Bug Season in N.E. Minnesota

Bugs!  For some strange reason, these days people are more frightened of insects than I’ve ever seen before.  The mere mention of bugs makes women swoon and men break out in a sweat.  C’mon people – lets build up some intestinal fortitude already.  It’s Minnesota, it’s wilderness, it’s going to have some bugs.  OK, some times a lot of bugs and those times can vary depending on the rain, the amount of snow we had the past winter, the current temps and water levels in the lakes.  Those are a lot of variables and if you live here your whole life, you will know that some years have buggy times, no bugs, a couple bugs, or swarms that can help you walk.  And that is why we use bug dope.  Not the natural stuff either.  We sell the natural stuff at our big store here at the lodge, but if the bugs are bad, we can recommend “the good stuff” depending on the offending bugs on hand.  Contrary to all the misguided reports which declare that DEET works against “the bugs”, they don’t have a clue.  DEET is a masking agent that works for mosquitoes.  DEET is not the most effective thing for flies – biting flies like black flies that like to chew along your shirt sleeve cuffs ankles,  and where your hat line sits on your head.  You need fly repellent.  Guess what – with the exception of Red Rock Wilderness Store and maybe a few scattered stores around the country, you can’t find bug dope specifically for repelling flies from humans.  Here’s what it looks like and we sell lots of it not only for the occasions when sand flies (local talk for black flies) come out in force here but also in other parts of the US.  It’s good stuff and I do not know of anyone dying from using it…yet.  Now,  this product is ultra effective when one drinks it but in that case it is also usually fatal whereupon the bugs completely lose interest.  Don’t drink any bug dope.  It always ends badly…

The Buggspray we sell has two fly repellents in it and 25% DEET.  The DEET part is for the mosquitoes.  They don’t care about the fly repellent part.   We don’t care about the mosquito part of this bug dope.  The fly repellent part is worth buying the bottle or even two.  If you are coming to stay here at Northwind Lodge, we have it in stock.  Not coming to Northwind Lodge?  Order your Buggspray Here.

Buggspray Fly Repellent

Bugs Come Out When?

bugs in minnesota

Black flies seem to like the third week in June, sometimes the second and third, sometimes you’ll see them the last week in May.  By the 4th week of June, it’s buh-bye black fly.  Summer 2014, we had a few mornings and evenings of black flies here.  Other areas, they were thicker than pea soup and non-existent.  Note that they can come from 10 miles away, so some areas can be unfortunate from year to year or fortunate if you are one of those “glass half full” types.   If I’m out working in dirt, I will sometimes put on a long sleeve shirt and a bug net over my head because if they get thick, you can inhale them once in a while.  But don’t panic, that’s when you dig in the dirt, swing a shovel, and roll around rocks.  Very few of our guests appear willing to do this while staying here.



Mosquitoes can start out early in May and are usually big, slower moving bombers.  They can come and go, but don’t handle wind well.  For the last several years, they’ve been low during the day and busy right at dusk but I can’t remember if 2014 was bad or not.  That’s what 50 years of feeding bugs does to you.   DEET is effective.   Non-DEET products are GREAT if you see ONE mosquito flying by at a distance of no less than 50 feet from you.   Then the “all natural” (gentle-speak for ineffective chemicals, but chemicals nonetheless) works really well.   “I saw a bug in the next county so I put on mint flavored bug dope and it worked really great!”

July can present deer flies and horse flies and biting house flies (ankle biters in the boat) while the sand flies are completely gone and the mosquitoes might only be around at dusk.  If you live here all the time, you’ll note that July mosquitoes get smaller and fly much faster May mosquitoes.  In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they call them “chiquitas”.  Apparently, mosquitoes look like flying bananas in the U.P.   Generally, all mosquitoes are gone by mid-to-late July and the horse/deer flies go away as well.  August can be a completely bug free month.

August being bug free depends on the weather, water-levels and temps in the months prior.  In other words, this is a guide – a rule of thumb.  I’ve seen mosquitoes make it all the way through the month of September with sand flies re-emerging in October and November.  That’s fairly rare but it does happen.

So, what will this summer bring in bugs?  I dunno.  Have to wait and see.  That’s why we sell bug dope.