Published sometime in June 1995

Beginning of the Road

by Dane Sorensen

For those of us who are brave enough to venture outside the city limits of Ely into the woods, we have discovered this year’s crop of bugs is a whopper.  I have never seen so many mayflies or mosquitoes. 

My family likes mayflies.  They are cute, stupid and harmless.  Mayflies offer a change of menu for our pet green snakes.  For one month they get to swallow mayflies instead of store bought crickets.  Our newest pet is Gurp the wonder toad.  As long as there are mayflies to catch I will let Gurp be our house guest. 

Catching mayflies is a cinch.   On the outside of the cabin are thousand just sitting there.  Last Friday I counted 82 mayflies on a two by two foot window screen.  All these windy days we have been having are really due to the mayfly effect.  What do you think happens when two billion mayflies start hovering?  Last night I saw them flying by the shore.  I could hear their soft buzz.  Some were up as high as 60 feet.

I question why Nature bothers with all the hassles of creating mayflies.  They don’t eat, all they do is fly, breed and die.  It seems pointless to spend your whole life in water and then go through the complex  process of turning into a fragile flying machine that lives only a day or two.  Why not just stay in the water and breed?  Is sexx all that good in the air compared to water?  Maybe I shouldn’t complain until I have tried it.

Granted, during their flight of ecstasy they provide easy pickings for birds to eat.  Life must be easy for birds at this time of year.  Life would be easy for us if mayflies were the only thing buzzing around.  Mosquitoes seem to be just as plentiful.  Unfortunately, I don’t find them very endearing.  I guess we should be thankful that mosquitoes are not as big as mayflies.  Some mayflies are up to three inches long – if you count the long thin tails.  If mosquitoes were that big then only eagles and hawks would be brave enough to eat them.  Armor would be the fashion of the BWCAW instead of Khaki.

I have often wondered if mosquitoes ever existed in the Garden of Eden?  Perhaps that is what guardian angels were for?  If that was their job, it is no wonder devil was able to get Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  The angels were either too busy swatting mosquitoes or were anxious for a change in their occupation. 

Mayflies do such a great job in procreation, it makes one wonder why mosquitoes had to resort to such a high risk method.  I certainly would find it difficult to reproduce if I had to go bite something.  Mosquitoes would be a lot more successful if they could bite like a wood tick.  I never feel a wood tick bite, nor are wood ticks dumb enough to go buzzing around my bedroom at 3 a.m.  This month I have had that happen four days in a row.  It drives one crazy to be lying in bed slapping your face in hopes of killing the little bugger.  Most of the time they just buzz away and hang onto your wall and wait to try again in ten minutes as you just start to doze off.

Someone should invent a permanent solution to mosquitoes.  If we are so damn good at destroying the environment and causing dozens of species to become extinct every day, why have we not figured out a way to destroy mosquitoes?  Perhaps we can get the government to spend billions of researching a way to crossbreed the mosquitoes with mayflies and create big dumb mosquitoes that just hover and die.  Then again, knowing how the government works we would only end up with three inch long mayflies that bite like mosquitoes.  I guess we should leave creation the way it is.

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