June 15, 2010

Bug off!

Get ready for summer bugs.

The EPA regulates insect repellents and they offer an "everything you ever wanted to know about insect repellents" website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/

It provides up-to-date listings of mosquito and tick repellents as well as tips for choosing the right product to meet your needs. One of the key features of the revamped Web page is easy access to information about protection time. It will help people choose the right product for the length of time they will be outdoors.

I can't vouch for the safety of the chemicals in these products, but I don't want Lyme Disease either. Avon's "Skin So Soft" has its fans, and there are "natural" products out there on the shelves that claim to be effective too.

Deer fliesthose pesky insects with the disposition of a junkyard dog, are a major nuisance (and uncomfortable too) in many Virginia areas. They buzz annoyingly past your ears, neck, and head as you walk the woods, weed your yard,  or play golf, and seem to be wielding an ice pick when they bite. They’re close cousins of horse flies, but smaller—only about ½ inch long—and horse flies usually bite ankles and legs. Deer flies are generally ambush predators, and wait on hot summer days along the edge of moist, wooded areas until a potential food source passes by—Bambi or YOU. They are highly attracted to movement. The bites can produce a variety of reactions ranging from little or no irritation to considerable irritation and swelling. Only one generation develops each year, so it could be worse. The deer fly season is usually early June through the end of July

Deer flies are frequently confused with the larger May flies that also appear here at about the same time. May flies also have transparent wings, but only live for about 24 hours and have no mouth parts.

Even though deer flies appear to fly fast, they’re slow and easy to swat compared with other insects. But that swat is usually-post-bite! My green solution, a full head net, makes me look a bit dorky (or like a beekeeper), but it works on these insects on steroids! You’ll still hear them dive-bomb you, and you may be looking at them cross-eyed through the net, but they won’t be biting you. The nets are sold in most camping sections of local stores.