One unwelcome sign of spring is the blackfly. These bloodthirsty pests menace any living creature unfortunate enough to be in their path. They swarm about you relentlessly biting any exposed skin, making it insufferable to be outside.
The safest thing is to stay indoors, but that's not an option for gardeners. There are lots of home remedies and pesticides that promise relief, but many are ineffective against blackflies. If you have found something that works for you - count yourself lucky.
For the rest of us, here are three easy non-toxic ways to help defend yourself:
- Lighten up & cover up- Blackflies are attracted to darker colors, so wear the lightest colored long-sleeve shirt, pants (tucked into socks) and gloves you have - preferably white.
- Protect your head - Wear a hat to keep them out of your hair and add bandanas or scarves to cover up your ears, nose and mouth. You can also buy bug netting with or without a hat attached to it. Some people swear by a hard hat smeared with baby oil or petroleum jelly - they say it acts like flypaper.
- Wait for the right time - Blackflies prefer the shade and areas with lots of vegetation (including gardens). Try to avoid going out in the morning or at dusk when the air is calmer and the sun is lower in the sky. This means gardening during the sunniest (and hottest) part of the day - preferably when there is a breeze.
Gardening chores, like weeding, watering, and planting still have to be done even during blackfly season. If you want a reliable garden helper that is impervious to pests, consider getting a Tertill solar powered weeding robot. Tertill stays outside in the garden all season long and weeds for about 1-2 hours every day - enough to maintain a 200 square foot garden. With a Tertill in your garden, you can focus on taking care of your plants, while it takes care of the weeds.