How to ward off 5 cottage-country bugs
What you can do to keep bites and stings to a minimum
The last thing you want to deal with when you’re on a scenic hike or at a barbecue is insects. Unfortunately, they are a part of the cottage experience. Here are some tips for protecting yourself from cottage-country bugs.
Season: May to mid-June
Worst time of day: Sunset
Black flies are attracted to dark colours, so the best way to deter them is to wear light-coloured clothing. Since the flies can’t bite through your clothes, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Black flies will try to get under your clothes, so try tucking your pants into your socks and putting elastic bands around your wrists.
Repellents containing DEET may actually attract black flies, but those containing permethrin (usually used to deter ticks) may work when applied to clothing.
Avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or aftershave as black flies are attracted to their scents. Black flies breed in running water so prepare to encounter them in wet areas.
Season: Early spring to late summer
Worst time of day: Sunrise and sunset
Unlike black flies, mosquitoes can bite through clothing, but wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants will still decrease your chances of getting bites.
Mosquitoes tend to be out in greater numbers at sunrise and sunset so avoid wooded areas during these times.
It only takes a spoonful of water for a mosquito to lay her eggs, so remove all standing water from around the cottage. Attracting birds and bats to the area can also help control the mosquito population.
Deer and horse flies
Season: June to August
Worst time of day: Daytime
Deer and horse flies are more likely to bite animals than humans, which is bad news for your canine companion. Luckily, there are insect repellents just for dogs, such as K9 Advantix or Bite Blocker. Ask your vet about the safest spray for your dog.
You can also try the Tred-Not DeerFly Patch. It’s a patch that sticks to the back of your hat to attract deer flies, who land on the sticky strip and get stuck. Once the patch is full, remove it from your hat and throw it away.
Season: June to September
Worst time of day: All day near vegetation
Stable flies can be found in decaying vegetation, such as lawn clippings and seaweed washed on shore. Stable flies can also be found at the lakefront and they come out on warm summer days.
Since stable flies are attracted to shiny surfaces, they especially like to bite wet skin, so dry off immediately after getting out of the water.
Bees and wasps
Season: Late June to mid-September
Worst time of day: Daytime
Bees and wasps can be harmful to you, your children, and your pets if they sting; but swatting and spraying only provokes them.
These insects are integral to the environment: bees pollinate many food crops and plant species, and produce honey; wasps prey on a number of pest insects and control their populations. Bee conservation is especially important as millions are dying each year, which leads experts to think they may become extinct.
To remove bees without killing them, contact your local beekeeper to take them off your property.
Avoid using perfume, cologne, body sprays, hair spray, and fragranced suntan lotion, as bees and wasps are attracted to sweet scents.
Empty your trash frequently, because bees and wasps will be attracted to discarded sugary foods.
Tip: For all bugs, try some of these eco-friendly solutions.
This article was originally published on September 1, 2010