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Old 05-24-2016, 12:51 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2016
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Black Fly Status in St Regis Area

Hi Folks,

I'm new here. My wife and I are planning on camping this weekend with our daughter in St Regis area. I'm just wondering if anyone has a black fly report? We have bug nets but my daughter is 9 months old so I'm not sure she would keep a bug net on and I'm not too keen on using deet on her at this age. I know this is heading into peak black fly season, but I've only done St Regis in the fall so I don't know how bad they typically get up there. We would postpone if it's going to be bad. Any advice appreciated. Thanks!


Last edited by Hmayes; 05-24-2016 at 12:52 PM.. Reason: Corrected typo.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:34 PM   #2
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I'd bet they will be nasty, especially with the warm up.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by St.Regis View Post
I'd bet they will be nasty, especially with the warm up.
I agree. They were out last weekend at Lake Harris..not nasty...but definitely out. If it tells you anything, when Zach and I stopped in at Hosses in
Long Lake on our way to Lake Harris, they had a bug dope display set up right in front of you when you walk in the front door. I would be hesitant to take a 9 month old primitive camping in the ADK's this time of year. Just my opinion.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Swamp Booger View Post
I would be hesitant to take a 9 month old primitive camping in the ADK's this time of year.
Or you could switch the pacifier for a Swisher Sweet.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:05 PM   #5
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My son was carried away by a swarm of black flies when he was about 18 months old.
He eventually returned, but had a strange appetite for years...

Seriously, the bugs will be bad and it is unlikely you can protect your daughter.
After the black flies will come the deer flies, followed by stable flies.
No seeums and mosquitos will be out all summer long.

Last edited by stripperguy; 05-25-2016 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:35 PM   #6
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I was in the Tupper Lake region from 5/18-5/21 and they were getting worse by the day,swarming at first,but by the end of trip they were biting fiercely. If the wind or breeze stopped you were in trouble.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:50 PM   #7
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I applaud your taking you child on backcountry trips, but as others have pointed out the peak of blackfly season is tough , to say the least. Out on the water in the canoe , they won't bother you , but once on land,,,, well....

Don't use DEET on an infant, you may want to try Natrapel, a plant sourced though processed chemical, mild but effective. I've been using it for a few years and it repels BF's well. Try putting it on your child's clothing rather than directly on the skin.

That said, I had my son out on a regular basis when he was young, but avoided trips when I new the weather was going to be awful and especially BF season. Once he was hooked I could take him out any time. Once when he was 8 or 9 we climbed Mt Washington in NH, and were sharing dinner out of the cook pot, the rain was really coming down, we leaned over the pot to keep some of the rain out, and JD starts laughing, so I asked what was so funny, and his reply was, " Mom would never understand how this could be fun".

It all works out, just make the first few years fun.

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Old 05-25-2016, 12:18 AM   #8
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Your kid will welt up horribly, no immunity built up, and she will scratch without knowing not to, and make a mess of her wounds. I suppose you could put a bug shirt on her. But i think that would be an adventure itself! Frankly it won;t be any fun for her or you worrying and tending to her if they are bad.

Problem is, black flies require cool, highly oxygenated streams - means they like the same sort of terrain we are attracted to. Once we were in Lows lake, never were really bothered- even though height of season. But then look at the terrain there. A pronounced lack of their requirements, oh there are some! LOL.

Or you could stick to the center of the lakes, maybe find an exposed to wind island to hang at during the day, wait till sunset to go into camp. The little bas%$rds do go to bed, (black flies! lol) but then tending to a 9 month old in a canoe all day…

Plan a day trip, see how it goes. don't judge by the parking lot. THey are always horrible in any parking lot! LOL
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:38 AM   #9
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I was there the weekend before last and gave in quickly. They were very bad and we couldn't stand it so we moved on and went into the MCKenzie Mountain Wilderness area where they weren't nearly as bad.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:51 AM   #10
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I returned yesterday from that area; camped Sunday and Monday night at Middle Pond on Floodwood Road. The Black Flies are out but weren't biting too bad. I am now tending about 6 bites. It seemed they were just "warming up" and I think they will probably be worse this weekend.

I do think there are other things to consider when deciding where to go with a 9-month-old. I think its great to get a child started young in the outdoors but other people need to be considered. The Paddler's Map puts it best: "most users go to the wilderness to absorb the peace and quiet. Please consider this when choosing your destination and activities." The ponds in that area were perfect this weekend. The loons were wailing, the owls were hooting, the white-throated sparrows and thrushes were singing well past sunset. A crying infant would have shattered that peace for anyone in earshot. I'm not saying don't go, just keep the crying factor in mind when choosing your site. Please be aware that if you are camped on, let's say, Slang Pond, and you daughter starts crying, the whole pond will hear it (I know from experience).
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:20 AM   #11
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I remember renting a cottage in the height of BF season. Our infant was covered in clothing from head to toe and we dabbed deet on his face. The only place we didn't put DEET was on his eyelids. For a couple of days his eyes were swollen nearly shut. There was a line of very closely spaced bites all along the edges of each lid. No other bites anywhere!
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:23 PM   #12
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Wow so much great info. Thank you everyone. We are going to reschedule after black fly season winds down. I especially appreciate the advice on taking a 9 month old out. We aren't going to use deet on her until she's much older, so I know we need to go during a time when the bugs aren't as bad.

In the past (before we were parents, lol) we have gone to a pond that requires a portage, and when we went there was virtually no one else on the pond. We are planning on doing the same again but this time I have a canoe cart so my wife can carry the baby and I can haul the canoe. We do have a life vest for her, the type that puts her face up if she falls in. Any other recommendations for taking a baby primitive camping? Even after black fly season is over, there are still bugs. I will look into naturapel. And maybe this weekend I'll see how she tolerates having a bug net on haha.

Thanks so much for all the feedback so far.

ETA: also I appreciate the advice about not being a disturbance to those around us. She's a pretty happy baby and doesn't cry very often or for long. If she wasn't having a good time camping I think we would just pack it in and go home rather than be "those people" on the lake, lol.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:26 PM   #13
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We took our older son to Maine when he was 1. The bugs were quite wicked so we kept him in the tent when we could. We have a few pictures of him with his face pressed into the mosquito netting screaming his lungs out. It was torture for him, torture for us and torture for everyone within earshot.. We stopped doing back country for a few years and tried to stay in places where there was natural beauty, easy access and lots of recreation for children..
Our first experience in the canoe was not too much better. We put our Kennebec into the ocean at Cobscook and figured he would love it. He screamed like we had him sitting on a bed of nails. Turns out that the really great lifejacket we had him wear was jabbing him in the back of the neck. We ended up taking it apart and re-shaping it to fit him better.
Lesson learned, we held off on our typical vacations for a few years and let him grow into it. He climbed Marcy for the first time at 7 and his brother did it at 5.
Don't try to rush things. You want to turn them on to what you love not turn them off. Wait, take your time, make sure the situation is pleasant. Black flies and mosquito's are not pleasant. I know adults that have been reduced to tears by them. I know folks that made it to the end of Long Lake that turned around and went home on the first night in the middle of the night. Now, 45 years later they still remember how bad it was. Their faces were welted and red. I would not subject an infant to that. You cannot possibly protect a young child from the bugs, not even if you bath them in repellent.

Last edited by mgc; 05-29-2016 at 08:25 AM..
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Old 05-29-2016, 06:33 PM   #14
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Wait until July and then just deal with the occasional pain in the ass mosquito - not trip ruining black flies.
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