My family and I have always taken at least one summer vacation into God’s Country – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We love the UP for several reasons, the wildlife and scenery, new adventures and old favorites and, most of all, time together. But adventuring in the UP isn’t for everyone – there is a healthy population of bears, wolves are rampant, and cougars are becoming less shy. And while most of us modern day mountain men love to see the wild beasts, there are a few things that terrify us: mosquitoes and blackflies! Mosquito repellant is simply the most important thing you’ll throw into your pack.
God’s plan for Mother Nature is for everything to work together and, as pesky as bats can be at times, they do their part by eating up to 3000 mosquitoes a night. But unfortunately in the UP and other parts of the country, the bat population is threatened right now due to White Nose Syndrome, a lethal fungus that affects bats. So this year the bugs were horrible on our annual trip to the UP.
I remember the disgusted look on my wife’s face as we pulled into the cabin and she got out of the truck. “The bugs are horrible! Did you remember bug spray?…”
Pretending like I was more prepared for vacation than my wife (which never happens) I pulled a case of BugBlocker out of the back of the truck, “Of course I did.”
There were twelve of us total on the vacation and I made sure that everyone never left the cabins without mosquito repellant on. I also pre-treated out family’s pants, jackets and ‘firework watching’ blankets. And it worked! We were trout fishing on small forgotten ponds and creeks, pike fishing in a lake surrounded by a cranberry bog, kayaking rivers, playing at the beach, watching fireworks, cooking out, you name it! We never once got a tick.
There are several reasons to make sure everyone uses bug spray: first and foremost, mosquitoes have killed more humans throughout time than any other war or catastrophe combined. They simply feed relentlessly, transmitting disease as they go. Right now everyone is nervous about West Nile virus. In the past, it was various plagues, in the future, who knows? And ticks, those disgusting parasites carry Lyme Disease among many other things.
We also all remember what it is like to have an itching bug bite! It’s uncomfortable, and seems to last forever. Young children, without the sense and willpower of educated adults, just scratch and pick away at bug bites, often creating infected scabs and lifelong scars.
Whether it’s to preserve the sanctity of the family vacation, to enjoy a neighborhood cookout, to prevent disease, or to protect innocent skin, we all need to be using mosquito repellant this summer!