Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Everything you need to know about Muskoka bugs

We are plagued with many, many insects at this time of year: the first I spotted were the caddis flies, then the black flies emerged in May. By April the mosquitoes, although small, began coming out in force. I am seeing hummingbird moths, bees and dragonflies now. This morning I Mosquito biting fingercounted 20 mosquitoes hanging off the balcony screen door in anticipation of a feast. One survives by using the Muskoka Slap: any little itch and you slap yourself without looking. By the time you figure out if it IS a bug or not, they may have flown.

Of course, we need the insects for the cycle of life. From birds to bats, and dragonflies, many species are an integral part of this cycle. Without one the other will suffer.

The dragonfly larva climb up on docks as their exoskeleton dries and cracks they emerge, unfold their wings to dry in the sun.

In the early spring, with high, warm water levels (above 21˚ Celsius), the 150 - 500 eggs, that have been laid in water and on the shores of streams, begin to hatch. They need swift, running water. They over winter around fall ponds with water levels high from late rains. If there is Lots of water in spring they are swarming by May. But larva that haven’t developed yet in June will emerge now with the rainfall. If the weather is cooler, and ponds have water at high levels where eggs have been laid, their season can extend into July. With hot, dry weather, as ponds dry up, they are normally gone by late June, early July.
hummingbird moth
Only the females bite. Blood has protein and they need this energy to lay their eggs. Black flies are sloppy eaters: they have scissor-like biting tools and an anticoagulant they inject into the site. Then, they drink from the pool of blood. Many of us are allergic to anticoagulant, which is why the wound site swells. If my husband and I walk together I know he is often plagued more than I. Some people attract bugs more than others: they are visual creatures with good eye sight, and darker hues attract them. They are drawn to the levels of carbon dioxide you emit and if you engage in physical activity with high carbon dioxide levels as you exhale, you are a magnet for them). They are not active in the night. A late night, while out to fetch the cat, only brought mosquitoes, no black flies. They do not haunt you indoors, they leave that to the mosquitoes who prey on sleepy humans and buzz to eternal damnation.

They like enclosed spaces to crawl into – so tuck in your long sleeves and pant legs. Dawn activity and dusk get them into a feeding frenzy, especially in good weather conditions. From a CBC Radio interview with Doug Curry curator: entomologist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great posts on the bug issue Jennifer! Also, checked out your cottage-great pics and additional info. Have you had an opportunity to touch base with Teresa and her success/insights on listing theirs on different sites? I know that they are having a slow start to the year...hope that you are enjoying the beautiful day!