Monday, May 23, 2016
Northern New Hampshire has more than its share of biting insects. Right now the black flies are out in force. Soon it will be the mosquitoes, no-see-ums, horse flies, deer flies and moose flies. Then there are ticks. Don't even get me started on ticks. When I was kid I didn't even know what a tick was. Now there are so many of them they've been known to kill moose. No joke. So many ticks attach themselves to a moose that it dies of toxic shock. Nasty.
What you need is a good defense against biting nasties. There are a few native plants that can be used as insect repellents, but I've never been able to identify any around my place. I suspect the natives just avoided the worst areas and kept smokey fires burning.
Good insect repellents are commercially available now so take advantage and keep some on hand at all times. It's definitely something for the bug out bag. DEET, while pretty nasty stuff,(it will strip varnish off woodwork) works well. Some people prefer concoctions made from natural essential oils. Unfortunately I have allergic reactions to those so must avoid them.
Don't overlook good physical barriers. Mosquito netting, head nets, long pants and long sleeve shirts. When the weather is warm we'd rather go around in shorts and t-shirts, but that leaves a lot of tasty skin exposed.
There are so many different diseases spread by insects that we must take the threat seriously. If you do get bit make sure have After Bite and/or anti-itch creams. Keep a good pair of tweezers handy for tick removal.
Some people seem to attract biting insects more readily than other people. Take one of those folks along as a sacrifice to the Mosquito God.