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Old 02-06-2021, 11:39 AM   #1
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Screen Rooms

DW and I are planning a trip to northern WI and MI this fall or next spring in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis. Rumor has it that we might encounter small flying creatures that can ruin sitting outside our trailer. There are not a lot of choices for awning screen rooms but we would appreciate what suggestions and experience anyone could share as to brand/model, screen size needed (standard screen or no-see-um, etc), or any other related thoughts or wisdom on screen rooms. Also, should we put no-see-um screen over our regular window screens?

Any suggestions on good aurora viewing locations would also be appreciated. Right now we are targeting staying south of the border but if it opens we will be looking north too.

Many thanks, Doug
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:22 PM   #2
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If the bugs are bad, whic is more typical of May/June than late summer, we tend to just wear our screen room on our head.

I don't know how to plan for the aurora, but I just happened to see this one at Lake Superior Provincial Park in late August. LSPP is only a couple hours north of Saulte Saint Marie if you can cross the border. There is a campground there on Agawa Bay that is well suited to your Escape. You'll also find that being right on the lake tends to cut down the bugs.

A park in MI that would give a nice view over the lake is McLain, but this is a much busier / RV type place than the more remote LSPP.
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:27 PM   #3
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If the bugs are bad, whic is more typical of May/June than late summer, we tend to just wear our screen room on our head.

I don't know how to plan for the aurora, but I just happened to see this one at Lake Superior Provincial Park in late August. LSPP is only a couple hours north of Saulte Saint Marie if you can cross the border. There is a campground there on Agawa Bay that is well suited to your Escape. You'll also find that being right on the lake tends to cut down the bugs.

A park in MI that would give a nice view over the lake is McLain, but this is a much busier / RV type place than the more remote LSPP.
That picture of the aurora doesn’t even look real! That’s incredible.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:10 PM   #4
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no see-ems

You likely wouldn't need no see-em screen over your existing rig screens. Not many, usually, around those parts.


Lots of folks swear by their Clam pop-up shelters. I borrowed one once and found it heavy, big to store, cumbersome and they have a rep of being hot in sun or summer.



This is what I use, bought used from a trailer buddy who bought a larger version.
https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Insta..._t1_B00339C3FA


Biting flies and mosquitoes are more of a problem up North, but they all have their season. Ticks, too.
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:29 PM   #5
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I grew up in Michigan, and I go back for a visit most summers. I can't recall ever encountering no-see-ums in Michigan. Habberdabber is correct. You're most likely to encountere the skeeters and, in some spots (especially close to the Superior shoreline), the biting flies that look like houseflies.

If you're worried about tiny flying bugs, though, the Clam and Gazelle both have fine-mesh screen material. They're good, but not in hot weather since the screens restrict airflow.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:18 PM   #6
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Stable flies

Those biting, housefly looking insects are called stable flies, and they can be truly stunning in number and ferocity. They can be absent, but if a warm wind blows them along the shore of a lake, especially Lake Superior in summer....it's impossible. Even our dog enjoyed use of a head net one time there.
Mosquitoes are mostly a morning/evening problem, if low winds are blowing.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:28 PM   #7
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This summer I'd planned to visit Isle Royale for two weeks, but once the pandemic cancelled it we decided to run all the rivers of Michigan's western UP. The mosquitos were bad every morning, and just as they quit the biting flies would take over the day shift. They swapped back in the evening.


We found it best to just spend the entire waking day out on the river or something. We just never hung around camp.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:56 PM   #8
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"DW and I are planning a trip to northern WI and MI this fall or next spring in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis."


Go in the Fall for reduced bugs, after Labor Day...temps nicer, bugs are around but not in hordes. Spring is OK, but after Memorial Day the bugs come out. And some Springs can be very cool, especially along the Great Lakes. I like Fall, and you'd even start to see some Fall color in the trees up North.


But you need some bad space weather, solar storms...for those Northern lights. And you can't predict well when that will occur.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:49 AM   #9
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I would suggest a place like Copper Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula, that faces north in a dark setting (no lights on Lake Superior, except for a passing ship). There is no guarantee you will see aurora borealis, but it is a lovely place even without it.
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Old 02-08-2021, 09:41 AM   #10
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Those biting, housefly looking insects are called stable flies, and they can be truly stunning in number and ferocity. They can be absent, but if a warm wind blows them along the shore of a lake, especially Lake Superior in summer....it's impossible. Even our dog enjoyed use of a head net one time there.
Mosquitoes are mostly a morning/evening problem, if low winds are blowing.
We call them "horse" flies........
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:11 AM   #11
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Not so. Not to be confused with horse fly.

Stable fly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Not to be confused with horse fly.
Stable fly Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Muscidae
Subfamily: Muscinae
Tribe: Stomoxyini
Genus: Stomoxys
Species: S. calcitrans
Binomial name Stomoxys calcitrans
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Synonyms Stomoxys calcitrans is commonly called the stable fly, barn fly, biting house fly, dog fly, or power mower fly.[1] Unlike most members of the family Muscidae, Stomoxys calcitrans ('sharp mouth' + 'kicking') and others of its genus suck blood from mammals. Now found worldwide, the species is considered to be of Eurasian origin.[2]

Physical features

The stable fly resembles the common housefly (Musca domestica), though smaller, and on closer examination has a slightly wider and spotted abdomen.[3] Adults are generally about 6–8 mm (1⁄4–5⁄16 inch) in length and a lighter color than the housefly. Unlike the housefly, where the mouth part is adapted for sponging, the stable fly mouth parts have biting structures.[4]

Habitat

As its name suggests, the stable fly is abundant in and around where cattle are kept. Its maggots are often seen in the rotting manure near cattle and poultry.[5]

Biology

Play media

Stomoxys calcitrans laying an egg


The earliest and one of the most comprehensive accounts of stable fly biology was presented by F. Bishop in 1913.[2] The adults of both sexes feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals during the daytime. For egg production, the female requires its abdomen to be engorged with blood. The female takes approximately 2–5 minutes to engorge, after which it becomes sluggish for a while. The eggs are laid among putrefying organic materials such as hay, manure, and wood. Males usually die after mating and the females after laying eggs. The life cycle has a duration of about two weeks at temperatures around 27 °C (81 °F). The duration is highly dependent on temperature and nutrient quality available for the larvae. Bishop (1913) noted that the larvae can endure for more than 30 days in less nutritious environs.[2]

Economic importance

Cattle heavily infested with stable flies have been noted to become anemic and milking cows have been observed to show lower milk production.[6] The stable fly bites humans at rest in the outdoors. In many parts of the world, the species is a carrier of trypanosomid parasites.[7] Some of the reported parasites and diseases for which the stable fly might be a vector include Trypanosoma evansi (the agent of Surra), Trypanosoma brucei, brucellosis, equine infectious anemia, African horse sickness (AHS), and fowlpox.[8] [9] S. calcitrans is also reported to be a vector of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax.[9][10] [11]


  • Sucking human blood
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:39 AM   #12
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Yeah, definitely not horseflies, those are much larger than stable flies.

I call the stable flies "ankle biters" because they are fond of biting through my socks.

Years ago some friends and I would have an annual tent camp at a primitive group campsite on Cass Lake in Minnesota. The stable flies were a pain all the daylight hours, then would trade off for the mosquitos at sundown. We were cheered by the sight of large bumblebee-looking things that would grab stable flies and carry them away. I later figured out these were bald-faced hornets. But there weren't nearly enough hornets to make a dent in the fly population.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:48 AM   #13
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I later figured out these were bald-faced hornets. But there weren't nearly enough hornets to make a dent in the fly population.

