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The Bugs are Back!

1 June 2010
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By Steve Olson

Over the next few months we will see the steady procession of black flies, no-see-ums, mosquitoes, deer flies, horseflies, and stable flies. It’s the Minnesota version of Twilight; all these species want our blood.

Spring is black fly season. Black fly larvae develop in fast moving water.  The fast moving water melts sooner than standing water which gives black flies a chance to develop sooner than the other biting insects.  Fortunately, black flies have only one life cycle per year. Also, black flies pollinate blueberries.

The zagime (mosquito) is the most abundant and the best know blood-sucker. Only females feed on blood. Larvae live in standing water (tires, buckets, etc) and can develop in four days. Eliminate standing water in your yard to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Minnesota mosquitoes can transmit diseases like encephalitis, and West Nile Virus in humans and spread heartworm to dogs.  In other parts of the world they transmit malaria and yellow fever.

July brings the mizizaakoons and mizizaak (deer and horse fly). Like the zagime, both lay their eggs in wet areas. Both horse flies and deer flies carry tularemia and other diseases that can harm humans and other animals. Summer also brings No-See-Ums. These are only a 1/10 of an inch long but they bite like a giant. No-See-Ums lay their eggs in ponds.

Fond du Lac is on the northern edge of the high-risk baagweziiga (deer tick) zone. Deer ticksare of special concern for the diseases they can spread: Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis, or babesiosis.  Symptoms of Lyme disease include a bulls-eye skin rash (a red ring with a central clearing), fevers, shill, muscle and joint pain.  The rash does not occur in all cases of Lyme disease and not every rash has a central clear area.  The symptoms can occur within 3-30 days of receiving a tick bite.

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