Don't let biting flies and other insects ruin your summer fun in the Hudson Valley.

Locals know that as summer days get warmer the Hudson Valley seems to explode with insects that are not only annoying, but painful. Because of the mild temperatures this winter, the tick population has exploded. In the past we've shared some easy ways to get rid of them from your yard, but what about those flying nuisances?

According to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, these are five of the worst flying pests in our area:

Black flies and gnats
Even though they're small in size their bite can pack a big, painful punch. They're pretty easy to identify

Horse flies
There are actually a few different species of flies classified as "horse flies." We're not sure if they were given their name because they tend to bother horses, or because they seem to be as big as a horse. Regardless, these painful pests will usually circle around before finding just the right spot to launch their attack.

Stable flies
They look just like a house fly, but are way more painful. Most of the time these little buggers will go for your legs or ankles. They lay their egges in old grass clippings and garbage

Deer flies
If you think that moving around and staying active will keep the flies away, think again. These tricky guys like a moving target. Deer flies have clear wings with dark blotches and go after fast moving creatures, like deer and your kids.

Not only do mosquitoes cause swelling and pain, but they can also transmit some scary diseases.

So what can you do to protect yourself from these five painful pests?

Fly traps work, but experts warn against putting them on your deck or in places where people congregate. While they trap insects, they work by attracting them first. That's the last thing you want to do. Put traps far away from your house to lure those pests in the opposite direction of where you will be hanging out.

Bug sprays
Sprays work, but need to be applied properly. Make sure to read all of the labels and follow the directions. Home remedies and lotions that people claim work better than actual repellents usually don't. Look for products that contain Deet, the only ingredient really proven to work.

Ditch the bug zapper
Flies aren't really fooled by electronic bug zappers. You're actually more likely to fry up more beneficial insects instead of the ones that bite you. Plus, all of those bug guts get sent flying through the air and onto your barbecue every time a little guy hits that electricity. Yuck.

Get them where they breed
The best protection from insects is to stop them from laying eggs in the first place. Everyone should know by now to check for standing water. That's where mosquitoes and other insects breed. Most people don't realize that insects also breed in piles of grass clippings, dirty gutters, rotting mulch and uncovered garbage cans. If you stay on top of these breeding grounds you're likely to see a big reduction in bug bites this summer.

For more information on biting flies and bugs and how to keep them away, Cornell University has a wealth of facts and tips on how to control their population available online.


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