mother's Day this Sunday... seems like they are right on time.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:08 AM   #12
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Make a note: this is "Star Wars Day" on the calendar. May the fourth be with you.
If you're a casual fan, yes, Star Wars Day.

The diehard fans celebrate Star Wars Week.

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