The disappearance of the snow and the arrival of warmer weather means that black fly season is on its way, driving Muskoka cottagers and tourists indoors to get away from the swarms of annoying biting bugs. Thankfully, black fly season won’t last forever and the annoyances that accompany it can be easily mitigated so that you can continue to enjoy your cottage while the swarms are out.
Facts about black flies
Though small in size, black fly bites can pack quite a punch. Black flies emerge from bodies of water like streams, creeks, and small rivers created by spring runoff. As with mosquitos, it’s female black flies that do the biting in order to take blood and thus be able to lay eggs. Black flies find their next blood meal by seeking out sources of body heat and through the scent of carbon dioxide, generally from unsuspecting humans, animals, and birds.
In addition to homing in on sources of carbon dioxide, black flies are also attracted to the smell of products that feature perfumes, including body wash, shampoo, skin lotion, and cologne. Once they’re ready to lay their eggs, black flies generally make their way back to the source of water that they emerged from and lay them in a more comfortable environment. They aren’t around for long, but they make themselves known – black flies usually plague the Muskoka region from mid-May until early to mid-June.
Make sure to maintain points of entry like screens, windows, and doors
While they’re not around for long, black flies can make the outdoors unbearable. It’s your mission as a cottage owner to keep these pesky black flies outside where they belong. The most effective way to keep them out of the cottage is to properly maintain points of entry. Because of their small size, black flies and other pests can very easily sneak into your home when even the smallest points of entry exist. This means checking every screen in your cottage for tears or damage from winter and being diligent in repairing or replacing any damaged screens. Screen repairs can be done quickly and easily with screen repair tape and other affordable methods. If necessary, replacement screening kits are also readily available at hardware stores and other retailers.
Maintaining your cottage’s windows and doors is also crucial for keeping the elements outside. This means checking for damage to your window and door units, as well as elements like weather stripping and sealant early in the season in order to tackle it proactively, and repairing or replacing damaged windows and doors wherever necessary. Investing in window and door accessories such as specially designed screens is a great way to keep the black flies outside. Integrated door manufacturers like Centor give homeowners the option to include effective pest screens that allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Muskoka area without being bothered by pests.
Other preventative measures you should take
It’s just not realistic to expect cottagers to stay indoors throughout black fly season, especially when there’s so much work to be done to open the cottage. Removing standing pools of water from around your property will help to alleviate the number of black flies in your general vicinity, as they won’t have anywhere to hatch or lay eggs. Using insect repellent with DEET levels of up to (but not over) 30% have also shown to be effective in keeping black flies away from you, though they’ll still be drawn to the carbon dioxide being expelled from you. Lastly, wearing long sleeves and pants when around lakefront or marshy areas is recommended, as it’ll help to minimize the amount of bites you receive.