Mosquitoes, Anyone?

    This cool spring must represent the latest in many years for the emergence of mosquitoes and blackflies. Usually, they’re out in force by Memorial Day weekend, but they’ve just begun to show.

     Mosquitoes are making their presence known, and by my estimation, this ought to be one exceptional June for the pesky little critters. There’s water sitting virtually everywhere, and those dormant mosquito eggs must be hatching by the millions. If you’re headed for the woods, I’d make sure you’re geared for bugs: light-colored, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, maybe a head net or bug jacket, and some insect repellent in the daypack.

    I don’t relish using bug dope, and I put it off as long as I can. But when the bugs get serious, I slap on some DEET-based repellent, trying to keep it off the palms of my hands. I’ve had it eat too much plastic (and fishing-lure paint) over the years. I spray it on the bill of my cap and on my sleeves before I apply it directly to my skin. If that doesn’t work, then I reluctantly dab some on my skin.

     And once the bugs abate or I’m headed for a bug-free zone (the tent, for instance), I scrub the dope off. I don’t like to leave it on any longer than I have to.

     I have a bug jacket that I always take on trips. It packs light. It keeps bugs at bay, but it’s way too warm on most occasions when the bugs are bad. You have a choice: bugs or sweat.

     In short, there are no perfect solutions to the bug issue. And I suspect they’ll be an issue in coming weeks.