If youíve ever been to a New England beach and been accosted by greenheads, or horseflies of any variety, then you already know how painful an experience it can be. It can turn a much-cherished day of your summer vacation into a bad experience fast.
There arenít many bug repellants that will fend off these blood sucking bullies on the beach, but I have heard that heavy coats of DEET may slow them down, or at least send them after the next unprotected victim on the sand. I myself have a fear of heavy-duty pesticides and try to never resort to using them.
I prefer to avoid beaches that will have heavy concentrations of flies. The months of June, July and August will be the worst times to visit any beach that is located close to marshes and other bodies of water. Generally speaking, the larger the body of water behind or surrounding the beach, not including the ocean itself of course, the higher the chances that you will be bothered by biting flies at the beach.
One of the worst beaches for flies that I can remember is Horseneck beach in Westport Massachusetts. That does not mean that you cannot have a wonderful time at this beach, but it will require more strategic planning than if you choose a beach with less water surrounding it. Higher winds tend to fend of the fiends, so a windy day at Horseneck is better than a calm day.
If you are planning a vacation during the summer months and have multiple beaches to choose from, take a look at all of them and notice which have the largest bodies of water or marshland around them. You can do this using any number of satellite websites such as Mapquest or Google. Make a list and put the marshiest beaches at the top of the list descending to the beaches with the least water around them at the bottom.
While you are on your vacation, take notice of how much wind there will be for your beach day while you watch the local weather forecast. If itís a moderately windy day, then feel free to choose any beach on the list during the hot months, but if itís going to be dead calm, with little to no wind, then donít make your selections from the top of the list. Try to choose one with no surrounding marshland or large bodies of water nearby.
Large concentrations of seaweed on the sand may also contribute to the presence of flies on the beach. If there has recently been a very high tide that has left scads of seaweed around, try to find a spot that is not right on top of it. The further away you get from seaweed, the better off youíll be.
I hope that you never spot a single horsefly while visiting one of our beaches. With a little luck and some good advice, you should be able to avoid it during most of the summer season here.