Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Black-fly (Mouches noires) and other lesser flesh-eating beasts of Deep River (sand-fly, deer-fly, horse-fly, mosquito, botfly lavae, chipmunk, squirrel, fisher, wolf, wolverine, black bear, moose, deer)

Getting to and things to do in the Deep River, Upper Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada area

(Page added June 2008: after receiving a serious complaint by a visitor to Deep River - of being seriously mauled by black-flies due to lack of pre-emptive warning within these Deep River webpages)

Lachlan's Deep River homepage is at

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Preparation for visiting Deep River in Spring, Summer and Autumn/Fall

  • Infection: Avoiding mosquitoes and black flies
    • At

    • Individually, there are a number of things you can do to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and black flies:

    • * Wear suitable clothing. Dark colours tend to attract the insects so, choose light-coloured, loose-fitting garments tucked into your clothing and boots to prevent the smaller insects from crawling underneath. Head nets made of fine-mesh material can protect the head and neck in high infestation areas.
    • * Use insect repellents. Repellents, applied thinly and evenly give good protection. There are a variety of products on the market containing ingredients such as deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), 6-12 (2-ethyl-1, 3 hexanediol), citronyl, and DMP (dimethyl phthalate). Read the label directions carefully and choose one that meets your needs.
    • * Avoid outdoor activities during peak fly periods. These insects tend to have population peaks in the early summer, so plan your excursions accordingly. The worst time for attacks is early in the morning, after a rain or in the early evening. Mosquitoes like to dine at dusk.

Most Essential: small pocket-size spray bottle of DEET insect repellent (carry in pocket at all times!!)

Can normally be purchased at Deep River stores including Giant Tiger, Valuemart and Canadian Tire.

small pocket-size spray bottle of DEET insect repellent

Highly useful: Wide brim hat with insect resistent mesh

Can possibly be purchased at Deep River stores including Giant Tiger and Canadian Tire.

Wide brim hat with insect resistent mesh

Highly useful for the more fashion-oriented: wear a hat or cap when outdoors to stop black flies getting into your hair whereby they start feeding on your flesh

If stressed-out by insects: hand-held battery-operated high-voltage electric bug zapping racquet (100% effective and spectacularly lethal)

Can possibly be purchased at Deep River stores including Giant Tiger.

hand-held battery-operated high-voltage electric bug zapping racquet

Biting flies in order of size (tiny to large), then mosquitoes and Bot-fly lavae

(Note: Black-flies are ones that drive people to despair)

Sandfly (tiny size)

  • Sandfly
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    • Also known as "sandflea, no-see-um, no-see-em, noseeum, sand gnats, chitras, punkie, or punky"

    • The sandfly is attracted to human flesh, and sandfly is used to refer to members of the subfamily Phlebotominae within the Psychodidae, including the primary vectors of leishmaniasis and sandfly fever.

Black-fly (small size)

  • If from Scotland, midges would be the equivalent in Scotland.
  • Black-fly
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    • In Canada, black flies are a scourge to livestock, causing weight loss in cattle and in some cases, death.

    • The Canadian Shield is characterized by an abundance of lakes and swift-flowing streams and hence offers optimum conditions for black flies to lay their eggs. The Canadian Shield is notorious for the abundance of black flies in the summertime.

  • Black flies or buffalo gnats (family simuliidae)
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    • There are numerous references of livestock losses along river basins in the United States, as well as other countries, resulting from black fly attacks. Large numbers of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, turkeys, chickens, sheep, dogs and cats, as well as wild animals have been killed. Death usually occurs as a consequence of an acute toxemia, caused by a vast number of bites, or as a result of anaphylactic shock. Weakness due to blood loss may also be a contributing factor to animal loss.

Deerfly (large size)

  • Deerfly
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    • The bite becomes painful immediately. The best way to treat a bite is with alcohol to prevent infection.

    • Deer flies often considered horse-flies, being smaller than a wasp and having colored eyes, and with dark bands across their wings. While female deer flies feed on blood, males instead collect pollen. When feeding, females use their knife-like mandibles and maxillae to make a cross-shaped incision and then lap up the blood. They are potential vectors of tularemia and loa loa filariasis.

Horsefly (larger size)

  • Horsefly
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    • Flies of this type are among those known sometimes as "gadflies", "zimbs" or "clegs." In Australia, they are known as "March" flies.

    • The bite from a larger specimen is extremely painful, especially considering the light, agile, and airborne nature of the fly. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have mandibles like tiny serrated scimitars, which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart. This causes the blood to seep out as the horsefly licks it up. They may even carve a chunk completely out of the victim, to be digested at leisure.

    • Adult horse flies feed on nectar and sometimes pollen. Females require a blood meal for reproduction. Males lack the necessary mouth parts (mandibles) for blood feeding. Most female horse flies feed on mammal blood, but some species are known to feed on birds, amphibians or reptiles.