Which is good, because bald-faced hornets will just sting you for no good reason and their sting is really painful. Not a fan.
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:00 AM   #14
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Stable fly tale

A buddy & I were sea kayaking along the Pictured Rocks area on Lake Superior. Stopped to camp for the night, and the stable flies came out. A white cooler turned black with them covering it. Yeah, that many. Had to retreat to the tent to escape, and spent an hour swatting inside the tent to rid them. Next morning we broke camp, fastest ever, with the stable flies amassing. Hopped in the kayak, fastened the spray skirt & took off. Problem was scads of the flies were inside the kayak, locked in by the spray skirt, and biting up a storm. Stuck again between the devil and the deep blue sea.


Ahhh...the painful memories.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:40 PM   #15
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DW and I are planning a trip to northern WI and MI this fall or next spring in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis. Rumor has it that we might encounter small flying creatures that can ruin sitting outside our trailer. There are not a lot of choices for awning screen rooms but we would appreciate what suggestions and experience anyone could share as to brand/model, screen size needed (standard screen or no-see-um, etc), or any other related thoughts or wisdom on screen rooms. Also, should we put no-see-um screen over our regular window screens?

Any suggestions on good aurora viewing locations would also be appreciated. Right now we are targeting staying south of the border but if it opens we will be looking north too.

Many thanks, Doug
I have thought about screen tents and rooms and still may get one for certain settings. The clam looks nice and you can get sides as well. I saw one do pretty well in the wind on Hatteras this fall. My parents have an ez up and bought a kit with clip on screen sides that works pretty well. We bring along my Milwaukee 18 volt fan and some extra batteries (My drill etc are the same battery) a battery will last at least one evening on full blast and that keeps the mozzies and flies away. Put it under the table blowing on those tender ankles! It can also help to get the campfire going.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:08 PM   #16
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Which is good, because bald-faced hornets will just sting you for no good reason and their sting is really painful. Not a fan.
Yeah, we were a little worried about them, but the fly hunting was too good for them to bother us I guess.
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Old 02-08-2021, 03:10 PM   #17
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A buddy & I were sea kayaking along the Pictured Rocks area on Lake Superior. Stopped to camp for the night, and the stable flies came out. A white cooler turned black with them covering it. Yeah, that many. Had to retreat to the tent to escape, and spent an hour swatting inside the tent to rid them. Next morning we broke camp, fastest ever, with the stable flies amassing. Hopped in the kayak, fastened the spray skirt & took off. Problem was scads of the flies were inside the kayak, locked in by the spray skirt, and biting up a storm. Stuck again between the devil and the deep blue sea.


Ahhh...the painful memories.
One year we brought a canoe to mess around in at the aforementioned campground. Took it out on the lake and soon had hundreds of flies riding along in the canoe, and biting our legs too. That was a short trip.
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:15 PM   #18
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Ankle Biters was the name one of my geezer mentors used to describe small dogs and small unruly children. Bald Faced Hornets are nothing to mess with. Several times in my park career I was tasked with taking care of an active nest in picnic areas, golf courses and buildings. Exciting times and considerable ingenuity. I collected the nests for quite a while and had about
10 abandoned units complete with the supporting tree branch on my porch at our previous home. When admired, I’d give one to anybody. School teachers liked them.
At rallies, I love to discuss hornet nest conquests and epic failures but I’m done messing with them guys. They were better organized than the Ironworkers. (You mess with one, you got em’ all).
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Old 02-08-2021, 05:33 PM   #19
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Hornet? Wasp?

I don't know what whacked me.....but.....I had some slit tennis balls covering the tops of my garden fence posts to prevent hand injury when lifting a leg over the fence for entrance, using the post for support. Maybe 24" high posts. I grabbed the fence post and whack....multiple painful stings by some critter. The insects had set up house in my tennis ball protectors. I've since gone to clear, plastic juice bottles over the fence posts, so I can see what's coming next.



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Old 02-08-2021, 07:00 PM   #20
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Those biting, housefly looking insects are called stable flies...
I don't get it. Their location is unpredictable, not the least bit stable....
I can attest that they do not just bite humans at rest; they also bite humans in full flight!


The bald-faced hornets have a story to tell about their resting place. But it's always a bald-faced lie.
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