The Short Summary:
No bugs to speak of here. Sure, in the evenings we see some mosquitoes, but the black flies were here for about a week and now they are gone. Might see a couple here and there, but I haven’t noticed much when mowing grass and that’s the time you really notice them. No ticks in the past two weeks -none on the dogs, none on me. No deer/horse flies – yet. They are reserved for July and can vary widely. Bugs are pretty much thinned out right now at Northwind Lodge. Can that change? Sure. Will it change? I doubt it.
The Long Summary – rife with opinion, sarcasm, and sardonic tone:
It seems that bugs capture the attention of everybody, these days.
There was a TON of terrifying information about future children being born with tiny heads (Summer 2016 and 24/7 Zika virus news reports). Then, there was West Nile virus overtaking the entire city of New York and potentially slaughtering millions of unwary city dwellers, (the last 3 years 24/7 reports and worse than a nuke by far), and this season, the advent of killer wood ticks who not only bite humans and spread Lyme’s disease with every, single, bite – they’ve been known to eat small dogs and a few human babies in foreign lands! Nothing survives the wood tick or the news, apparently.
So, like the extinct polar bears (still 25,000 in stock but one day it will happen in the next 1,000 to 10,000 years), and the hole in the ozone layer (disappearing but still a potential threat to all mankind within the next 1000 years…maybe) and Y2K (Remember that one? Many prepared for Armageddon with complete certainty and extra boxes of macaroni in the basement.) Let’s throw this one in for good, panicky measure: 130+ years of mining right through copper-nickel bearing rocks to get to the iron ore and they were still able to make a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness because the waters -with actual mining within that very watershed – were so pristine. How is that even possible??!!!
So, here we are today in bug-laden Minnesota with our metro-dwellers terrified by everything, or so it seems. Minnesota Public Radio reporter Dan Kraker tweeted that somebody from the Twin Cities “had so many ticks on their tent”, that they were forced to leave the BWCA wilderness and head back to the much safer metro region. Apparently, moving campsites was not an option. So, while reticent to share my opinion, Kraker’s tweet of terror – to people so terrified of bugs, did nothing at all to help tourism in Ely, MN. I tweeted Kraker accordingly. He did not respond. Hmmmm.
And, now the US Forest Service has joined the game of terrorizing people. Of the handful of paddlers who now stop into our store, over 50% of them ask about the bugs and namely ticks because of the dire warnings about death in the BWCA from wood ticks. I swear they are trying their dead-level best to shut down the wilderness and Ely via “bug terror”.
A guy came into the shop the other day and wanted a frank discussion about “ticks” because he was literally terrified for his children who were also going on the trip. The Forest Service had just told him to be really, really concerned with the almost certain arachnid death ahead. I told him to forget about the ticks, and if they get a tick on them, pull it off with their fingers and rip its little head off or light it on fire – a particularly satisfying act and very fitting for ticks. He stared at me on the verge of shock. I was fearless in the face of publicly-accepted and imagined death. I spend a good deal of my time in the outdoors working here in the woods which are EXACTLY the same as the BWCA woods. This despite zealots claiming that “angels with trumpets come out to greet you” when you set foot just over that infinitely small line that separates us from God’s country. Same rocks, sticks and water on this side of the line. No difference. Bugs are the same, too. No difference, whatsoever. Fish? Same, too.
I told the guy to go paddle and enjoy. Stop worrying about the assured and certain death that would surely befall him if he sees a tick on his shirt. I also told him that the black flies are “here and there” and not always out irritating people. That was last week.
This week, (June 7th) there are three black flies out here at Northwind Lodge of which I just killed one yesterday – so two left. I had a mosquito in my house this morning and I also killed her with relish – the females need your blood. About 200 feet away, I saw a mosquito going by and a dragonfly ate him as well so there will be no baby skeeters to bother us from that couple who met their horrible, and somewhat punitive, demise.
Three weeks ago, I had a tick on my shin. I ripped it off, and crushed it with my pliers which I always carry. (Never know when I might need to crush another wood tick, so I’m always ready.) My mom reported a tick on her about 10 days ago – she lit it up with a match. My 85 year-old dad had a tick and broke its little neck about two weeks ago using just his thumbnail. So, based on the timeline and the tick-talk, ticks are rampant.
I just came in from rebuilding a tiny little brush cutter carburetor – outside. I started the machine and it ran brilliantly with a tiny bit of my tuning of the jets. Now it idles and cranks up with commanding torque. Brush beware. Incidentally, I was working outside with tiny bolts and screws wearing NO insect repellent, a short sleeve t-shirt and devil-may-care attitude. I survived with NO bugs whatsoever!!!! It’s June 7th! According to the US Forest Service permit issuers and Minnesota Public Radio, instead of a delightful time twisting in brass-plated bolts, I should have been floating above my prone, lifeless body looking down upon my former mortal self while planning my next adventure inside the Great Beyond.
So, in summary, how are we who live and work here making it? Plus, we are not afraid of anything despite the government warnings, the signs, and maybe a computer model somewhere with predictions of a tick plague. I’m also pretty sure there is a grant and a study involved as well. There’s always somebody making money from selling fear.
Nonetheless, for the rest of you daredevils, come on up and take your chances! The proverbial (and literal) water is quite fine!
The bug reports from various areas are reporting back “not very bad at all”. Sure, you may experience and “off the charts” moment on occasion, but you need not go running home to Mom on your first tick sighting should you actually manage to find one. Besides, I think we killed all four of them here at Northwind Lodge