Heading to Michigan’s U.P.? Look Out for These Pesky Biting Flies
That's a big NOPE for me.
If you're planning on heading to Michigan's upper peninsula for some camping, fishing, kayaking, or even just hiking there are some things you'll need to be prepared. A few of those things are pretty obvious. Tents for camping, snacks and water for hiking, and a kayak for kayaking.
But, no matter what your planned activity is, you may want to consider wearing some durable pants and shirts to protect you from the abundance of Stable Flies in the area.
What's a Stable Fly?
A Stable Fly is often confused with a common housefly. The main difference is that these flies actually bite livestock and humans in the search for a blood meal. Sounds horrific, right? They're also easy to identify thanks to the stripes on their upper body and dark spots on the abdomen:
The bites are said to be rather painful. That's thanks to the pointed proboscis that extends from the head. You can see it working in the short video below:
Stable Flies are often found outdoors commonly near stables (hence, the name). They're also found along shorelines and, apparently, they are very prominent in the UP.
In the Facebook group Pure UP there have been a number of posts concerning these pesky flies. Including this one that shows the OP's leg and cooler absolutely covered in them.
And, judging by the comments on that Facebook post, things are only going to get worse:
Still early in the season I see - William L.
That’s a light day... - Steven J. As in...we should expect MORE?
Tricia E. commented: We left our campsite early, absolutely NOTHING stopped them from biting, not even 40% deet! Our dog were under attack! She also shared a picture:
So, What Do I Do About Them?
Canceling plans over a population of flies seems a bit extreme. Instead, to repel these Stable Flies and any other type of biting fly, insectshield.com suggests:
- Cover Up. Make sure to wear long sleeves and pants, perhaps some netting too. They also suggest trying to find clothing treated with permethrin (although, this seems to be more of an ad for their own product)
- Avoid swampy, muddy areas where eggs may have been laid
- Use products with Deet
You could also try fly traps/fly paper. Are any of those guaranteed to work? No. But, they could potentially help you avoid the fly nuisance during your travels.
While you're making your summer road trips throughout Michigan, make sure to keep a sharp eye out for these sculptures and other oddities that can be spotted from the road: