My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #339: Black Flies 1 /Scrollgirl 0

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-14-2011 12:50 PM 7718 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 338: "De-Bugging" and Some Project Progress Part 339 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 340: Down for the Count »

Apparently, knowing your enemy does not necessarily guarantee victory.

My mission was to go to the post office and get some mail out. In order to do so, I had to cross enemy lines (the great outdoors).

I was not unprepared. I dutifully donned my long sleeved hoodie, even though the air was warm. Underneath, I had applied a layer of repellent (skin-so-soft) to avert the nasty little beasts.

I knew they could see me and that they were waiting, yet I bravely stepped outside and into harms way.

I walked quickly, yet tried not to look intimidated. I knew if they saw the fear in my eyes all would be lost. Any sign of weakness would be to their advantage.

I made it to the car unscathed and I felt that the first leg of my mission had gone well. As I sat in relief in the driver’s seat a feeling of victory began to encompass me.

On a different day, at a different time of year I would now be putting the top down on the car to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. After all, it had been a long winter and I longed for the warm feel of the sun on my back and the breeze through my hair.

But it was not to be.

Outside I could see the enemy swarming, unable to penetrate my fortress. I smiled to myself as I put the car into gear and drove away, leaving my pursuers in the dust. Take that!

I arrived at my destination (the post office) without incident. I did my business there and got back into the car, unaware of the peril that awaited me.

Perhaps that was their plan all along. How smug they must have thought me to be! How arrogant! Little did I realize that in their tiny, evil minds the battle was far from over. They played me like a fine tuned instrument.

The attack was a complete and utter surprise to me. I didn’t even know that I was still in battle. They had successfully lulled me into a sense of security so they could take me completely off guard. As I was driving home, the stowaway first showed itself. I heard the wicked hum in my ear and instantly I was brought back to a state of awareness and fear.

One had gotton in!

He knew he had me at my most vulnerable moment. The horrid beast! I swatted toward him and he adeptly dodged each swing, only to retreat into an area of the car that I was unable to reach. It was acutely aware of my limitations and used them to its utmost advantage.

I had no choice but to keep forging ahead. I was heading for home and the comfort of its safety.

I arrived there shortly and ran to my front door. I was unconcerned with appearances – let them see my fear! As I stepped from my car and hurried into the house, I could imagine the amusement they must be feeling. After all, I was much larger and smarter then they were, yet it was I who was cowering and running for cover!

I made it inside and at that very moment, I felt a stinging on my head. I put my hand up and successfully smashed the brute and watched him fall to the ground. I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction in doing so. I had shown it who was stronger! I had won!

Or did I?

Within an hour or so, there were not one, but two welts that began to swell on my scalp. Each was progressively itchy and growing in size. I had been hit.

Apparently the buggar was on a suicide mission. I am certain its peers silently cheered from the sideline and honored it for its success. It died a martyr – an honorable death for a creature of its stature in life. Its mission was accomplished.

I sit here and tend my battle wounds with hydrocortisone cream and Benedryl. The back of my neck is somewhat swelled and my head is itchy and uncomfortable. I hope to get some work done today, but it is difficult to concentrate due to the discomfort.

Although I know I lost this round, I realize that there are more battles on the horizon. I will learn from my defeat and prepare a new and more effective battle plan for the next time. I grossly underestimated my enemy. It is a mistake I am not proud of, but I will learn greatly from it.

So laugh beasts, laugh! Your mocking will one day come back to haunt you.

As I have not yet begun to fight.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#1 posted 05-14-2011 01:00 PM

I feel your pain!
Yesterday the mosquitoes returned, here. (We raise them in our area apparently – and we raise them “big”). A few moment in the yard yesterday afternoon and I was surrounded by a cloud of buzzing. I retreated to the house.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2884 days

#2 posted 05-14-2011 01:18 PM

I just bought a military net thingie for my head,

It wont make a fashion statement

but the midges cant get me either Ha Ha


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#3 posted 05-14-2011 02:08 PM

Ok, my next suggestion is from my last resort bag of tricks. Go to Wal-Mart (or it’s equivilant in your area). Go to the camping section. Get Backwoods Off. If they don’t have that particular brand, one that has the ingredient “deet” in it. I have yet to find a bug yet that can go too close to deet without falling dead before they get too disoriented to even get the chance to bite.
Now, deet stinks to high heaven in my wife’s opinion (I haven’t been able to smell in years). It also stains clothes. When you look at the other option of you haveing what seems to be an allergic reaction to these buggers, I think it’s worth it.
If this doesn’t work, the only other tricks I have involve a lot of cash and a lot of hassle. They would involved going to beekeeper supply sources for a veil and a handheld smoker.


View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3124 days

#4 posted 05-14-2011 02:34 PM

After living on a pond in northern New Hampshire for 10 years, I learned to keep Ben’s Repellent with 95% DEET close by. I used the liquid, not the spray. It’s strong enough to melt leather, but safe if you wash once you are inside. The bugs at my place only laughed and danced at the site of an Off can. Ben’s was the only thing that allowed me to be outside during the 6-8 weeks of black fly season. My wife almost left me her first year at my place, but then I got her a head net from Cabelas.

Some good news. After 3-4 years of being bitten, I was able to build up some immunity to them. They still took my blood, but I didn’t notice them as much – and my wife did not file for divorce.

-- John from Hampstead

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3219 days

#5 posted 05-14-2011 05:38 PM

I’ve heard about those al-qaida flies,

the one you killed is in heaven with 72 virgins.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3046 days

#6 posted 05-14-2011 07:41 PM

Well, Sheila, all I can say I wish the package has arrived to you by now, you will see why once you get it. I am surprised it is taking so long!

We are finally getting some much needed rain and the sky is really dark, so dark the night light I have outside triggered and came on.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#7 posted 05-14-2011 07:57 PM

Yes, Erwin. I didn’t get the package yet. I expect some time next week. Funny I can send a package to England and it gets there much quicker than if I were to send one to parts of the United States. I am watching for it though and I will let you know as soon as it arrives. :)

Thanks to a friend here on LJ’s, I went to the pharmacy and got some allergy medicine that seems to be working better than the Benedryl in helping me out with this. The pharmacist concurred with what I was told and I am starting to feel better without being groggy. I am drawing today and feeling lots better.

I am going to look for the Ben’s repellent, but I don’t know if it is available here in Canada. I am still waiting to get the other stuff from the Avon lady that I can spray on and perhaps if it is on my jacket I will be left alone. I also hope that perhaps I will develop an immunity to the bites. That would really be cool. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Verna's profile


202 posts in 2802 days

#8 posted 05-14-2011 08:33 PM

I’m voting for the bee hat, and spray it with the SSS also!!!! It seems they only got you where you didn’t put the SSS, Sheila. I did see a bee/mosquito hat in the camping section at WalMart yesterday, and I sure thought of you.

John, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stung by wasps and yellow jackets, and I sure wish I would build up an immunity. I must be an extremely “sweet” person, because those buggers just hunt me down. SSS does not work on them, unfortunately.

Good luck, Sheila.

-- Verna -- Indianapolis, IN

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3143 days

#9 posted 05-15-2011 01:39 PM

are you sure you havn´t been newsreporter from a frontline
you deffently know how to descripe a battle very well :-)
here we still have to wait for the big invasion of mosqitos
sofare its just the scoutgruops
and they are iretating enoff to deal with

take care

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2908 days

#10 posted 05-16-2011 11:46 PM

Hmmm, all this talk of insects is starting to bug me…

In Colorado, we have relatively FEW insects and NO black flies….it’s just too darn dry here!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4125 days

#11 posted 05-17-2011 01:31 AM

I hate black flies. I lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for almost 4 years. I feel your pain.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3741 days

#12 posted 06-05-2011 06:30 AM

Sheila have you tried fogging them? I’m not usually one to advocate weapons of mass destruction but black flies, deer flies, horse flies and mosquitoes don’t fight fair so we shouldn’t have to either ;-)

Its been to cold and wet here for the mosquitoes to really take off, but the warm weather is coming…it is coming right?!!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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