Just back from a hike

No ticks, thank God!

The black flies, meanwhile, were in swarms.


Supposedly the island’s infamous red ants keep the tick population at bay here in Eastport. Fire ants?

Another pestilence.

Still, I’ve learned to inspect carefully for ticks after any outing inland. Somehow, I hadn’t had to face them prior to New England.

Black flies, though, are particularly nasty. They’re tiny and attack first individually around the mouth and nose and then as swarms or small clouds that leave nasty bites from mid-April through mid-July, especially when there’s no wind or you’re away from the sea.

Yes, that sea seems to keep them away from Eastport.

The skeeters will come later.

You don’t see any of this in the L.L. Bean catalog version of Maine.

In the “Black Fly Song” by Wade Hemsworth, made famous by folksinger Bill Staines, the action is placed in northern Ontario, though it’s of little comfort to know the pests range so far across the northern forests.

The lyrics nail the misery so well, For I’m all but goin’ crazy.

The reason, of course:

It was black fly, black fly everywhere
A-crawlin’ in your whiskers, a-crawlin’ in your hair
A-swimmin’ in the soup, and a’swimmin in the tea

As the chorus goes:

And the black flies, the little black flies
Always the black fly, no matter where you go
I’ll die with the black fly a-picking my bones

It’s true, no joke.

Staines, by the way, lived one town over from Dover, where I was. Small world.

And I should note the bumper sticker: Black Flies, Defenders of the Wilderness.

2 thoughts on “Just back from a hike

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