I’ll admit to hating just one thing about the Adirondacks in early summer – the bugs. Biting, buzzing, blood-sucking, rash and hive-inducing bugs.
I keep thinking that I’ll get used to them, maybe build up some type of resistance. In fact, one reason I haven’t made the annual trip the last few years is that on each visit my reaction gets worse. On my last visit my ankles, feet, and neck were actually swollen from all the bites and the welts on my scalp hadn’t gone away until the fall. It was bad.
The culprit is the gnat-like black fly. Billions of them hatch in May and June. They fly in your eyes, up your nose, in your mouth, they find their way inside your clothing through the seams, they get caught in your hair. They bite and then you itch miserably for weeks.
Short of covering myself with bug netting and Deet I’ve found no relief, but to stay out of the North Woods that I love so much. The kind people that I bird with like to kid me about the black flies. They think my suffering is funny. Someone took my picture while I was hiding out in the back of our van and suffering from “black fly fever” induced craziness. I think I was trying to swat them away from my head with the water bottle. I was already bright red from the itching.
I don’t think black flies carry any diseases, but they due threaten the sanity of this birder.