The Sun (Lowell)

Don’t let summer pests ruin your fun


NASHUA, N.H. >> I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it, and when they’re gone, I’ll be celebratin­g.

See ya later. Good riddance.

They have followed me into the garden, while mowing the lawn, watering the window box geraniums, trimming the rhodo bushes, talking to my neighbors, opening the trunk of my car, walking around, etc. They just won’t get lost.

Black flies are those tiny, blood-sucking insects that start annoying people around Mother’s Day (May 14) until about Father’s Day (mid-june) around here. They’ve been feasting on my arms, ankles, shoulders, and hopefully, nowhere else. I’m a marked woman these days, and those itchy, red welts can take forever to disappear.

I never feel the gnats or “no-see-ums” biting me, but a few hours later, little red dots appear and can swell into penny-sized spots and become very itchy. No, not painful like a bee sting, just uncomforta­ble and unattracti­ve to look at.

It’s a losing battle, according to the bug profession­als of the Entomology Extension at Perdue University. “There is little that an affected homeowner or person engaging in outdoor activities can do to control black flies.”

Farmersalm­ has advice such as being covered in long sleeves and pants at all times outdoors. And apparently, you should wear light-colored clothing because these flying nuisances won’t bother you as they prefer dark-colored fabrics. Really?

Next, you should invest in a dorky-looking netted hat to protect your face and neck. You can apply natural repellent to any exposed skin. Some of these would include lavender essential oil, extract from pine branches, etc. I tried spraying peppermint essential oil as I had read somewhere and ended up with three welts later.

Avoid wearing fragrance and hairspray — oops, guilty as charged.

A commercial insect repellent containing DEET is recommende­d, but there are experts who claim DEET actually attracts black flies.

For relief, wash the affected area with soap and water, try not to itch, and apply a topical solution such as aloe vera, calamine lotion or even Vick’s Vaporub (this works). You could also ice the bite as soon as you see it.

Look at it this way; black fly season is a brief one and should be behind us soon. These tiny insects have a role in the ecosystem providing food for birds, bats, fish, amphibians and others.

You can stay indoors and have a Netflix night for the next two weeks remaining, or dare to venture out and enjoy the beautiful June weather, and check out what the Nashua area’s serving up to residents and visitors.

On Wednesday, June 7, Great American Downtown will host the 27th Annual Taste of Downtown Nashua at 6 p.m. Buy a ticket, and bring your appetite and excitement as more than 30 restaurant­s and shops pair up for this favorite, flavorful event.

Also, the Nashua Silver Knights (Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England) are playing all summer long at historic Holman Stadium. It’s always a wonderful family evening to take in. The stadium was recently honored with a plaque and added to New Hampshire’s Black Heritage Trail for its role in hosting the first racially integrated baseball team in the United States, the Nashua Dodgers (1946). It was in Holman Stadium that Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella and Cy Young Awardwinni­ng pitcher Don Newcombe played for the minor league affiliate club of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Nashua has always been a city of substance. Moments like this one matter.

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