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Flying pests in Montana and Alberta in July

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Flying pests in Montana and Alberta in July

Old 06-27-13, 03:26 PM
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Flying pests in Montana and Alberta in July

I'm touring in Montana and Alberta in July and am wondering what the flying pests are like there at that time?

I plan to spray my clothes with bug repellant and to bring some rub-on stuff with me. Are there other precautions I should take?

How bad do the mosquitoes and flies get?
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Old 06-27-13, 05:46 PM
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Old 06-27-13, 05:57 PM
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I recall the black flies all received NASCAR training 'cause they could draft the $$it out of you, then swoop in and take a nibble. One followed me for 3-4 miles and just when I thought he'd been dropped....nope, he attacks.
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Old 06-27-13, 06:25 PM
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Around Glacier NP had lots of little mosquitoes last summer. I usually just use the lotion type repellants, that was enough for me. But I am originally from Minnesota, mosquito is the state bird there. Thus, compared to Minnesota the Montana and south Canada mosquitoes were not much of a nuisance. I think I only used repellant a couple times.

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Old 06-27-13, 07:32 PM
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Wear light coloured clothes.

I've read that mosquitoes are attracted to dark coloured clothes, and from my experience cycling in Alberta and Manitoba in early summer wearing black cycling shorts, I can tell you that what I've read is true. I've come home from some rides (where I forgot my mosquito repellent) and the part of my anatomy covered by my black cycling shorts was one big mosquito bite ... and let me tell you, you don't want mosquito bites anywhere there.


Normally July shouldn't be too bad, but because southern Alberta has just been through a bad flood, and there's lots of standing water, there will likely be an increase in the number of mosquitos about.

But I don't recall flies being that big a deal. Flies are much more of an issue here in Australia.
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Old 06-27-13, 07:37 PM
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The province has received so much extra rain that I expect the mosquito population to explode as there will be so many places for them to breed... despite the flooding in southern Alberta which was caused by a confluence of conditions besides rain, the northern part of the province has received an inordinate amount of rain and heard we have actually had more rainfall here but don't have the same topography and drainage issues.
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Old 06-27-13, 11:17 PM
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A head net and long sleeved shirts , gloves , long socks , with plenty of repellant .
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Old 06-27-13, 11:22 PM
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I find a Remington 870 loaded with bird shot can be effective for the bigger bloodsuckers...
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Old 06-28-13, 07:38 AM
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should mention this, be aware that deet bug products can and will eat holes in lycra, goretex etc. Perhaps less so than what I have seen in the past as deet content may be less now, but do be aware you could damage clothing. At least look into it to be aware not to have a surprise if you slop the stuff all over.
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Old 06-28-13, 07:38 AM
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Where in MT? The severity of the problem can depend on region and the amount of water left around from snow melt. We had horrible mosquitoes in late June/early July of 2011 in places like Wisdom, the Pioneer Mountains and Twin Bridges. It was impossible to sit outside in the evening without getting attacked. We even got attacked when we dropped to "mosquito speed" (about 5-6 mph) climbing a little hill a few miles outside of Wisdom. That winter had been very snow, and lots of drainage ditches make great breeding grounds.

Many of the towns along the "High Line" (U.S. 2 across the northern tier of MT) had serious mosquito problems. Again, there were lots fo drainage ditches.

Glacier N.P. had some mosquitoes all three times I was there biking, but that was always in late June. Don't recall any through the stretch between St. Mary and Waterton Village, AB.
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Old 06-28-13, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Where in MT?
I'm starting in Missoula, going east to Browning, to Many Glacier, then St. Mary's, Going to the Sun road, and then north to Waterton and eventually Jasper.
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Old 06-28-13, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo
I'm starting in Missoula, going east to Browning, to Many Glacier, then St. Mary's, Going to the Sun road, and then north to Waterton and eventually Jasper.
I would expect skeets in Many Glacier, especially if you take hikes below the tree line. I did a week-long backcountry backpack tour in Glacier. At every campsite they were everywhere. The wind usually blows so hard at Waterton Village that they probably won't be a problem, at least during the day. although I have a vague recollection of there being some back in '99. When I was there in late June of '09 it was so cold and windy that they were not a problem.

You might have them in Browning, too. We stopped for a rest at the junction of U.S. 89 and MT 49. There were skeeters, but not an overabundance of them. That might have been due to the heat of the day. They are most active early monring and evening.

But I am confushed about your rotue. Are you crossing Logan Pass from St. Mary or just riding up and back down the east side of GTS? If the former, how do you plan to get to Waterton Village, which is back on the east side.
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Old 06-28-13, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
But I am confushed about your rotue. Are you crossing Logan Pass from St. Mary or just riding up and back down the east side of GTS? If the former, how do you plan to get to Waterton Village, which is back on the east side.
My plan is to ride GTTSR in both directions.
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Old 06-28-13, 09:38 AM
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In Jackson Hole, Wyoming the worst flying pests are all the Learjets coming into the airport every 15 or 20 minutes.
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Old 06-28-13, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Where in MT? The severity of the problem can depend on region and the amount of water left around from snow melt. We had horrible mosquitoes in late June/early July of 2011 in places like Wisdom, the Pioneer Mountains and Twin Bridges. It was impossible to sit outside in the evening without getting attacked. We even got attacked when we dropped to "mosquito speed" (about 5-6 mph) climbing a little hill a few miles outside of Wisdom. That winter had been very snow, and lots of drainage ditches make great breeding grounds.
I can confirm that, as I toured through the Rockies in Montana and Alberta in June/July 2011. Everywhere we went we were told that it was a "bad mosquito year". They didn't get me so bad, but they really loved my girlfriend! The worst was climbing Marias Pass when we dropped to "mosquito speed" and got attacked at the pass. We did the obligatory "We're at the pass!" photos but it was very painful.
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Old 06-28-13, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo
My plan is to ride GTTSR in both directions.
Check for road restrictions. Last year when I was there, there were two zones on the west slope where bicycles were restricted during certain hours of the day. One zone only one direction was restricted, in the other zone both directions restricted.

