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Re: [John Muir Trail] No see Ums on the JMT -- sometimes there, sometimes not

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  • Peter Burke
    ... the bug-infested areas move with the seasonal temperatures, elevation and weather patters - hatching at different elevations at different times as the
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 25, 2010
      On 2/25/2010 8:58 AM, Roleigh Martin wrote:  
      The last posting about the No see Ums.  2 years ago we only encountered them at Wanda lake and it was super horrendous for about 1 hour of hiking.  Last year, not there at all, although each year it was between mid-july and mid-august.
      What causes them to be there one year but not another year?  When is their worst time of the year?  Where on the JMT?  We only saw them 2 years ago at Wanda Lake.
      the bug-infested areas move with the seasonal temperatures, elevation and weather patters  - hatching at different elevations at different times as the spring moves up the mountain to lakes and meadows at increasing elevation. I never saw a bug at Wanda Lake in all my early season hikes, mostly because at that time of the summer, the bugs are hatching much lower down at that time. Evolution Meadow is a place we usually do not stop at, but when you get up to Evolution Lake in early July, you got the bugs well below you (never seen them near snow ;-)). This elevation line creeps up over the season, so that in August, you probably get them above Evolution Lake and at Wanda Lake.

      There are also types of mosquitoes that don't hatch every year. We have them here in Wisconsin - that type lays eggs in lawns, not in standing water, and they only hatch when there's a lot of precip, soaking these places. When those buggers come out, it usually gets really bad at odd times of the year.

      I suppose I don't mind them since I live in a place that is infested with bloodsuckers, so when I go to the Sierras and find them only in a few spots, it's actually not a problem. It can get so bad here that you simply will not go outside for weeks in summer, you'll think twice about opening your garage door before sitting in your car, because they will attack before you get into the car, etc.

      Bugs may also be a reason why I like high camps and stay out of the woods. The higher the camp, the better in my book. Mornings are bug free when it's nice and cold, and by the time it gets warm enough for them we're moving. Even in lower elevations, the mornings are usually much better with the temps too low for the blood suckers to come out and scan for blood.

      The three of us went through one small bottle of DEET over the entire hike last summer, with most of that used up before we hit VVR. After that just a few spots such as Evolution Valley, Big Pete Meadow and the woods below the Golden Staircase.

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