Anyone care to give a bug report?

How are we looking in the BWCA/Quetico this year? I’ll be there in a couple weeks, and know things change, but what are y’all seein’ so far this summer? Not just water conditions, but bugs, too.


-Riverguy from down in Virginia

Kid was in bwca until the 14th July, on the west end. “Pretty bad?” She says in your flashlight you can see the clouds of mosquitoes around you. She got more bites in Voyageurs (2nd week of June) but mostly from nighttime potty runs. Some kids on the trip got bit so bad their ankles looked swollen.

Worse than the previous 2 years. Not terrible once you’re in the water but she was glad she remembered the bug net.

But she finally appreciates that the skeeters in Illinois are really basically non-existent even when folks are complaining lol


LOL! Yipes!

Ah, I was expecting a report like this. Leaving before sunrise on Friday. Thanks for the heads up


1 Like

Generally up north June is the worst and the skeeters disappear along about mid August. I highly recommend treating your tent with permethrin.

1 Like

Just came back from the Tahoe National Forest, CA. The winter was so wet, mosquitoes are common even in August. This is a rare event. But we will take it.

The worst mosquitoes I have ever seen were in Alaska and the BWCA. In particular the worst mosquitoes were on the Ontario border at a place called Wide Water.

1 Like

They are bad in salt marshes on the Outer Banks too - smaller and quicker than the ones in Ontario, where they usually disappear mid-august. Black flies, no-seeums, deer flies, horse flies (aka moose flies) and sand flies also want your blood during their seasons.

1 Like

Amen on Outer Banks. They’re vicious there. The worst mosquitoes I’ve experienced paddling, bar none, was Everglades. There’s been no close second that I’ve experienced. We put in the day they closed the ranger/park stations for the season. “Why are y’all closing?”

“Mosquitoes are too bad”.

A week later, I looked like a pin cushion, but loved every bit of that trip. Saw a LOT of cool stuff.

We got back from Voyageurs last weekend, and the bugs were bad (head net required some times), but not horrible. Kevburg, you’re right on your observation about the northern mosquito variety. They seemed bigger and slower. Easier to swat than the Outer Banks or Everglades skeeters were. Prolific, but not horribly vicious.

They told us the mosquitos had been horrible in June. We were end of July, beginning of August. Something about the floods up there last year killed off dragonfly larvae, which helped the mosquitos not get eaten.

I am a bug magnet and have tried EVERYTHING! While DEET and Picaridin do work, I’d rather not.
This year I used Sawyer permethrin spray on my cloths. It really is wonderful! Have a dedicated pair of Duluth Dry on the Fly cargo pants, knee socks, Anetik sun hoodie and Glacier glove fingerless gloves. All are treated according to instructions.
Have been in typically very bad Adirondack areas, swamps etc without a single bite. No repellant. Too late this year for black fly season but I bet it works for those guys too. Have tried Permethrin concentrate from farm stores but strong fuel oil smell and short life make it a no go. Sawyer does have a slight similar odor if you overdo it but very little. Get some. Try it. Get your life back. Enjoy!

Permethrin is highly toxic to fish and other marine life (Picaridin is less so and DEET even less) so, as always, follow label directions. I’m not arguing against permethrin use as only a tiny bit is ever likely get into the water from treated clothing. It’s just something to keep in mind. That it works in ADK swamps and bogs is strong testament!

True Alice. Application is a per-treatment as you implied. My understanding is liquid itself is highly toxic to fish AND cats! Once dried and bound to fabric claim is no. A short trip in a hot cloths dryer binds even more per Sawyer. I haven’t tested liquid toxicity but have tested bugs on treated fabric under a clear plastic cup. Time to kill varies but so far 100%. Ants take the longest/10min but obviously impaired very fast. Ticks die much quicker. Most bugs immediately retreat. So very effective!

I pre-treat my tent with a permethrin spray before camping trips and it makes a big difference. Without it I can have hundreds of mosquitoes waiting for me on the screen in the morning. They gather all night long from the surrounding woods, attracted to me and my CO2, and I have to dash out and run away when I get up. With the permethrin treatment there are no mosquitoes to be found, presumably they are all dead.

Pretreating clothes is weird. With deet dozens buzz around me but never quite light. With permethrin I never see more than one or two at a time. They land without hesitation, take off immediately, and apparently go die somewhere.

There are lots of insect sprays with active ingredients ending in “ethrin”, including yard guard. They all seem to work the same.

Plenty of frost. Troublesome Insects are gone.

You have to be careful with permethrin sprays or any bug sprays as the some of the chemicals that it are mixed with it react badly with the waterproof coating on tents and some can also react with vinyl. I set a can of deep woods OFF on my Royalex canoe and I did not realize that the nozzle was stuck down a bit and dripping . Within 10 minutes I had a quarter side hole when the outer vinyl had melted.

I remember having a leaky Muskol bottle turn something plastic into goo but I can’t remember what it was. I’m careful to place my glasses somewhere else when spraying down with deet, it eats lens coatings. Never had an issue with permethrins though, and the can says for clothing, gear and tents in big letters. Of course it also says it ‘repels’ them. Yeah, with extreme prejudice.