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Hiking Guide > Black Flies
Black Fly Season in the Adirondacks - Tips & Advice
It's an inevitable fact of being outdoors in the Northeast in the summer - you're bound to have encounters with black flies. Although they may be small in size, their bites pack a big punch and can make fun outings unbearable.
Black flies are often found in swarms, so you may wind up with multiple bites from a single encounter. Before you head outside, be sure to read up on these tips for dealing with these tiny pests.
When and Where are Black Flies the Worst?
Black fly season typically starts in the middle of May and runs through late June or early July. The flies are most active several hours after sunrise and an hour or two before sunset due to the humidity of the air and the position of the sun. When the air is dry, flies may seek moisture in leaf litter on the ground. Although their bites do not spread disease to humans, they are painful, itchy, and can even cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
The insects lay their eggs in clean, fast-running water - like rivers and streams - that are commonly located in wooded areas. This is why you're most likely to encounter them when you're hiking, camping, paddling, or fishing in or near the woods.
How Can I Avoid Black Flies?
Since it's unrealistic to stay inside until black fly season is over, try the following methods to avoid the pests:
How Can I Repel the Flies?
Here are some tips for repelling pesky black flies:
How Can I Treat Black Fly Bites?
Although they are typically slow to heal, black fly bites can be soothed by a number of different remedies.
First, be sure to wash the area with soap and warm water, but make sure you don't scratch or further irritate the bite. Next, apply aloe vera, witch hazel, calamine lotion, or other gentle topical agents that soothe irritation. If those remedies don't work, or if there are symptoms of an allergic reaction, an antihistamine may be necessary.