The Outsider: Darwin, DEET and destiny
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | May 25, 2017|
Holy moly, May 24 comes around and all of a sudden we’re inundated by them!
Everywhere I go, they’re there, bumping into me, getting right up in my face. In the village, I can’t seem to turn around without careening into a whole horde of them: they’re just milling around behind me, getting in the way, getting in my personal space. And out in the bush or on the lake it’s even worse. There’s just no rest from them. It’s driving me crazy.
Yep, the bugs are back.
What’s that? You thought I was talking about the tourists? Oh, come on now, our seasonal visitors may also have descended upon us in droves this past weekend, and, yes, they do get in the way at times but at least they don’t crawl inside your shirt and sink their teeth into you!
OK, what with the traffic jams at the gas station and empty shelves in the barbecue section at the grocery store, it may feel like they are giving you a good jab in the ribs. But the tourists are a harmless bunch for the most part. Not once have I found one of them stealthily hiding in a dark corner of my bathroom, waiting until I’m sat haplessly on the pot, so it can swoop down and suck my blood. Can you imagine!
That said, I bet a liberal fogging of DEET would dissuade a tourist from trying to take a nibble much more effectively than it does the mosquitoes. I can attest to the fact that the stuff tastes vile, due to an unfortunate incident with DEET over-spray and my nearby can of beer.
Now, I hate the bugs just as much as the next man, and almost as much as my lovely wife, but I also see the valuable work that they do, too. You see, bugs, the nasty biting type, are a critical part of the ecological balance of the Highlands. They are food for dragonflies, spiders, birds and bats, but, far more importantly, they hatch just at the time when the tourists begin to arrive from the city. Funny eh? No, this is evolution working at its finest, my friends. Let me explain.
Millions of years ago there were no tourists in Haliburton County and bugs just hatched whenever. Then, as man began to populate the earth in greater numbers, some moved out into the countryside and the bugs took note. At first, a few folks didn’t upset the rural harmony but as more and more came the bugs began to react and coordinate their hatch and feeding frenzy with the arrival of the human hordes.
Today, we see the result. Some foolhardy souls like you and me live up here year round and put up with the vagaries of the weather and the ravenous bugs but most come for a visit as the weather warms, get bitten all to hell and then beat a hasty retreat after just a few days.
The bugs are essentially controlling the human population of the Highlands. Thinning out the herd, so to speak. Chasing off the weak and ensuring that the vast green tracts of forest and swamp that we love to live in remain just that, rather than being turned into subdivisions.
That’s why the blackflies, mosquitoes and deer flies are your friend.
Think on that as you swat, and don’t spray DEET near your beer.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider