The season of bugs
After this past winter’s heavy snowfall and melt, a boon to the low water tables of the Maritimes and to farmers who desperately need a wet season to get their crops started on the right track, we are now harvesting another crop, one that most assuredly does not gladden the hearts of those who partake of its bounty. I speak of the denizens of the glades and woodlands, the ubiquitous and infuriating insects we call black flies and mosquitoes. Numbering in the trillions in a normal season, I can only imagine what astronomical, near infinity, numefaction that would have to used to express their arithmetic value.
As in all things there is a Ying and Yang and so it is with the water and the tide of it bounty. With the still ponds and puddles, the rippling creeks and brooks, these biting critters have had a population explosion that beggars anything we mere mortals can inflict on the planet. A quick stroll through any of the rural regions of the Maritimes without benefit of chemical counter persuasion will have one beating a hastier exit than entrance to hill and dale.
Being one who having spent much of his youth in the rural regions of Canada, I am all too familiar with the buzz, whine, tickle, slap choreography that is required anytime one is outdoors during the late spring and early summer months, whether it be to sizzle a steak on the barbie or relieve the boredom of my hyperactive border collies with a brisk wooded ambulation. It is during these times that I must sing the praises of our modern chemical warfare against the gossamer lacewinged mosquito and the inexorable speck of black, aerial dust, the aptly and obviously named, blackfly. I speak of DEET, or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, a chemical pesticide that stops them in mid flight and to quote an ancient TV commercial for one of the purveyors of a juice made of the stuff, “they don’t bite, they don’t even like!”.
Now every once in a while you hear about an amazing substance, either a skin treatment or a mouthwash, or a gizmo that miraculously clears the air of the pesky things. Invariably, I have found, the stuff if not pure hocum is hiding the facts enough to get away from being branded an outright fraud and is they only to part you from your money. The things work only for five minutes or under certain conditions or in the the case of the zapping gizmos, do not tell you that the populations of mosquitoes and blackflies are so big, no matter how effect the invention is at dispatching them, its akin to emptying a lake with a straw. Yes there are dead pests piling up, but nature abhors a vacuum and faster than you day say DEET, two more enter the fray proboscis at the ready.
Yes DEET is a toxic chemical, but after 40 years of use it is still the best way to avoid being an insect hors d’ouvres, and relatively safe, though some people do develop reactions to the stuff. For my money is best way to enjoy the outside even when the little buzzers are around.
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