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Bugs and Bats

With a lingering scent of Adirondack Aftershave, (Old Woodsman) tantalizing my nostrils, I hightailed it for home.

When I returned to retrieve the canoe, early the following morning, the woods were eerily quiet. It was cool and damp, and very few bugs were in the air. Since I was dressed accordingly, I figured taking a few quick trolls across the pond would be in order.

I made a few passes, without a tap. But as soon as the sun was fully in the sky, I remembered why I came. Quickly, I packed up and paddled to shore, shouldered the canoe and beat a path to the car, before the full squadron could assemble.

I've battled the flying nuisances of the Adirondacks for many years, including black flies, No-See-Ums, deer flies and horse flies and an assortment of bees and wasps. I've never been forced to back down, until now, and I wonder why?

A number of factors may be at work. I'm older now, but obviously not much wiser, or I wouldn't still be subjecting myself to such abuse. I may no longer be thick-skinned, simply thick headed.

However, I believe the already abundant rains, combined with the winter's significant snow pack and the accompanying flooding, has served to raise the threshold. Certainly, the availability of breeding grounds has been increased, with lakes, streams and rivers all overflowing their banks to create vernal pools of stagnant water that are ideal for mosquitoes.

I also wonder if the region may already be beginning to see the effects of White Nose Syndrome, (WNS) a mysterious disease responsible for a significant decline in bat populations throughout the Northeast. It has since spread to seventeen states and four Canadian provinces.

Bats are a primary predator of night-flying insects and they devour billions of them every night. Some species, including the Little Brown Bat, eat 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour.

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