Friday 30 August 2019

What The Tree Huggers Don’t Know

Yesterday while I was doing some work in the back yard I got a mosquito bite. I know what you are thinking…poor baby…are you alright…what did the doctor say? I grant that being bitten by a mosquito isn’t earth shattering news, but this year it is. To date this summer I have had three mosquito bites and it is the end of August! Pretty soon I will have more to worry from frost bite and a biting north wind.

When I was growing up in Ontario I could tell how far the season had progressed by which insect bites I found on my body. Mosquito’s were the least on my worries. Black flies, horse flies, deer flies and something people called midges could take little hunks of flesh and leave small trails of dried blood. I would often find myself dressed in long pants, long sleeve shirts and hats just for protection even on the hottest, muggiest day of the year.

In later years I discovered insect repellents that had a miraculous ingredient called Deet. I understand that the Deet would mask the smell of whatever it is that the bugs wanted. It wasn’t perfect, but it beat the hell out of sitting in the smoke of a campfire with just your head peeking out so that you could breathe. Of course Deet is pretty toxic and most bug sprays contained 5%, 10% or 15% for the protection of human health. I found a product called Muskoil that had 99% Deet which I would slather on all exposed flesh and smile as everyone else spent their days swatting bugs. I suspect that I will have taken five or ten years off of my life, but they are the crappiest years anyways.

When Louise and I moved out to Alberta in our mid to late twenties we made sure to enjoy camping in the mountains. One night we were sitting around a campfire and noticed that although we were cool we weren’t slapping at bugs every few seconds. All I can think is that it is too cold in the mountains for the bugs to survive. Yes, there are a few but nothing compared to the amount of blood sucking bugs found in southern Ontario. I now had another reason to love Alberta.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still biting bugs, but there are fewer of them around. I know in the past the city would spray some kind of chemical on all the standing water in the city which would kill the eggs before they hatched. In recent years the tree huggers have insisted the city stop putting toxic chemicals in our water and the city complied. It was a sad day for this guy when I heard that. The mosquitoes were on the rise once again and I searched out a supplier for my Muskoil and stocked up.

This summer the mosquitoes have all but disappeared. I don’t know if the extremely cold, long winter and a dry spring killed off the little bastards or if the city resumed spraying the standing water on the down low. Whatever the reason, I am a happy camper.

What the tree huggers don’t know won’t hurt us…

(I had intended to put in pictures of Ontario's biting bugs, but the pictures creeped me out too much. Check them out yourself.)