Black Flies

What is the best deterrent to Black Flies that does not contain Deet? I’m want to prepare myself before i head back to the Adirondacks.

Best non chemical solution I have tried.

Actually, we did not find DEET effective
for black flies in Quetico. The old 6-12 repellent was a little better, but not great.

Haven’t tried them, but I like the idea of the little glue patch worn on the hat that snags blackflies when they land there to don their bibs.

According to Extension Service People
Black flies do not penetrate most clothing. So wear a head net over your hat and be sure no part of your neck is exposed. Wear gloves. And tuck your pants into your boots. Forget about chemicals.

me too
I use a bug shirt also. The only thing I have found that keeps them away is smoke. If anybody comes up with a repelent that works on black flies like deet does on mosquetos,the will have busniss from a bunch of paddlers including me.


moving to the south…

ok, seriously now…try skin so soft by avon

How far south?
We have them on the New River in WV!

ANother vote for the Bug Shirt. I have a cotton one, which I spray every season with Sawyers Permethrin.


Herbal product from Maine
home of the blackfly. The Adirondacks have nothing up on us!

It really does work but does not last quite as long as DEET products.

The Bug shirt is in my kit too.

ditto kayamedic’s…except no bugshirt.

only thing I’ve found to work is Skin So Soft (Avon)(only works for a short time)

DEET doesn’t work at all

Best Wishes


and that doesn’t work for me
Seriously, the only reason I mention it is everyones body chemistry is different and I have noted what works for one sometimes does not work for the next person.

still looks like nobody has any luck with DEET…

comes down to clothes and a few alternative short lasting herbal things I guess…

and our black flies do bite through cloth if it touches your skin…like socks etc.

a person can easially learn to dislike any contact with black flies…

Best wishes


dirt works too
I live in the backwoods and campsite selelction really helps… Choose a breezy site. At home I can use a fan.

I cant live 24/7 with DEET nor am I hiding in the house during short Maine summers.

I find they dont bother me as much if I rub dirt on my face and hands.

The island across from my house has a lee shore with a wind shadow and in June a black cloud of flies. The windward shore has no flies at all.

I don’t know what’s called black flies,
but the black-colored flies we encountered in early July in BWCA and Quetico were flying down under the seats and biting us THROUGH our pants and socks.

So, the Extension Service people can extend it.

It’s time
I wish paddlers would stop thinking about saving themselves and start considering the tremendous loss of speciation on the planet.

The BlackFly is endangered, and all paddlers owe the world bare necks and arms so save this important species.

it’s better to have NO CONTACT with wild species…so that they stay unspoiled…I vote for NO CONTACT :slight_smile:

not attempting to kill something just wishing no contact

Best Wishes


Nothing, they are just bugs. Plus they are great sprinkled on the morning oatmeal.

Long sleeved shirt
I have worked outside for a few years now, and i have found that most DEET containing bug sprays only work for mosquitos, and even then only for a few minutes. Best thing for blackflies is long sleeved shirt, turn your collar up and wear a hat, those bug hats/jackets are nice if you can stand them. If you get into horsefly season, they don’t like the colour white, so if you wear a white hat or bandana they will just buzz around your head and not land on you and bite you. I have also had some limited luck with unhealthy amounts of banana boat sunscreen, if you smother enough of it on the blackflies sometime don’t like to bite through it.

A good thing to remember too is that most bugs are attracted by 3 things, scent, movement and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide we breathe out we can’t help, but the other 2 you can. For movement, only swat the ones that actually land on you, the more you flail around trying to swat every bug within five feet, the more you will attract to you. As for scent, before you go outside try and wash with unscented soap and shampoo, or even better than that is tea tree oil soap and shampoo, if not in the normal shampoo isle, sometimes it can be with herbal stuff, it’s actually used as a shampoo for lice, so you know bugs don’t like it.

Hope this helps everyone outside this spring.

A guide in the Adirondacks recommended I try oil of lemon eucalyptus.

I haven’t yet, but I trust his judgement.

black flies or stable flies?
People often get these two confused…as if one airborne pest isn’t enough for the region!