Down East 2013 ©
They’re back! Yes, I’m pleased to announce that blackfly season is officially underway here in Mahoosuc Mills. We got kind of gipped with mud season this year ‘cause there wasn’t much snow, but, believe you me, those bebittes never disappoint.
If you’re from away and unfamiliar with our blackflies, oh, you are missin’ something’! Have you ever laid on your back looking up at the clouds, and you start seeing shapes in ‘em? Well, that’s what we do with the black flies here in Mahoosuc Mills. Yesterday, I’m out planting my window boxes and, swear to God, I see this shadow moving across our double-wide. I look up, and sure as shootin’, it’s this whole swarm of ‘em, lookin’ one minute like the silhouette of a rabbit, the next like King Kong. Or maybe I was just delirious from lack of blood, ‘cause by the time I finished the last box, I think I was down a quart!
If you want to attract blackflies (And who wouldn’t?), it’s best to wear dark colored clothing, especially on your upper body. That way, you can see ‘em up close and personal. Even if you don light colored garments, don’t worry, they’ll find you. My Grampy Gilbert once told me they’re attracted by your breathing. I looked it up on the internet, and it’s true. I guess the carbon-dioxide is a real turn on for the little critters. So if you’re outdoors in Maine during May, June and into July, and for some reason you want to avoid black flies, I suppose you could always hold your breath.
But why would you want to do that? Black flies are very affectionate, and like nothing better than to give you a little peck behind the ears or on the nape of your neck. Though they’re not fussy. Just about any exposed area of your body will do, with special attention given to your ankles and the arch of your foot, if you’re nice enough to wear sandals for ‘em.
Unlike the mosquitoes (who are kind like stalkers, really, they’re so persistent) blackflies love their freedom. They’re not the kind of date you can bring home to mother. In fact, if they do happen to follow you inside your house or car, once they realize they’re trapped, the little buggers’ll forget all about whispering sweet nothin’s in your ear. No, they’ll focus all their attention on escaping back to the great outdoors. You just can’t fence ‘em in.
Blackflies are fond of pets, too. Why, just last summer, a massive swarm of ‘em absconded with Connie Dugal’s chihuahua, Trixie. Connie was real shook up about it, though her husband Earl didn’t seem all that upset, if you ask me. Small children above thirty pounds should be OK, but it’s best to not to leave ‘em unattended.
Like most of the animal world, it’s the female blackflies that do all the work. From the minute they’re full-grown, they go searchin’ for blood so they can work up the strength to lay their eggs in a running stream, if you can believe it. ‘Course, between not getting killed while searching for food and laying those eggs, they have to somehow digest their meal and still have enough energy left for a little mating. All this while the males have had a hard day lollygaggin’ around, pollinating blueberry bushes and the like. Makes me want to go outside and expose the tender skin of my inner elbow to ‘em. You know, just to help the sisters out.
So if you’re from away, and considerin’ a vacation in Maine, I’d suggest there’s no time like the present. Come on up for a stroll in the woods. By mid-July, the blackflies’ll be gone, and you’ll have missed all the fun!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
For more information on Blackflys, read The Blackfly Survival Guide