Enjoying the Not So Great Outdoors...
Submitted by Marina Hodson
It must be spring in Ontario when we move from dodging snowflakes to dodging black flies and it certainly is an abundant harvest this year!
Living in the country brings its joys and frustrations this time of year. As I move outside to plant my gardens and clear my flower beds, I am under constant barrage by my pesky little companions. In fact as I cleaned our vehicles of the salt and grime from the winter this weekend, I believe I had more mosquitos and black flies in the vehicles than remained outside. So what is one to do? Sure, hunkering down indoors is an option, but non-winter is short and we want to have an opportunity to enjoy it.
So I for one, opt to win the battle, even if I have some itchy scars to show for it. First and foremost in my arsenal is definitely good apparel. Whether that is light coloured clothing to reduce attraction or my favourite bug jacket, I may not win a fashion contest, but it does keep me protected. Unfortunately there are times it simply gets too hot or uncomfortable to wear such items, especially the face veil and that is when I do opt to resort to the repellents. My personal favourite this year is the PIActive Deet free line. While I have to admit that the 12 hour protection claim is likely extended by ten-fold, I have found it to be effective if re-applied and without the use of any Deet.
Of course as always, try to remove any standing water to limit the breeding cycle. Screen off water barrels, dump standing water that should not be around and add mosquito dunks to water you cannot or do not wish to drain. Made with a bacterium that kills larva, the dunks are safe for pets, wildlife and fish so can be used in bird baths and ponds. Lastly is a mosquito magnet or similar contraption to break the breeding cycle of the hatched adults. While none of this is perfect, it does seem to get me through the season relatively unscathed. At least until deer fly season!
In the end, every time you swat a pesky fly that just bit you, just remember, you may be itchy, but that bug is dead, so you still won!