Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 41: Intimate Introductions

I have yet to post a blog about the most encountered fauna up here in Churchill, which seems like an oversight that I must fix. So today, I am dedicating this post to the creatures that you are almost (I use almost loosely) guaranteed to see in Churchill if you come here in July. Of course, I am talking about the blood suckers, the big three!

Number 1: The Mosquito. 26 species found in Churchill create the swarm of mosquitos. The chorus of the swarms of mosquitos. The chorus of the swarms of the little vampire mosquitos. I swear, if I did not have a bug net, I would go crazy. They never leave you alone to the point that all you can hear is their chorus coming close to your ears and head and hands and ankles and everywhere. They are adventurous little buggers. If there is the slightest exposed skin or loose clothing or clothing too tight against skin or clothing they can bite through, they will find it and they will feast. Or, the females will find it and feast. The females need the blood meal to nourish their eggs. The males feed on nectar, as do the females when they don't need eggs. Some species don't feed on blood at all, but you will have a much more difficult time finding these for the simple reason that they will not be eating you. The mosquitos have been around for about 3 weeks now.

 Female Aedes campestri, a common mosquito
found in Churchill. Information brought to you by
 Dr. Peter Kevan and Dr. Thomas Woodcock.

"Quite surprisingly though, bug experts refer to Churchill, Manitoba as the worst place in the world for mosquitoes. Here they breed in enormous numbers, estimated at 12.5 million to the hectare. The area's fierce wind and cold are evidently no match for the flies." - the weather network's bug report

Number 2: The Bull dogs. Or the horsefly, or the housefly on steroids that will saw and tear a piece of your skin out. Their bites are extremely painful. And I just can't make myself swat them, they just scare me too much. I mean, they are bigger than the first digit of my thumb! And they are considered to be the biggest true fly in the world. They are so big that when they fly into a window of a parked car, they create an audible thud like someone threw a pebble at the window! These babies come out after the mosquitos come out, but that doesn't mean that you are free of mosquitos, you just have added fun with them as well. The bull dogs came out last week to terrorize.

Tabanus sulcifrons

Number 3: The Black fly. Don't let the small size fool you, these little flies can create huge, painful swellings. Like mosquitos, it is mostly the females who feed on our blood, though the males can as well, but they mostly eat nectar. An interesting note, the insect repellents that use DEET don't work on black flies, but actually attract them instead! That's great, you get rid of the mosquitos, but attract the black flies. Personally, I prefer the mosquitos, the bites aren't nearly as bad. And the mosquitos don't try to crawl up you pant legs or shirt sleeves to bite the more sensitive skin of ankles and wrists, behind the ears, and at the base of the neck at the hairline. Terrible things. The black flies came out mostly today.

Now for a treat...

1 comment:

  1. LOL that song was awesome!! This reminds me of my childhood summers in Pakistan; every night you would sleep with the aroma of mosquito coils and the fluttering of enormous flying cockroaches - they had all inconveniently grown wings to survive the monsoon season.