    • A common problem in some animals, though, when large flies are abundant, is blood loss. Some animals have been known to lose up to 300 ml of blood in a single day, which can severely weaken or even kill them.

    • Some horsefly species are known to transmit disease and/or parasites. Species in the genus Chrysops are biological vectors of Loa loa, transmitting this filarial worm between humans. They have also been known to transmit Anthrax among cattle and sheep.

      Blood-borne diseases in particular are a problem. Tabanids are very good vectors of Equine Infectious Anaemia Virus, as well as some Trypanosome species.


Botfly larvae

(normally associated with pet rabbits. On humans: rare around Deep River but one verbal report of a botfly larvae wiggling around beneath the skin, where a vet identified it.)

  • If you want more information, do a search on Not recommended reading during lunch or evening meals.
  • Botfly
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    • Oestridae (also called botfly or "bumfly" bot fly) is a family of Oestroidea. It is one of several families of hairy flies whose larvae live as parasites within the bodies of mammals, such as the Desert Woodrat.

    • Only one bot fly species attacks humans, the Dermatobia hominis.

    • Life cycle

    • Botflies deposit eggs in a host body, or sometimes use an intermediate vector: common houseflies for example.
    • Eggs are deposited in animal skin directly, or the larvae drop from the egg: the body heat of the animal induces hatching upon contact. Some forms of botfly also reside in the digestive tract when consumed by a licking action.
    • Myiasis can be caused by larvae burrowing into the skin (or tissue lining) of the host animal.
    • Mature larvae drop from the host and complete the pupal stage in soil.
    • They do not kill the host animal, and thus are true parasites (though some species of rodent-infesting botflies do consume the host's testes/ovaries).

Mammals - by size


Black squirrel

  • Squirrel
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    • "Eastern Grey Squirrel (S. carolinensis), of which the "Black Squirrel" is a variant"

    • "Black squirrels in Russia have been accused of pack behavior in the killing and consumption of a dog." ( "Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog'", BBC News (2005-12-01). Retrieved on 2008-07-07.)

    • Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog':
      • At

      • While squirrels without sources of protein might attack birds' nests, he said, the idea of them chewing a dog to death was "absurd".

      • "If it really happened, things must be pretty bad in our forests," he added.

Fisher (a small version of a wolverine: known for sneaking around and eating domestic cats)

Wolf (wolves - alledgedly - tend to visit the Deep River area in winter from Quebec via the frozen Ottawa river)

  • Wolf attacks on humans
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    • Under normal circumstances, wild wolves are generally timid around humans. Wolves usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected, though there are several reported circumstances in which wolves have been recorded to act aggressively toward humans.


(Deep River is generally too south to find wolverines but there have been claims of finding evidence of occassional wolverine in the area)

  • Wolverine
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    • The wolverine is, like most mustelids, remarkably strong for its size. It has been known to kill prey as large as moose, although most typically when these are weakened by winter or caught in snowbanks.

    • Armed with powerful jaws and a thick hide, wolverines may defend kills against larger or more numerous predators. There is at least one published account of a 27-pound wolverine's attempt to steal a kill from a much larger predator - namely, a black bear (adult males weigh 400 to 500 pounds). Unfortunately for the mustelid, the bear won what was ultimately a fatal contest, crushing the wolverine's skull.

American Black Bear

  • As noted in above entry on wolverines, it is not recommended to try and steal a black bear's kill.
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: What to do if you encounter a (black) bear
    • At

    • Know the language of black bears:

      If you by chance encounter a black bear it may:

      • Stand on its hind legs to get a better look at you
      • Salivate excessively, exhale loudly, and make huffing, moaning, clacking and popping sounds with its mouth, teeth and jaws
      • Lower its head with its ears drawn back while facing you
      • Charge forward, and/or swat the ground with its paws. This is also known as a bluff charge

      Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is provided you don't approach the bear. These are all warning signals bears give to let you know you are too close. When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee.

      What to do Surprise and Close Encounters:

      • Remain calm. Do not run. Stand still and talk to the bear in a calm voice
      • Arm your pepper spray
      • Do not try to get closer to the bear
      • If the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice. Do not scream, turn your back on the bear, run, kneel down or make direct eye contact
      • Watch the bear and wait for it to leave
      • If the bear does not leave or approaches you, yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Throw objects, blow a whistle or an air horn. The idea is to persuade the bear to leave
      • If you are with others, stay together and act as a group. Make sure the bear has a clear escape route
      • If the bear keeps advancing, and is getting close, stand your ground. Use your bear pepper spray (if the bear is within seven metres) or anything else you can find or use to threaten or distract the bear
      • Do not run or climb a tree

      About attacks:

      Black bear attacks are extremely rare. A black bear may attack if:

