It is only fair as a responsible blogger to pass a word of warning about the ‘private beach’. Newburyport is plagued twice a year with Greenheads: usually just after Independence Day (July 4th) and on for approximately two weeks; with a second swarm appearing about the middle of August and on to just before Labor Day. Of course, these are seasonal approximations. For example, as with everything else this year such as West Nile Disease, the greenheads have appeared weeks earlier.
Of course, the first fact that will impress you with these insects is their size. The second important fact is, their bite. They don’t actually bite, stick or sting; they have, which is the closest analogy I can think of, a ‘circular buzz saw’ which basically tears out junks of flesh along with the blood. This human sample is then used to reproduce up to a thousand eggs for future torments. The only adjective that adequately describes these monsters is nasty!
Regular insecticide is used by these bugs as a minty mouth spray, with no negative affect. Some companies have devised effective and powerful chemicals but strangely enough, Avon’s Skin So Soft has proved to be the best. Their regular body lotion works so well that Avon has produced a line of insect repellents to take care of every other nasty insect out there. Many stores in and around Plum Island and Newburyport stock it for the relief of our visitors as well as locals.
But there is an Achilles’ heel for Greenheads. Greenheads can not function well below 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Yesterday, while I munched happily at Bob Lobster, overhead of me were 20 greenheads hanging down from the table’s parasol staring down at me. It was 78 degrees and though they may have been drooling to ‘tear’ into me, I had a very pleasant meal outside in the cool ocean breeze.
Above 84 degrees and I would be running for my car!
So, next time you want to venture out to the beach and the Greenheads are biting, just take a glance at the weather forecast and ask yourself a question*, "Do I need to bath in Skin So Soft before I go?"
* The first question of course is, "Do I feel lucky?"