A better way to deal with black flies
YOU HAVE NOT TRULY enjoyed life until you have left your insect repellent in the car during a long, hot hike to a backwoods lake in spring. Just to be clear, the enjoyable part happens after you make it back to the car.
I was reminded of this the other day when I was going on a walk around my neighbourhood. And, just to give credit where credit is due, it was the black flies that reminded me.
I can’t imagine that it’s much fun being one of the most annoying life forms on the planet – but enough about Trump. It’s probably no fun being a black fly either.
A black fly’s sole purpose in life is to fly around aimlessly, while waiting for some intelligent, warmblooded life form to come along. Then, if all goes well, the fly avoids random swatting as well as dragonflies, and lands on my bare flesh where it latches on to drains me of blood. In a best-case scenario, this bare flesh isn’t in a plumber’s crack.
In a worst-case scenario
for the fly, just as it’s about to land, it smells insect repellent, which I assume is the biting insect’s equivalent of tofu – sure you can eat it, but you’d rather not. So then in a random act of rage, the fly does a kamikaze flight straight into my eyes or ears.
I have no scientific or statistical evidence to support this, but I suspect a full 97 per cent of all black flies end up in one of these two places. The other three percent end up in my plumber’s crack.
And while this is great for the people who go on hikes with me, I’ll admit it’s quite annoying.
It’s most annoying because I spent lots of money, trying to smell like an insect’s version of tofu. I use a wide variety of products designed to deter black flies and other biting insects. This includes a bug jacket, insect repellents and lotions, Therma-cell units, citronella, insect coils and those sticky patches you put on your hat. By the way, I believe the sole purpose of the latter is so that the recovery team has a clue about what finally drove you mad.
Sometimes, I utilize all of these defenses at once. This merely causes the black flies to find the one spot on the back of my neck that is unprotected.
I guess what I’m saying here is that there is no real escape from black flies during spring. Plus, I think we are going about this all wrong.
You see, trying to repel them just makes them try harder. So I’m wondering why our insect repellent scientists don’t take another approach. Why not develop black fly attractants?
I envision a spray so delicious to a black fly that you draw them in for miles – after you have surreptitiously sprayed it on your fishing buddy. This would also ensure you never get outfished again. I’d gladly field test some. It should taste much better than tofu. Perhaps rancid liver blood? You know; something even the most selective black flies cannot resist. It should be so appealing to a black fly’s palate that the flies will immediately ignore me and visit my unsuspecting friend. Just to be sure I’d also make it gluten- and nut-free.
If it works well enough, black flies would not be an issue for a full 50 per cent of the population. Unless you visit your favourite backwoods lake with two guys who are about to outfish you.