Ode to Black Fly
A.k.a.; Buffalo Knat, May Fly or %$#&^.
I’m sure that it is helpful to know that this winged critter is a member of the Simuliidae of the Culicomorpha Infraorder family. You may also be interested to know that there are some 1,800 known species of black flies around the globe, thankfully 11 are extinct and Canada is home to more than 100 of them. They get their nourishment by feeding on the blood of other animals, as well as us. The most popular nuisance for unsuspecting and ill prepared tourists, they can and spread disease. (Yes, I checked Wiki)
Ask some seasoned Northerners who love to share stories of ‘Black Fly Madness’ and you forego your tour and retreat to the mall.
Be of faith and fear not.
Ask other more seasoned Northern dwellers who respect the critter’s reign on how they cope and they will tell you that in knowing their habits, what is the best way to survive and enjoy your time outdoors. Basically, their seasonal reign begins toward the end of May on through until mid to late summer and are most active at sunset. (Good to know that they do go to bed at night and spare us with their inability to live long indoors.) Also good to know is, that their larvae thrive in flowing water, creeks and waterfalls. The adults have an uncanny knack for finding hair lines, eyes, ankles, entrances via sleeves and pant legs but don’t seem to bite through most clothing. Oh and yes, they do bite repeatedly. Bites are those small, bloody and intensely itchy spots behind our ears and elsewhere that can cause headaches, nausea and even lymph node swelling or allegoric reactions.
Like me, another unsuccessful master of the Black Fly high road is Wade Hemsworth.This traumatised fellow wrote the musical ditty; "The Black Fly Song" in 1949 while working in the wilds of Northern Ontario. Incidentally, the song became an animated National Film Board short film 1991; www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly, or on You Tube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjLBXb1kgMo&feature=related.
Give in to the critter madness and start a new festival or at least a new summer Olympic sport of Black Fly racing.
Take respite indoors with some ‘Black Fly Beer’ and watch re-runs of the short lived ‘Black Fly’ television series. Or curl up and read Giles Blunt’s novel; “Black Fly Season” and read about murder in Algonquin Bay where the black flies aren't the only ones out for blood. Story comes complete with an Ojibwa shaman, and a good haunting.
On the upside, there are those who firmly believe that they actually pollinate Blueberries which are rich in antioxidants and yummy.
What to do:
Timing: Strategize your day and avoid being outside during the morning, late afternoon and early evening. That means the bonfire is best after 9pm, after they’ve retreated for the night.
Clothing: Wear light colours, tuck in your shirt and pant legs into socks or try a mosquito net for your head.
Repellents: You can ammo yourself with insect chemical warfare and expensive attire. Commercial products such as Citronella might work but may need to be re-applied frequently. My father swears by the spraying of self and surrounding area with Listerine.
Change Perspective: This is the higher theory and not quite wholly mastered by the author; change how you think of this critter. In your OM approach, visualize the little critters contentedly pollinating wonderful blueberries and staying clear of you.
Whatever method you choose in order to cope, may the calm of ‘the All That Is’ be with you this Black Fly season an enjoy your summer.
Written By; Jan Porter copyright 2010
Jan Porter ~ Author www.inspiredsoulworks.com