Canoe camping in bug season.

My niece and I are thinking about canoe camping in Algonquin Park the second or third week of June. This is - I believe - the start of the dreaded and infamous bug season. My question. Have any of you canoe camped in this locale at this time and is it possible to have a good experience or should we forget it. Most of my experience has been in late July, early August and on until the end of the season. Any and all advice much appreciated.


Camping anytime is a good experience…
It depends on how YOU handle the situation… Afraid of afew bugs & having to swat them away at times… Don’t go. It is that easy.

Paddle easy,


Ways to enjoy despite bugs…
Just make sure you take the proper clothing, or insect repellant and you can enjoy the trip despite the bugs. A couple of good brands that work well for me are Ultrathon, and Bite Blocker. You can find Ultrathon at Wal Mart and Bite Blocker you may have to gt on-line and find it. I heard about it and found it almost by accident at a local hardware store here in my hometown, rther than having to order it on-line.


– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 9:18 AM EST –

The problem with black flies and mosquitos in the north country is much more than can be solved with a few slaps and a better attitude. To be stuck out in the woods during the peak of black fly season is nothing short of torture if you are not prepared, and a potential health hazard. Good bug spray, such as Ultrathon, is a good first layer of defense. It's not the end-all solution, however. Consider spending a few bucks on mesh bug shirts and/or hoods or bring along lighweight long sleeve shirts which have the added benefit of protecting against sunburn.

Here's a web address to a very inexpensive mesh bug shirt ($17 Canadian):

Have fun,

I don’t understand Bug Shirts
I’ve never used a bug shirt, so maybe they work fine, but it seems to me that they wouldn’t be anymore effective than a long sleeve shirt. I mean can’t the mosquito get his nose through the spaces in the net? And isn’t the net touching you?

I use a three tier approach during very buggy times. 1) deet, 2) permithrin, 3)barriers. Deet needs no explanation. Permithrin is sprayed on clothes and will last up to 2 weeks. It is an insecticide. Works against ticks and any bugs that comes in contact with your clothes.

The barriers I use are head netting, long sleeves and pants, and a screen tent. the head netting is away from the face so the bugs don’t get to you. Screen tents (or other bugg netting) is nice so that you can escape the bugs for eating, playing cards, reading, etc.

cheap big repelant
Bounce drier sheets. I’m not kidding.

Take Bounce drier sheets, rub them on your exposed skin. Leave a couple hanging from your pockets in the open air.

Learned this one as a Cub Scout leader. Can’t say how it would do for black flies or the nastier critters. But it works for the woods in NC.

Yep, Bounce dryer sheets work great, even for blackflies. Tie one on the back of your hat. Wear neutral colored clothing (avoid blue), wear bug shirts, use un-scented soaps for bathing, duct tape your clothing flaps so the flies cannot crawl in to join you. Set your camps where you have a breeze and away from rapids (they breed in moving water), and have the proper attitude knowing that bugs are just a part of the experience. By the way, the third week of June should be just past the peak of blackfly season. Depends on the year.


– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 2:58 PM EST –

The shirts are mesh, and are quite a bit more comfortable in hot weather than long-sleeve shirts. In addition the sleeves and waist are elastic for a tight fit. As for bugs getting through the mesh, it's a no-see-um weave so even the smallest critters are kept out.

I've always wondered about a bugs ability to poke through certain fabrics, but have never had it happen to me that I know of.

While I have tried drier sheets (as others have suggested)I have only tried them on the more timid American black flies with some success. I have not heard too many success stories with the different species of black flies further north, which are much more aggressive than those in the U.S. I had no luck at repelling mosquitos.


bug baffler
We were up at the end of the Kewaunaw Peninsula in the upper peninsula of Michigan- black fly heaven (or hell) bought a “Bug Baffler” net shirt for my wife. Great product, better than any other mesh shirt I have seen. My wife wore it for 5 days through the Boundary Waters- she loved it. It kept out ticks, black flies and mosquitoes. It was hot and she just wore an excercise bra under- stayed fairly cool. I have some long sleeved nylon shirts and just used a head net with them. No chemicals that way. We use mostly nylon or other synthetics when canoeing, so DEET makes me very nervous. Good way to rot out some good clothing or a tent.

Its bug season
Bug season is well underway the second or third week of June in Algonquin.

Blackflies hatch around Memorial day and last through June. However the average blackfly is stupid. Wear long sleeve neutral colors, use DEET ( it works inspite of the warnings…I am not worried as I dont wear it all the time), camp at a well ventilated campsite. Open your tent at bedtime go to the other end of the campsite wait till the flies gather, then run, jump in the tent and zip closed fast. The bugs will be at your original spot wondering where you went.

The mosquito season will not yet be in force, so pestering from them will be minimal. And the dreaded moose fly, midges, and deer fly and horse fly will not yet be present!

The bug shirt mentioned seems like a good deal, but I hate bug shirts and never use them.

I am going for the second year in a row to Algonquin the second week in June. I was virtually alone in the wilderness last year. Camps hadnt started yet.

So if its a general bug question, I’d go. For every month of the summer there is a bug.

Algonquin isnt the north. For torture keep going north from there to the Arctic.

The insects are the same as in my back yard in the same proportions (I am as far north as Algonquin) and personally I would rather be on a canoe trip than in the back yard.

simple enough for me -
I just don’t go. I always go in early May (next Friday) then refrain from camping until July. I have a Eureka VCS 16 tarp with netting that allows us to get away from them when they’re bad, but for me, it is just not worth it to camp in late May and June. And I hate coating my skin with DEET. I have a Bug Shirt for when they can’t be avoided.

Bugshirts and pants…
the netting moves when you do so bugs don’t have time to figure out where your skin touches the netting…I’ve used both the shirt and pants in Lake Superior Provincial Park during June and I was the only one able to stay outside their tent at sunset…

that said, Golite Bark and Trunk pants are very thin but have such a tight weave mosquitoes can not bite thru them…but, they’re hard to find now…

putting mosquito coils stratigically around your campsite will thwart mosquitoes…the smoke smell masks your breath so they can’t home in on you…I never let bug activity stop me…I won’t go out without at least a headnet from June until the first frost…I hate breathing bugs…

Before n After
I do my camping in the Adirondacks before Decoration day and after Labor day. Fewer bugs and people at those times.I find both bothersome. Travel with a good bug spray and long shirts and no shorts! If ya want to show “skin” in the adirondacks it will have a few more little holes in it before ya leave!!


– Last Updated: May-17-04 2:21 PM EST –

My wife & I just returned from a 4-day trip in the Upper Saranac Lake & St. Regis area of the Adirondackcs. Warm temps bought the bugs out early this year and in force! Headnets were welcome several times, especially on Hatchery Brook. We learned to: cover up exposed areas, wear headnets when too thick with them, make & keep smudge fires going at campsite and stand in smoke a lot (they won't go there), pick a windy campsite, pray for rain, wind and/or cooler temps. In previous years we've dealt with the problem by staying on larger, open bodies of water (like Little Tupper lake) & you don't really see any. Go for it but be prepared!

BTW, I posted a trip report on the other forum, at this link for any one interested:

Plenty of mosquitoes
I was at Little Tupper and we were hammered. I love my “Bug Baffler.”