Bugs in the Backcountry

Beyond the ubiquitous mosquitoes, there are countless insects hikers encounter along their chosen backcountry path. Some are good, some not so good and some just plain ugly.

Mayflies are often seen along watery trails! (Photo: M.Kopp)

The Good

Ask any angler, and we’ve seen many with poles strapped to backpacks heading into remote alpine lakes, and they’ll agree that mayflies are not just good – they’re great! Mayflies are a favorite food source for trout.  Seeing these insects is a good thing – especially if you like to fish while out in the backcountry.

The Bad

Wasps and bees aren’t restricted to garden parties. Meeting these stingers can be a health concern if you have an allergy. If in doubt, make sure to carry an Epi-pen in your first aid kit.

The Ugly

Horseflies. As bad as deerflies and black flies can be, horseflies take a pound of flesh with every bite (or so it feels). The only good thing about them, in my humble opinion, is that they are big and odds are in your favor in landing a killing blow. It’s rather sickly satisfying to bring them to the ground.

Bugs in the backcountry – let’s face it, they were there before us and they’ll be there after we’ve gone. Enjoy the good ones, use care around the bad ones and learn tricks for dealing with the ugly ones.

Did you know?

Spiders and ticks are not insects. All insects have six legs and three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen). Spiders and ticks have eight legs and two main body parts.

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