They've been out with a vengeance in Rochester the past couple of days: Black flies. Here are some ways you to keep them away from you!

I noticed these annoying flies a few days ago when I was trying to have lunch on the deck in our backyard. The black flies (or gnats, if you prefer) swarmed out of nowhere and made it so miserable, I headed back inside.

Have you noticed them too? According to the Minnesota DNR, the black flies and gnats especially bad this year because of our wet spring. But our recent warmer, dry weather has had them hatching everywhere. They're usually around from mid-May until late June or so, but they're a little late this year.

But they're here now, they're annoying, and their bites can be both itchy and painful. So how can you get rid of them? Well, you can't. But there ARE a few things you can do to try to repel them. First, you can buy and apply any bug repellant with DEET in it. But the Farmer's Almanac has a list of 7 ways you can naturally repel black flies too.

For instance, it says wearing a hat with netting on it over your face can help, because the flies, much like mosquitoes, are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale. But that's not very practical, is it? (Especially if you want to enjoy a lovely beverage)

The story also recommends applying some natural scents like anilla extract, lavender, and the extract from pine branches-- all of which repel those nasty flies and gnats. Essential oils like eucalyptus can also help.

But maybe the easiest way to repel them from your deck or patio is to simply turn on a fan. Really. The Farmers Almanac says the breeze created by a simple oscillating fan (yes, a fan-- outside!) "works in two ways: It makes it harder for bugs to fly in the area and it helps blow away the carbon dioxide that is produced when we exhale," the story notes.

There are also some specific foods you can eat to make yourself less attractive to those annoying black flies and gnats. You can read all of their suggestions HERE.

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