Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnakes are occasionally seen in the woods, on the trail, or even on the campground. Of course, avoidance is your best defense against these critters. Take extra caution if hiking off-trail (like to find a potty spot along the trail) and watch your step!
You'll be happy to hear that we have very few mosquitos here!!! Almost none! Especially those of you from further North will enjoy being able to sit around the campsite at dusk and not have to swat!
However, ticks are very prevalent in this area, and they peak in early June. Repellent spray (expecially around your ankles) is the best defense. The annoying critters like to hang out in the underbrush, so again take extra caution off-trail.
Ground Bees are the most dreaded pest. These nasty hornets build underground hives and if located near to a trail the concussion of the horses hooves will agitate them to emerge eager to sting the 'invader' to their turf. The best defense when encountered is to stay on your horse and get away FAST! They may follow you for a distance down the trail, so go 100 yards or so to be sure. Ground Bee activily varies greatly from year to year depending on weather conditions. For example, in 2007 there was a flash-flood on July 5th in these parts that (apparrently) flooded out the bees in their hives, so we were blessed with very very few bees that year. And in 2012 the drought weakened the bees in both number and vigor. Typically their activity peaks in late August/early September and then declines as the weather gets cooler, ending with the first frost. Larger groups of riders have more potential to encounter bees. The first few riders past the hive 'wake up' the bees, and they emerge ready to attack by the time the 4th or so rider goes by. Smaller groups (2-3 people) have a greater chance to get past the hive safely, by the time the bees emerge they are down the trail.