Route de la Baie James


Black Flies and Mosquitoes!


Black Flies

For those of you who are not familiar with black flies, they are small biting flies that literally chew a hole in your skin to suck blood out of you. They like to crawl before they bite, so they will land on you and then proceed to crawl up your arms and legs (inside your shirt sleeves and pant legs) and then bite. They especially like to crawl up into your hair a little ways and bite you on your scalp. The bites itch tremendously, and readily bleed. Sometimes a swarm of them can hover around you and quite literally drive you nuts.
They are only active during daylight hours, and a good wind will blow them away.



Black Flies can be a major factor in your visit to this region. Black flies are most plentiful first thing in the spring, right after the snow melts. There's usually a few days to a week or two before they really get going in the spring. They will be most plentiful in June and July. You may or may not see a lot of them in May -- it depends on the weather, how warm it is, etc. They gradually decline in numbers throughout the summer. Sometimes they are mostly gone by August, but sometimes they last into September. It all depends on the weather conditions.

Insect repellent is necessary for most people to stay outside in the summer. Tucking your pant legs into your socks can sometimes be effective. Also wear a hat (but they will bite you along the edge of your hat where it contacts your scalp). Bug hats with netting and so-called "bug shirts" can be effective as well. Part of the strategy of dealing with black flies is to not be annoyed with their buzzing about your head. If you can deal with that, then you can focus your attention on the ones that are actually trying to bite you. As well, try to be out in open areas where there is some breeze.



I have been up in this area in July and been unable to stay outside for more than 20-30 minutes before they drove me back into my car. And on another trip in early September I found them to be still plentiful enough to cause me some discomfort.


Mosquitoes can be every bit as nasty as black flies. However they behave differently, and so one deals with them differently.

Mosquitoes are mainly out during the evening, during dusk. Most of them usually land during the day and in the dark of night. However, there seem to be almost always some flying about 24x7.

Mosquitoes fly slower than blackflies and are larger. They do not crawl up your sleeves and into your clothing the way that blackflies love to do, so they are always visible. These characteristics make them easier to swat.

Mosquitoes will promptly land when it's windy. A windy day is a real blessing to travelers in the far north. However, one of the unforeseen drawbacks of this is when your car gets invaded by the little beasts. With most other insects simply driving off with the windows open will blow any insects flying about the car. But when mosquitoes sense a wind, they promptly land in a sheltered place. In a car with the windows open this means they will land down low in the area around your legs and ankles. And then they sometimes proceed to bite you there while you're driving!

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