In honor of "midge season" in the Klamath Falls area,
here's a reprint of my article.
(Those who live there understand)
The sinister presence has returned in full force. The first contingents of black midges began scouting our Rolling Hills neighborhood a few weeks ago. The mosquito look-alikes seem innocuous enough, but with a water canal just to the south of us (their suspected strategic command center), it is their sheer massive numbers that overwhelm us in our region.
These August evenings you can walk through our neighborhood and watch clouds of the critters in eerie columns that wind through the air in giant worm-like shapes over country roads and fields. Other times they are transparent tornadoes, silently stalking the sultry air, waiting for an unknown signal to advance.
Peaceful, balmy evening walks along rural roads, hand in hand with my wife, become a veiled, unwelcome entry into the Twilight Zone. Oblivious to any other living presence, aside from distant cattle and a barking dog, suddenly we are swarmed by a thick cloud of the flying pests, whose sole mission it is to rob us of our sanity.
Yes – I understand they are not of the biting or disease-spreading variety, and – yes – I am aware they have their place in the ecosystem (somewhere between algae and redband trout), but I could never appreciate any creatures who find themselves all too comfortably at home in my ears, eyes and the deepest regions of my nasal passages.
Finally safe at home, eyes stinging with sweat, panting with my back to the door, I imagine the midges giving each other their insect equivalents of high fives and fist bumps, saying to each other in a high pitched hum, "Mission accomplished!"
In such massive numbers it becomes a major challenge just to walk through the door without inviting them in as the midges swirl about our porch light, patiently awaiting their opportunity. The sliding glass door in particular is a vulnerable entry point as they cling en masse to the door and are inadvertently pulled inside as we slide it open, triggering a flurry of defensive maneuvers on our part.
In all our practice, however, we have come to rely on a standard strategic response that not only rids us of the invaders, but has become quite a satisfying stress therapy.
Within moments after they invade the house, the midges are immediately attracted to our white ceiling where they remain contentedly clinging, quite visible against the pale surface. With a satisfying smirk, I move to the coat closet which contains what has become the ultimate in anti-midge weaponry – our vacuum cleaner.
With all the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning, I gleefully attach every extension tube I can find, set the power on high, and begin sucking them all into oblivion. Eyes wide, teeth bared, veins surging with adrenalin, I quickly move from midge to helpless midge with ruthless abandon.
You may recall that petite exorcist in Spielberg's horror film classic, "Poltergeist," and her expression of self-satisfaction after she cast the wicked presence from the family's home. Like her, after I suck the last tiny invader into the vacuum, I look about the now bug-less ceiling, put my hands on my hips, a smile stretching across my face and, with a self-satisfying sigh, I pronounce triumphantly to my family, "This house is clean!"
At least until we let the dog out again.
(From: Klamath Falls Herald and News: August 24, 2010)
You can read more about our annoying pests here:
Klamath Vacations Site
Article by Dr. Frank Lang of the Crater Lake Institute
Wikipedia Article on Midges
Midge pictures that will enter your nightmares