Some of the shuttle buses last year had bike carriers on the front. Never used one but if I had been stuck for several hours waiting for the time restriction, I might have use the bike rack on a shuttle.

Some of the campgrounds have hiker biker sites that cost less than the regular automobile type sites. I used the hiker biker sites in Apgar and Sprague campgrounds.

If you have not checked elevations yet, the elevation climb up from the west side is a lot more elevation gain than from the east. Attached is a screen shot of my computer screen after I uploaded my GPS elevation data into my computer for the day that I went from east to west over going to the sun road. Day started at a private campground near St Mary, finished at Apgar campground.



You are going to have a great trip.

If you see one of these, I suggest that you do not get closer for a better photo. This was taken with a powerful zoom.

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Old 06-29-13, 11:27 AM
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I live in Whitefish, MT was up in Glacier last weekend no sign of bugs. However over the last two weeks we've had lots of rain so the mossies should appear soon.
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Old 06-29-13, 11:33 AM
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this might help - I recently learned from it.

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Old 06-29-13, 01:23 PM
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West Nile virus has been confirmed for Madison County, IL. Little bloodsuckers...

??? If dark colors attract skeeters, why is "blonde hair" attractiver to the little pests than black hair?

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Old 06-29-13, 07:43 PM
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The insects aren't too bad here right now (this June) in Eureka MT. However in the southern part of the state the other day was AWFUL in the evening when we drove down there 2 days ago. Couldn't drive, windshield was covered in insects in about 5 minutes of driving. Big bugs.

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Old 06-29-13, 08:54 PM
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Adventurepdx's girlfriend here. The one the mosquitoes will follow for several miles in order to feast upon. They will fly past my boyfriend to eat me instead. I dunno if I just taste better or what.

The only thing that works is DEET. But yes, it melts and/or destroys some synthetic fabrics, so do a little research, as I forget which melt and which are okay. (If you're into the technical wool thing--wool is unaffected by DEET.) We used aerosol cans and just took turns spraying each other down with our arms out holding our breath.

And yes, definitely attracted to darker colors. I ended up buying inexpensive thin gray pants (intended for jogging) from MEC in Calgary to wear over my (black) bike shorts after the day we rode into Calgary and I got a dozen mosquito bites on my ass cheeks. Try having that itch in public. Ahahahaha.

Speaking of itching (as you'll inevitably get some bites): you can buy products with names like "itch eraser" that have diluted ammonia in them, and they were the only thing I found that worked on the itching (other than hot showers and ice cubes, which aren't always plentiful while touring). The year of our tour, instead of the usual bites that itch for a couple of days (and stop itching if you press the edge of your thumbnail into the bite), I got a lot of bites that swelled up slightly and itched for over a week. The ammonia stuff stings (and smells bad at first) but it kept the bites from itching for several hours. Benadryl helped too, but mostly by sedating me, I'd guess. I only took it at night 'cause it made me so sleepy.

Oh, and according to the "research" of us and a friend who toured the same summer we did: 9 or 10 mph (assuming no headwind or tailwind) is the speed at which you can outrun mosquitoes. Sounds like no big deal, until you're climbing a hill. Or you have a tailwind as fast as you are.

(Marias Pass, for us, was definitely the worst. CLOUDS OF THEM. They flew in my nose, into my ear, into my mouth. They flew into the holes of my helmet and bit me through my hat. I had to push my helmet mirror out of view or I could see the little cloud just behind me. It was BAD.)
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Old 06-30-13, 05:57 AM
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As I noted above in post number 4, bugs were not bad when I was there last year. But, based on what I am reading here from others, they may be worse than my experience.

When I go camping in places I expect to be buggy, I bring a mosquito netting pull-over jacket and pants. Where the netting touches my skin, the bugs can bite, but the netting holds the bugs further away from my skin in almost everywhere else. It is very lightweight and can pack down to small volume. I often wear it with shorts and short sleeve shirt in hot weather, as the hot weather is when the bugs are most active. It is surprising how effective it is.

It is quite loose to avoid touching your skin in too many places, thus it would not work while riding, the netting would likely get caught in the chain or other moving parts, but around the campsite it can be quite useful.
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Old 06-30-13, 10:33 AM
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Would like to mention that the bugs in Jaspers are awful this year. Was there on tour in late April and I was turning into a human food bank while camping.

I find the bugs pretty bad usually between about June till Sept that region of Alberta. Add this year's flooding the province and extra standing water, and you should be looking at investing in any company that sells DEET this summer LOL. Going to be rough in a few weeks.
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