Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Totally Buggin'

I suspect that quoting the movie Clueless like I just did definitely dates me. Seriously? It came out twenty years ago? Damn. And yet, I still love it.

Anyway. Bugs. Yes.

Real bugs, that is. Real bugs EVVVVERYWHERE.

It's an unfortunate screw of the north country that winter is pretty much immediately followed by Bug Season. Capital letters for emphasis.

This is a relatively new thing for me. I know it's a problem in interior Alaska too, where I lived for three years when I was a kid, but I guess because I was a kid I didn't pay any attention to it. Or maybe because we were constantly covered in whatever totally toxic insect repellent was used at the time. Probably just a step away from DDT.

Anyway again.

Arizona obviously doesn't have much of a bug problem, and bugs weren't much of an issue at Blackrock, so this is the first spring in my memory that I've come up against them. And up against them I am.

First there were little gnats that swarmed ceaselessly around our heads at the first baseball/T-ball games of the year. They were annoying, but they didn't bite. I can deal with that. A hat more of less took care of them.

Then the biters showed up. They looked just like the harmless ones--as far as I could tell, anyway--but judging by the welts they caused that linger for days, I expect they're the dreaded black flies.

Still, it's mostly cool enough that I'm covered everywhere except my neck, which is where I currently have three good-sized welts courtesy of the little bastards. But I still haven't used any bug spray.

This definitely puts me in the minority, as every ball game or practice I attend is punctuated by the spectators stepping away to envelope themselves in a cloud of insect repellent. The fields are surrounded by woods and, at the main fields, a sluggish stream. It's a bug paradise. But I really hate bug spray, so I've resisted so far.

Then yesterday, the mosquitoes arrived. Because mosquitoes can't fly in any sort of breeze, they're not something we've seen yet. The more or less constant wind here must keep them away. But yesterday was warm, and as the sun went down, the wind calmed.

I opened the window in our bedroom to cool it down before bed, and I noticed mosquitoes swarming around the screen. Later, when we actually went to bed, I saw that that screen was loose. Like, really loose. I closed that window and opened another, but the mosquitoes found the loose screen before I did.

After the kids went to bed, I must have killed at least eight mosquitoes in the 45 minutes I was reading in the living room. And when we went to bed and turned out the lights, I heard the ominous whine of mosquitoes in the dark. I thought maybe they were just still outside the window.

Then one bit me on the neck.

When I turned on the light to look, I saw at least a dozen mosquitoes on the walls. The walls are all white, so the mosquitoes were easy to spot. I got the fly swatter and hunted them down, handing off the swatter to A. when they were too high up for me to reach.

Then we turned off the light again. And again heard the horrid whine of a mosquito close by.

Light on again. Three more killed, one courtesy of A. hopping on top of the dresser to swat it on the ceiling.

Light off. Whining. Light on. More swatting.

Light off, now at 10:15 p.m. and we are no longer amused. And there's that WHINING AGAIN MAKE IT STOP.

At this point, A. had the brilliant idea of turning on the ceiling fan to create a breeze that would keep them away. That ceiling fan makes an annoying clicking noise, but it's a lot less annoying than the whine of a mosquito in your ear and waking up covered in bites.

So we slept. Briefly.

I am currently sporting both black fly bites and mosquito bites (including one on my ear, which seems wrong somehow), and I just can't WAIT to see what fun insect is going to show up next to feast on my flesh.

Happy spring. Bah.


Anonymous said...

Oh, the black flies. They not only bite but also leave a hole in your skin. Sometimes your lymph glands swell. I don't miss them at all. Mary (now in MN, not northern NY)

tu mere said...

Wow, you've got them all. Gnats (non-biting) and mosquitos (definitely biting) here, yep, but, thank goodness, no black flies. Mosquitos in the bedroom is the worst! You might need to reassess the benefits of bug spray relative to the obvious negatives for your and the kids' bodies.