In defense of black flies

To the editor:

Defending the nasty little critters may seem silly or an oxymoron, but black flies are indicators of clear mountain water. They lay their eggs in fresh-flowing clear mountain water. The good news is they don’t carry disease. Mosquitos lay their eggs in fetid pools of water. As you know, they carry diseases.

Black flies bite, and yes, I was bitten whilst walking around Moody Pond two weeks ago. The itchy welts kept me awake several nights. I was unable to find my black fly netting. I wear it over a brimmed hat, and it goes down to my shoulders. I’ve since found it, so no more bites. As for repellant, I go for Vick’s Vaporub around the ankles and wrists. They are attracted to dark clothing, so it’s best to wear light cotton clothing: long pants, long-sleeved shirts and cotton socks. Eucalyptus in the Vick’s repels the bugs. Probably rosemary oil does the same.

I may look silly, but it sure works and enables me to enjoy the outdoors. The breezes blow through the netting. No claustrophobia here. Thankfully, they finally disappear around mid-July.

Jennifer Zahn

Saranac Lake

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