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The month of May is both a pain and a pleasure. It's the month where spring flowers begin to bloom, the grass is green and winter becomes just a memory.
But May is also the month that brings black flies to many areas in New England, especially those near rivers and streams.
We have a neighbor who times a long trip to visit family during black fly season, just to get away!
These tiny insects, also known as buffalo gnats, have a short life span between spring and early summer. But if you have ever been bitten by one, you know that is more than long enough.
“It starts out innocently as what seems to be amosquito bite - but swells to alarming proportions," wrote Marcia Passos Duffy.
It is the female that bites, needing a blood meal to lay the eggs that will hatch a new generation of black flies to torment us next year.
Insect repellents containing DEET do work to keep them at bay, but Duffy also offers some other tips.
While getting rid of black flies isn't easy, a backyard bird feeder can help. Some birds (such as swallows) find them to be a good meal.
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PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
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Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider