Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Muskoka bugs-update

bugWe have seasons for bugs: May is blackfly season, June brings mosquitos, and the heat of July, brings deerflies, blackflies out. This season is an early one, though.

The lily bugs have been active. Those little darlings who love eating Asiatic Lilies, fornicating in great glee on the luscious leaves (see below!), then the larvae live in their own poop on the plants. The flowers that result are quite droopy, if you don't either catch them, drown them in soapy water, or feed the bugs to your ducks. They are really gross!

I have been happy with the results of the Neem Oil. A simple, natural solution.

You can order it, if it isn't in one of your local nurseries.
You mix a bit with water, and add some surfactant, and spray the plants every 5 - 7 days.

You really have to change your behaviour, as insects have been around for a long time. This morning we enjoyed a cup of coffee on the deck. The mosquitoes were in the garage, in the lee of the wind. But on the deck, with no breeze on an early morning there were no bugs. Well, not true. I noticed a certain dropping from the tree above. The caterpillars have been obvious, the odd little guy dropping down from the tree, and the tell-tale umm... little granular black droppings on the deck. 

This year, with abnormally warm temperatures, everyone is out and about. The dragonflies are deliciously happy. I am sure that the ornithologists and the entomologists are, too.

I love this prehistoric thing, this long-horned beetle. OK, I didn't love it enough to actually handle it, but picked it up with the trowel.

The hummingbird moth is tricky to photograph. We amateurs can only get better with time! The butterflies are a challenge, too.

What is good news, however, is that the mosquitoes are behaving as if it is July. They are scarce in the heat of the day. The bad news is that the deer flies and horseflies, who love the heat and sun, are ripping serious chunks out of us. At least they are noisy and large, unlike the blackflies, and easier to swat!
Physical barriers are important, if you have outdoor work to do. I was trying to videotape the hummingbird moth, and a horsefly was after my calves. It was such a surprise, as it snuck up on me. I did get my video, though!
The first is a song sparrow- singing, and preening and.. well, other normal bird things.
The next is a short, sweet vi of the hummingbird moth. Spectacular wee critter!

This is the video of the bat photos of ones that hung in our fireplace, iMovied together with the ones I tried to video in the dark! What a hoot. Must work on that one!


  • NO perfumes, limit deodorant with scents, make-up and hair spray
  • wear long sleeves
  • tuck sleeves into gloves
  • tuck pant legs into socks
  • stay in open areas
  • burn candles, install electronics or other products, intended to attract and/or kill bugs
  • I am skeptical about that garlic spray...but some swear by it
  • smoke (not a good choice for many, especially with a fire ban!)
  • my friend, Nancy, swears by the Vitamin D arm patch
  • use a  bug spray product (some prefer DEET-based products if allergic to bug bites)
  • spray on neck, hands and ankles (I use Skin-so-soft, from Avon)
  • go outdoors midday, when the sun is hot
  • stay in the wind!
  • there are a variety of hats and bug gear— if you must work outdoors 
  • install bat boxes (they eat a ton of bugs), but as my video says, I didn't research it enough.
Don't you love Brian in his outfit? It is quite clever: cool and covers up.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,

I'm Zet. I've got your link from I was browsing the net for Muskoka. My friends and I are planning to visit this place coming June for photography. I was lucky to find your blog. I would like to ask your expertise on the good places for photography.


Jenn Jilks said...

Zet, the first thing you have to do is determine what you want to photograph. Typical Muskoka life (e.g. people, boating, swimming) or animals in the wild, or flora.

If you check Muskoka photographers, many run such tours for specific purposes. You don't have to sign up with them, but they will give you an idea of what they do.

You have to figure out if you want a remote resort, and a place from which you can visit all of our local sites.

For example, we stayed in an Algonquin Park motel, which offered great deals for photography groups interested in shoulder season shots, but they were booing for October!

Another photographer teams up with the Muskoka wildlife centre, to help you figure out how to photograph their wild animals in a controlled setting.

With an extreme bear in the Port Severn area you have to be careful and know where to go, too. Be prepared for heat and bugs.

We have several Muskoka walking trails around (Google it!). You best visit during the early or late hours, as the noise from the 'peeps' keep away the wildlife!

We rented our cottage to a couple of folks who were interested in portaging across the lake to find some peace and quiet. Places like Torrance Barrens are terrific too. But the further north you go, the more you will see!

Unknown said...

Jenn, thanks for the tips on dealing with bugs. I want Brian's outfit!
Memorable experiences I would like to forget: setting up tent at mouth of Black River on Lake Superior and being swarmed by the new fly hatch......:(

EG CameraGirl said...

I see the flying and crawling critters are out and about!

That's quite the outfit Brian is wearing. :) I bet the G8 reps and entourage will be wishing they could buy the like!