Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Washington Island -

It's difficult to stand still long enough to take a photo demonstrating crazy, if typical, winged insect activity, and I was fortunate to get this one on the second try, with one of the critters appearing to be pasted to my mouth.

These same little bugs (maybe 1/4 of an inch at most) hatch this time of year and swarm anywhere it's warm and away from the breeze.   In this case, they found the sunny, lee side of the kiosk at Jackson Harbor to their liking.

I had just finished placing more Karfi to Rock Island brochures in the display pocket on the sign board when I heard the high-pitched whine of hundreds of pairs of beating wings.

It's a trick not to inhale them when they're so thick, because they're tiny and they don't fly away very fast.

There are several reasons why this annual phenomenon isn't all bad, and here are ten reasons under the heading…


  1.  they signal warm Island weather, at long last
  2.  birds like to eat bugs (swallows and martins especially)
  3.  while they do smear when you brush them off your clothing, these bugs don't bite!
  4.  birders like the birds that like the bugs
  5.  fish like the bugs
  6.  birders and fishermen visit the Island to bird and fish
  7.  birders and fishermen bring $$ and they purchase services and goods
  8.  we like to eat, and $$ helps us in the grocery department
  9.  these bugs are here for a relatively short duration (maybe one month).  When they disappear,  mosquitos and biting flies replace them.   I prefer these lazy - if pesky - daytime cousins of mosquitos.  These bugs like to settle down after dark.
  10. I can avoid the thickest clouds of these bugs by staying indoors with the windows closed, or I can face into the wind when outdoors, or I can carry a portable fan.

I'm also guessing protein might be gained by eating these bugs.   When swallowed - and I ate several today - there are no ill effects.

Putting up with them, ignoring them or making light of them:  this may be the best we can do.

  -  Dick Purinton

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