Curse of the Black Flies: Midges, Mosquitoes, and Other Tiny Annoyances

Here on Northwood Lake, ticks aren’t the only thing we need to worry about at this time of year. As of ten days ago, a swarm of black midges started accumulating on the water’s surface like a cloud of smoke. They whirled in the breeze, bashing into solid objects as they did so. It didn’t seem to matter if the object was a window, a tree, or my eyeglasses, they tapped and tickled with wing and foot as they danced on the breeze, their tiny wings making a delicate whining noise. Nothing like the Stuka screed of their relatives.

It’s safe to say I have “sweet blood” or an “earthy smell” or “juicy veins” or whatever the excuse is for why biting flies like mosquitoes, black flies, and horse flies are attracted to me. As we transition from spring rains to sweltering summer, the invertebrates that we are likely to encounter is unlikely to change as well. As long as they have a water source to breed in, these biting insects will be happy to seek a blood meal from us warm-blooded critters and torment us all summer long.

A few years ago, I heard a classic Canadian folk song called “Black Fly” and immediately fell in love with it. An animation accompanying the folk song was presented by Canada’s National Film Bureau in 1991 and can be seen below.

“Black fly” film presented by the National Film Bureau in Canada.

The song was written and performed by Wade Hemsworth with backup vocals by McGarrigle sisters and was directed by Christopher Hinton. I’ve found that it perfectly captures how nefarious and omnipresent these little buggers are in the northern woods during the late spring and summer months. Please let me know if you agree below or on Facebook at the Distracted by Nature page.

Stay tuned for a brief dispatch below*.

*Speaking of tiny annoyances, I wasn’t able to post last week due to some personal commitments. I hope to bring you both regular posts this week including one featuring an exploration from my new stomping grounds in the Merrimack Valley. Stay tuned!

**Photo by Alexsuchy and can be found here.

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