Monday, April 26, 2010

Blackflies And Wood Chips

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

Blackflies intrigue me. These pests begin life as aquatic larvae, living in clean, running water. Then, when temperatures rise to a certain point in spring, they hatch out in droves and mate.

Why, then, does digging in wet, wood chips, dirt or compost, stir up such huge swarms of these biting insects? What are they doing there in the first place? In the beginning, I thought that perhaps blackflies spent the night hidden in such places. But time of day appears to make no difference. Stir a pile of wet material and out come blackflies.

So it’s for certain that blackflies spend time in wet, damp, cover. But why? Nothing I have read addresses this.

Such a thing may not count as a big deal to most folks, but since I have a giant pile of wood chips to move, it affects me in a big way. Perhaps 10 minutes of shoveling and the combined result of buzzing, humming, crawling and biting becomes unbearable. It cuts down on my productivity, big-time.

Any, be warned. Wet grass, brush, any sodden material will likely host untold thousands of blackflies, at least for the next month or so.

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