Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Don't Need No Screens?

While we've been enjoying the long days and decreased rainfall of our second summer in Dublin, we are noticing something distinctly missing from the summer evening air... and from buildings as a result.

Mosquitoes, wasps, and other nasty North American pests just don't seem to show their faces here in suburban Dublin. Having just returned from an extended visit to my home continent, the entomological difference is even more distinct.

When we first moved here, we noticed that our apartment had beautiful, big new windows that opened on to a shielded patio. We saw that there were no screens on these or any other windows in our apartment. When we asked the real estate agent about screens and bugs, she said that they really weren't a problem in Dublin.

Screenless, Large Windows in a Dublin apartment
Screenless, Large Windows

We've since just gotten used to going out on a summer evening with no insect repellant for a walk or a picnic- and having no problems. We aren't plagued by endless mosquitoes during wet weather. We don't get bites from nasty chiggers on our ankles when enjoying a sunset picnic.

The only insects that do occasionally pop up here in high summer are largely harmless. When we open the big windows in the apartment, we sometimes get large houseflies that usually come in for a buzz around the room before exiting out the same window through which the entered. Also, wooded trails were busy with hatching gnats through much of June. Gnats, while bothersome, aren't aggressive and painful like the biting black flies and asian beetles of a Midwestern summer.

The issue with insects is an interesting example of different baselines between people. Bugs are comparatively a small issue here, but people here are just as annoyed with the few gnats and midges here as we are with the buzzing, stinging, biting menaces of Iowa.

If you are in the American Midwest (...or the American South, whew!), and need a break from the bugs, make your way to Dublin. If you are reading from Dublin and are bothered by that one itchy midge bite, get yourself to Minnesota and spend some time on a lakeshore in the evening. You'll get to know very well the state bird of that great state, clouds of fist-sized and literally bloodthirsty mosquitoes!

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