Boundary Waters??

Heading up on the 4th for a week long paddle? What should I plan for regarding black flies and 'skeeters? The plan is to have a head net which I hopefully won’t need and take Deep Woods Off?

additions? deletions?



You may want…
to post this on the "Wilderness Tripping section too and check the archives there for bug spray info. Also call up to one of the outfitters just prior to going and ask them how the bugs are and get their input as well…

the bugs dont go by schedules
I get a kick out of these questions.

Ask a bug. If its hot they are out. If its rainy and cool they are in. If it rains and snows they are in and when it turns hot they are mad.

If you are going through a loonshit portage they will be your best friends.

Should Be No Problem
Blackflies typically hatch late May-early June and are worse near streams (and many portages parallell streams." Blackflies are LONG gone by now. Skeeters are not going to be as bad as in June, but in swampy areas they can still make life miserable in August. Make your campsites on points, a little wind will keep them away. BTW, what’s your route? Good luck! WW

Current slate of biting bugs
Just got out of the Quetico from a nine day trip. Mosquitos were there but I wouldn’t call them thick. Worst was for an hour at dusk. The first person through a portage sometimes was bothered by them. We saw very few black flies and no no-see-ums. But be prepared for the ankle biter stable flies, they were pretty bad especially on larger lakes. Bring thick socks or you will suffer from the gangs of them up there. One of our group ended up wearing bread wrappers underneath their socks and the buggers couldn’t bite through the plastic. There were also deer flies but they are generally dumb and slow enough to get before they get you.

always prepare for worst case scenario
I’ve been to the BWCA where I’ve had my head net on the entire time while on portages and camp! Then have gone (same time of year) and no bugs at all except the usual dusk/dawn stuff.

100% deet works great but don’t spray on your skin. I use a long sleeve shirt and long pants when bugs are bad. Spray on shirt collar, cuffs of both pants and shirt and under brim of your hat.

Head net

long pants

long sleeve shirt



Good trip!

not sure of the schedule
right now, heading out with some city kids, I’m going along as an “extra” adult – my first time up there and I’m really looking forward to it.

Many thanks to all who answered, even the one that suggested I “ask” a bug!

Also, looking forward to the nice temps, still hotter than hades and full humidity down here in the south…

ya’ll take care