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Bugs, Bamboo and Blistering Plants | Notes from the North Woods

Giant Hogweed, often found along roadsides, is a particularly dangerous invasive species that poses a threat to both the native flora and fauna, particularly humans.

Giant Hogweed, often found along roadsides, is a particularly dangerous invasive species that poses a threat to both the native flora and fauna, particularly humans.

That old familiar ‘Adirondack wave’ has again become a popular sight. It is practiced by anglers and gardeners, hikers and paddlers and just about anyone else who dares to enjoy the Adirondack outdoors at this time of year.

This annual invasion of flying pests, much like a long stretch of subzero, blustery winter days, serves to remind us of the extent of misery that some people are willing to endure just to live in such a beautiful region.

While some locals still claim black flies were initially introduced as a natural tourist repellent; the annual invasion of tiny bugs with a nasty bite appears to be indiscriminate. They bite locals as well as visitors alike.

When black flies are in the air, they will also be in your hair, behind you ears, down your neck and even up your paint legs.

Although nobody is completely safe outdoors at this time of year, there are a few measures that seem to help in addition to the usual swatting, slapping, spraying and gooping up.

Black flies are a naturally occurring invasive species, they’ve been around a long time. They are not an introduced pest, and tall tales of their wrath have been a common complaint since travelers first ventured into the region.

Often it is a first time visitor that suffers the most, as uninitiated travelers rarely realize the potential horror until it is too late.

Many ‘first timers’ become instant ‘last timers as they depart the region with puffy eyes, trickles of dried blood behind their ears and a natural neckless of red puffy lumps hidden under a bloodied shirt collar;

Local Adirondackers are used to dealing with flies. Generally, they’ll just swing and swat at them while muttering a few choice words under their breath. Most locals realize black flies are just an early season pest, and they’ll soon disappear in due time. They’ve learned to deal with them by covering up any exposed skin.

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