Take the Bite Out of Summer
June 25th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

Biting black flies are an especially persistent nuisance outdoors, particularly near bodies of water. Fortunately, many of the things that repel or protect against mosquitoes are also effective deterrents for black flies: light-colored clothes, long sleeves, citronella oil, lemon eucalyptus oil and minty scents.
© iStock/walterbilotta

Local fishing guru, Pop, taught kids more than how to fish. He taught them a lot about bugs, too.

“Keep your mouth shut,” he told a girl complaining about mosquitoes one day. The other kids shut up immediately; they thought Pop was mad. It wasn’t until later they found out he was really teaching a lesson.

Mosquitoes find human targets by zeroing in on the carbon dioxide they expel. By minimizing talking, you make it harder for them to find you.

Pop’s broader lesson was to learn more about pests and use the knowledge to fight back against them.

Start by reducing the area of skin exposed to mosquitoes and other biting bugs. Wear long sleeves and long pants in heavily infested areas. Select light-colored clothing. Dark clothes actually attract bugs.

Go on offense with bug repellent. Products with DEET are the most effective. Use them sparingly and always follow instructions on the container.

However, many people prefer natural repellents. Citronella oil and lemon eucalyptus oil are top choices. They repel mosquitoes, black flies and ticks. But they are only two of the many scents that bug bugs.

I remember Pop used to chew peppermint gum and shower beforehand using lavender-smelling soap. He claimed both scents repelled mosquitoes. I don’t know about that, but one thing’s for sure: Pop was the sweetest-smelling old gent on the river.

Three Quick and Easy Fishing Tackle Hacks

  • Get hooked on neat. Keep hooks organized by threading them onto large safety pins.
  • Prune your line. The last several feet of line on your reel takes a lot of abuse. Cut it off after each outing to eliminate nicks and potential weak spots caused by wear and tear.
  • Dry up. Keep a small packet or two of silica gel or some other desiccant in your tacklebox. It will eliminate moisture that can wreak havoc on your gear over time.

Outdoor App of the Month—Leafsnap
Ever come across a tree and wonder what species it is?

Leafsnap knows. The beauty of the Leafsnap tree identification app is its ability to identify trees by visual recognition. Users photograph tree leaves and Leafsnap matches the image to thou-sands of high-resolution images in its vast database.

This free app is currently available only for Apple devices, but an Android version is scheduled to be released soon.

What Makes July Special?
July is National Picnic Month.
July 3: Stay Out of the Sun Day.
July 20: Ugly Truck Day.
July 22: Hammock Day.

Show-and-Tell Time
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.