The buzz of summer

The first days of summer have been hot and muggy with an occasional rainstorm, which are ideal conditions for breeding mosquitoes. Swarms of dragonflies have been working the shorelines sucking up hundreds of those pesky little bloodhounds, but they are no match to the massive population of mosquitoes that erupt after each summer rain.

Mosquitoes come with the territory, and it would be silly to complain about them. I am however amazed at their ability to thrive in the most remote areas. A person can be camping deep in the BWCA, where few blood-carrying creatures exist for them to feed on, and somehow be surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes who want nothing more than to steal your blood.

I know a cabin owner on Saganaga who tried using a propane powered mosquito attractor that used vacuum power to suck them into a bag, “which should be changed every two to three days.” His bag had filled after a few hours, forming a softball-sized mass of dead mosquitoes – any guess how many thousands of mosquitoes it would take to make such a ball?

Mosquitoes are an essential source of food for larger insects, spiders, even juvenile ducks and birds feast on the easy meal when first learning to survive in the wild. I make my annual donation of blood every time I enter the woods, and rarely do they bother me during the day. I am more annoyed by the ones buzzing around my bedroom at night, honing in on my pulsing veins while I lie in bed, then the buzzing abruptly stops. I slap whatever exposed part of my body I assume it landed on, only to hear the buzzing noise continue as it takes flight again.