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Okay you folks in the North...I'm traveling to northern Minnesota in a few weeks with the dogs for a camping vacation--hiking, boating, etc.

I'm reading online about "Black Flies" up there--which is something I've never encountered in my part of the country.

So what are they? And what do I do to repel them? I'm comfortable squirting myself with whatever I need to to keep bugs off me---but I'm leery about insecticides on the dogs, especially after reading that awful account of the dog that died from flea shampoo.

I do use a monthly topical on them (BioSpot) that seems to work on the innocuous fleas/ticks/etc. that my dogs might encounter here. But I don't know if that will work on Black Flies...or if I should/could combine it with other products?

So what's the deal with these "Black Flies" I keep reading about in the northern wilderness? Do I need to do anything to protect the dogs from them when we're there?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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From what I have heard, those black flies are nasty and not easy to repel. You should try to cover your body in light colored, light weight clothing. As for the dogs, I dont think there is much you can do. But staying out on the boat, away from shore might be your best bet. And try not to camp too close to the water's edge or near lowlands.

Good luck
 

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oh my gosh YES you do need to protect your dogs. We don't have them here but if we go to North Dakota too early in the year they have them REALLY BAD!!!! I know I'm bad but I've actually cancelled trips and rescheduled them due to the flys. They are those HUGE what we can here...I think they are called horseflys....they are the big flys and they are everywhere!!! They will harrass the dogs constantly and they actually BITE-you heard me right!!! they bite!!! I always have my friend put stuff on my dogs ears even though we never go when they are really bad. If I remember right they sell alot of fly type repelant there. Good luck!
 

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There are deer flies and horse flies. They're most common in areas with water and most often found between May and August. They're very big and they bite - painfully so.

A quality insect repellent should keep them off you and the dogs.

I use Bug Band pump spray (www.bugband.net), which is safe to use on pets, on both myself and Abby and it does a very good job keeping bugs away from us in the summer and especially when we're in the woods camping or re-enacting. This past weekend, we were in the woods in Pennsylvania and besides gnats, no bugs bugged us. DH, who didn't use the spray, got eaten up by chiggers.

My friend Laura uses fly repellent made for horses on her dogs, and that works really well. I'm not sure how safe it is, as I've never looked into using that product on my dog, but as all her dogs are fine, I would assume it's okay. The only problem she has is that they try to lick it off each other...
 

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if you can get a hold of any tea tree oil, mix that with some water, put in a spritz bottle and spritz away. The tea tree is a natural bug repellent, fungicide, bacteriacide, and all sorts of other great things. Be sure to get the good stuff though as you can get cheaper brands, but they aren't as pure. I'm lucky and got mine while I was living in Australia and vacationing in New Zealand (the kiwis swear their tea tree is stronger and more effective than the Australian....)

Here's what I found with some quick googling:

Herbalist Debra Nuzzi-St. Claire suggests combining the following essential oils to make a natural insect repellent:

1/2 ounce citronella oil

1/4 ounce lavender oil

1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil

1/8 ounce tea tree oil

1/8 ounce jojoba oil

Do not use this blend undiluted on your skin. Follow these instructions for diluting:

To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly. For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.

Another recipe:
Insect Repellent - Mix 1 part oil to 10 parts water and spray over before going out in the evening. (from http://www.bodycareuk.co.uk/Tea_Tree_Oil_1.htm )
 

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QUOTE:
To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly. For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.
SHAKEN NOT STIRRED?!!
I would be concerned about using potent insecticides if you are giving a heartworm treatment. Those Hartz posts scare me and mixing different treatments can mean death.
Tea tree oil sounds good, check w/ vet for other type that will go with what you already have applied. The flies usually go for the ears, I killed a deer fly on Kacie tonight while we were walking, and there was a fair amount of blood when I smashed it~ it had already had dinner, complements of Kacie. If you can treat at least the ear tips they may not swarm the dogs head.
 

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Well not sure if MN has Mosquitoes as bad as we have them here in WI, they are out 24/7. We also have Deer Flies and Horse Flies, both bite and both hurt when they bite.

I am trying some Marigold Spray. Works on Flies, Gnats and Mosquitoes. http://www.eqyss.com/pet_marigold_spray.asp

Smells better than some of the Essential Oils stuff, seems to work fairly well. It is pricey, I buy mine at a horse place and some other people buy theirs at a dog place, they pay $5.00 more a bettle.
 

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Born and raised close to where you are probably going and i'll tell you right now, summer flies in MN are horrible. Especially if it just rained. The little black flies wont bother you that much, but they will be all over your dogs, so take precautions. Make sure you wear bug spray with DEET because the ticks will be out as well. The large horseflies hurt like crazy and my dogs have yelped before after getting bit. Youll have a great time tho and it'll be worth it. We just went up there 2 weeks ago to visit the family and gave each dog a dose of k9advantix. I use it during hunting season on my lab and have never had an issue with the critters.
 

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I finally remembered to look at the bandanas I got at Sportsmans for the dogs. They are insect repellent; made by exofficio. Here is a link to find insect shield clothing on their website:

HERE

They seem to work; we went camping last weekend and the mosquitoes and noseums were horrible; DH and I wore Sportsmans "OFF" with deet, but the dogs just wore their bandanas and didn't have a problem. The bandanas *say* they repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers & midges....
 

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I don't know about Black Flies in particular, but back when I had a horse, I used Skin-So-Soft bath oil (the original one) to keep the flies off of him. Back then, they didn't have the one that they have now (I believe it's marketed as a mosquito repellent, maybe). Anyway, I put some in a spray bottle, or on a washcloth, and either sprayed (or wiped) Charlie down with the oil. Works great, and no harsh pesticides in it.

Just remember - it was the original SSS oil (which they still sell). Whatever they have now that's marketed specifically as insect repellent probably has chemicals in it, and I don't know anything about those.
 

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I use the Skin So Soft on the dogs as well for repelling mosquitos. I'm not sure if that alone would work against those nasty big boy flies though.
 
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