Bugs and late ice-out

G

Guest

Guest
It looks like this year many lakes will open up later than they ever have. I'd like to know when those with experience think the black flies and mosquitoes are likely to hatch out.

The question might be rephrased: How long does it take after ice-out for black fly and mosquitoes to complete their life cycles to the point of becoming flying parasites?
 
G

Guest

Guest
Last week in the Adirondacks there were a few buzzing around but nothing biting yet. Last I'd heard they were attacking this week in some areas.

I don't have the dates of the ice out on the lakes but I'm sure it's something you could look up with some perseverance. I'm guessing most were bare or breaking up by mid-April.

I'll hazard another guess here and say it probably doesn't have as much to with ice out as it does with rainfall and temps in smaller pools of water. AFAIK those type of insects prefer breeding in streams and other smaller bodies of water rather than big lakes. Also there appears to be some delay from when they hatch to when they start feeding.

Some people use Mother's Day to Father's Day as a rule of thumb for black fly season here in NY. Mosquitoes are much more persistent for the duration of the summer and are largely an issue near swamps or other stagnant warm water sources. I think larger lakes tend to be too hostile for them to breed in.

Anyway I find that the black flies usually persist until the end of June (past Father's Day) in at least some areas. I know I've been attacked well into July but just in a specific area. Everywhere else they where non-existent.

This, as a point, was last year. Last year ice out was very early (early April I think?) but the flies persisted into July in some areas. It was a very wet spring though. I don't have any idea when they started though.

If you want to get really technical you can actual go out and capture larvae and determine where you find certain types. Some types you will never find in lakes (I know, because I've looked). Others are very abundant. Something like a Trichoptera (Caddisflies) OTH you will find hoards of in streams.

This is a very good book if you want to learn your bugs:

http://www.amazon.com/Freshwater-Macroinvertebrates-Northeastern-North-America/dp/0801496888
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
924
Location
Red Lake, Ontario
Some years the buggers have been so bad that any time outside was a bad time, others just at dusk and down. Then there have been those years where they were really non-existent in some spots and unbearable in others. Some years they were terrible right through September.

There's no bugs in February but the water is too hard for canoeing. So just equip yourself just in case. Bug protection is not heavy and if you dress right it won't be too big an issue.

In the same vane, I saw a family camping up this on their last day. Everybody was wearing shorts and their legs all looked like they has been recently shot with some #8 shot from about 30 yards. Scratching mosquito bites until they are raw is not my idea of fun. So wear bug proof clothing, bring some itch relief and prepare to spend some time in the tent when they get really bad.

Black flies are another story, for me they don't itch I just find bloody spots on me where they ate, but it's okay when they are bad I eat my fair shore of them to make it all even.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Sorry. Should have specified Boundary Waters. Many lakes are not ice-free yet. I'm assuming "other things being equal." I.e., that rivers and small ponds thaw about the same amount of time before lakes do, no matter when ice-out is declared. This may be incorrect, especially in very early ice-outs. I'm trying to get a general sense from people who have experience in the BW and Quetico on this point.

This is a particular issue for me because I'm allergic to many insects. I've been bitten by one black fly, and it took over a month for it to heal. Mosquito bites itch for up to 10 days, even if I don't scratch.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,457
Folk lore around here says black flies arrive when the buds appear on the trees. The ice is only leaving now, probably be at least one full week before it's all gone. I would say we have about ten days left before the hordes descend.
 
G

Guest

Guest
For reference, I've done five spring trips in the BW, and on only one of them were there any black flies. Entry dates were May 20, June 7, May 30 (the blackfly trip), May 21, and May 26. Aha ... maybe I could compare those dates with ice-out dates. I'm off to the MN ice-out website and will report back what I find.
 
G

Guest

Guest
For anyone who's interested:

Entry at Lake One May 20, 2009, went through Insula and Ima, exiting at Snowbank Lake, which was clear on May 2 (18 days earlier). Plenty of flowing water, no blackflies.

Entry at Little Indian Sioux June 7, 2010, went up through Lac La Croix and out at Moose R. North. Snowbank was clear April 10 (8 weeks earlier). Plenty of flowing water, no blackflies.

Entry at Mudro May 30, 2011, looped through Basswood R., Crooked Lake and Fourtown, back out at Mudro. Snowbank was clear May 5 (25 days earlier). Plenty of flowing water, a few blackflies at campsite on Sunday Bay.

Entry at Moose Lake May 21, 2012, looped through Birch and Ensign, back out at Moose Lake. Fall lake clear March 27, Snowbank clear March 30 (7 weeks earlier). Not much flowing water, no blackflies.

Entry at Seagull Lake May 25, 2013, looped through Sag, Knife, Ogish, Alpine, back out at Seagull. Seagull clear May 18 (7 days earlier). Plenty of flowing water, no bugs.

I haven't mentioned mosquitoes because they haven't been much of an issue.

I don't see a relationship between recorded ice-out dates and the appearance of black flies. I wonder what I'm missing.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Maybe you aren't missing anything. I don't know how Maine correlates with the BWCA but blackflies at my house have always started biting about May 30. Ice out varies between March 22 and April 22. Buds on trees appear May 10.

The blackflies actually start being annoying May 5. It takes them two weeks for the ladies to be interested in a blood meal. I have never seen many BF in April. I did notice one or two this year after ice out April 21 but they were slow and hence..now quite dead due to me.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
1,086
Location
central NYS - 10 miles from the Baseball Hall of F
I've been in the Adirondacks (Raquette Lake specifically) since May 18th with a class and up until today, we hadn't seen a black fly or mosquito. The daily temperatures have not crested 70 F yet and night time lows have been in the mid 30s. Of course today, when I began shuttling trips out, the rain started up and the flies came out with a vengence. I felt sorry for the kids as I dropped them off and the flies descended on them like vultures on a carcass. I also saw my first few mosquitos so it looks like they're on their way as well.

That's all for now. Don't know when I'll be able to access a computer again so until next time...Be well.

snapper

PS - Heading up to Long Lake tomorrow before the next class comes in to check out a guide boat. Can't wait to see it!
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Messages
65
Ice out is not the factor which determines emergence for BF's and mozzies.

Black flies in the north are larvae and pupae in rivers, and emerge from their pupae in rivers, based on water temperature, and they over-wintered as larvae/pupae, so they are ready to go. The first hatch is usually somewhere between 10-12 deg C, depending on the species. the more they research it, the more variation they find. So your local lake could be ice covered, but if the streams are open and 10-12C, the first hatch is on.

Mosquitoes have several modes of appearing depending on species. Some over-winter as adults, so they can be out when the lakes are frozen as soon as it warms up, including when there is still snow on the ground if its really hot out. But most over winter as eggs, and they hatch into larvae, then go to pupae in a matter of days to a couple of weeks. Again you can have ice covered lakes, but mozzies mostly come from fish-free shallow pools in the woods, and in your rain barrel, old tires, and puddles behind buildings and in fields. These heat up very fast and produce hatches independent of the lake ice.

Open lake water does not produce many mozzies because of wave energy, and because fish and other invertebrates (e.g. dragonflies nymphs) which graze on mozzie larvae which are easy pickings from the water surface. Grassy inlets that melt out first may be big mozzie producers. But that's food for all the critters (amphibians, dragonflies and other insects, fish, birds, bats, etc).

Dress properly, and DEET is your friend. :) There is no need to miss any of the season due to flies.
 
Top