      • It perceives you to be a threat to it, its cubs or it may be defending food. This is a defensive bear that wants more space between you and it. Such attacks are exceedingly rare although a bear's aggressive display may seem to suggest otherwise
      • It is a predatory bear. These bears are also very rare. Predatory attacks usually occur in rural or in remote areas. Predatory bears approach silently, and may continue to approach regardless of your attempts to deter them by yelling or throwing rocks

      What to do if an encounter results in an attack:

      • Use your pepper spray
      • Fight back with everything you have
      • Do not play dead except in the rare instance when you are sure a mother bear is attacking you in defense of cubs
  • American Black Bear
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    • Attacks on humans

      Like many animals, they seldom attack unless cornered, threatened, or wounded. They are less likely to attack humans than grizzly bears and typically flee for cover as soon as they identify a human visitor. Deaths by black bear are most often predatory, while grizzlies fatalities on humans, although extremely rare, are often defensive.[15] This makes feigning death when a black bear attacks ineffective. Although 15 North Americans have been killed since the year 2000, it is estimated that there have been only 56 documented killings of humans by black bears in North America in the past 100 years.


  • Moose-Vehicle Collision Information - New Brunswick Department of Transportation
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    • A moose is about the same size as a draft horse. It can weigh about 450 kg (1,000 lbs.) and stand two metres (6 1/2 feet tall). When struck by a car, it often falls on the windshield and roof of the vehicle. As a result, many of the people involved in these crashes are seriously injured and some are killed. It is a serious problem.

    • Safety Tips

      Slow Down At NightSlow Down When Driving At Night. A moose's dark coat makes it hard to see. Unlike a deer, a moose's eyes don't reflect light. Slowing down will give you more time to respond to a moose on or near the highway.

      Pay Attention To Warning Signs. They mark high-risk areas with a history of moose-vehicle collisions. They were placed along the highway for your protection.

      Scan Both Sides Of The Road. The best way to avoid an accident is to spot the moose well in advance. Ask your passenger to help you watch for moose and other animals.

      Use Extreme Caution Whenever You See A Moose. They are unpredictable. The moose you see standing calmly at the edge of the road could bolt in front of your vehicle at the last second.

      Keep Your Windshield Clean.

      Keep Your Headlights Adjusted. Use high beams whenever possible.

  • Moose-Vehicle Awareness
    • At

    • About 700 moose-vehicle collisions occur on the Province's highways every year. People have been killed in these accidents. More often they are injured, resulting in hospitalization, time off work, and loss of pay. Cost estimates for vehicle damage alone are more than $1 million annually.

      Why do moose use roadways?

      Roadways often run through areas of prime moose habitat. More importantly, roads tend to attract moose which come there to:

      feed on the vegetation along the roadside;

      gain relief from flies in the open windswept right-of-ways;

      in winter, to travel roadways cleared of deep snow.

      or simply to move from one part of the habitat to another

      Can this be prevented?

      As long as there are moose in Newfoundland, they will be found on the highway. Data show that even in areas with very low moose density, moose are still attracted to roadways and can pose a hazard to drivers.

      Whistles, reflectors, and odour repellents to frighten big game from passing vehicles or keep them from roadsides have been tested in North America and Europe; so far none have proven to be effective or economically feasible.

      Care and attention when driving remains your best defense against a moose-vehicle accident.

      When do accidents occur?

      While accidents are reported year round, more than 70% occur between May and October. The three most critical months are June, July, and August.

    • The majority of accidents occur between dusk and dawn. This is the time when driver visibility is severely limited by darkness, and when moose are most active. Most accidents occur on clear nights. So to avoid an accident, when you drive, think Moose!

      Where do accidents occur?

      Most of the Provincial highway system runs through good moose habitat. Thus, a driver can expect to encounter moose while traveling on any section of the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) or on any secondary roads.

      Many accidents occur on straight stretches of roadway.

      More accidents occur on certain sections of roadway. These HIGH-RISK areas are marked with moose crossing warning signs as illustrated.

    • How can I avoid an accident?

      Slow down when driving at night. This will allow you more time to respond to a moose on or near the highway.

      Pay attention to Warning Signs; they mark High-Risk areas. These signs were placed along the roadways for you! Slow down and watch for moose.

      Scan both sides of the road ahead as far as possible, especially when you are in a posted High-Risk accident zone.

      The best way to avoid an accident is to spot the moose well in advance. Drivers report that in most accidents they did not see the moose until immediately before impact.

      Moose on the right side of the vehicle are avoided more often than those on the left because drivers concentrate more on the right. Therefore, it important to scan both sides of the road.

      Use extreme caution whenever you see an animal. No matter what it appears to be doing or how far it is from the road, slow down.

      Moose are unpredictable. The moose you see standing calmly at the edge of the road could bolt in front of your vehicle at the last moment.

      Remember most accidents occur on clear nights and on straight road sections, maybe because drivers are more cautious on curves or in poor weather.

      Keep your windshield and headlights clean.

      Drive with your headlights on high beam unless approaching, or overtaking, other traffic.

      Wear your seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives.


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