Monday, 3 June 2019

Blackflies—Friend or Foe? Or Both…

In Blackflies and Blueberries, the second installment of the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series, protagonist Hart Stewart meets his match when he’s introduced to a swarm of blackflies, and has a hard time outrunning the vicious little vampires. Like Hart, millions of campers, cabin-fevered tourists, and northern residents abhor these pests. However, it’s easy to forget that blackflies may in fact have positive attributes. Wait…what? That’s right. These little blood-suckers play a huge role in the ecological community that we don’t realize.

Now, it’s a long-held belief that blackflies pollinate blueberry bushes. But scientists have a different opinion. Seems like these demons with wings are more like nectar robbers. They’ll fly in and stick their face into the nectaries of blueberries and other small plants, but they are not very efficient at transferring pollen, mostly because of their small body size. That’s where bees get the nod for their pollinating prowess. Okay, so if blackflies aren’t good for blueberries, what are they good for?

The blackfly provides a direct link between the aquatic and terrestrial world, serving as a significant food source. Blackflies lay their eggs in fast-flowing water like streams where brook trout and other fish are found. In the larval stage, they comprise an important component of the food chain for fish, amphibians, birds, and ducks. Dragonflies, damselflies, and birds are among their predators during their days or weeks of flight. So if you were to take a major player like blackflies out of the ecosystem, then it can have a cascading effect on others inhabiting that ecosystem.

Many people consider blackflies to be the guardians of the north. These are the brave ones who seek solace from the masses during the glorious time of late May and early June. These are the adventurers who crave solitude from crowded city streets and noise pollution. They pack up their gear, and head into the far northern woods where swarms of blackflies keep people away. I truly applaud those people. Let’s just hope that they don’t forget to pack the bug spray.

Whether folklore or fact, I choose to give blackflies the benefit of the doubt. The belief persists that more blackflies mean more blueberries. And if you’re a blueberry lover like me, that’s a good thing to believe in! 

Here's a little bite of my latest teen psychic mystery, Blackflies and Blueberries...

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.


As Hart continued his journey, he became aware of a buzzing around his ears. He fanned his hand around both ears in a circular motion, took another gulp of water, and realized the buzzing was still there. Annoyed, Hart whipped his faded baseball cap off, waved it around his head, and put it back on. There. That should take care of the little bugger. But it didn’t. The buzzing grew louder. Louder and more persistent. Something bit him on the back of his neck. Hart winced and clenched his teeth. It was as if someone had plunged a sharp needle into him. He reached to slap his sweaty neck a few times. When he pulled back his hand, Hart’s blue eyes bulged at the sight of blood smeared across his palm. What the hell just bit me? A Fairy Falls vampire?

The buzzing returned, and another creature flew into his ear. Hart freaked. Maybe it’s trying to burrow into my brain? Suck out the fluids? Leave me paralyzed on the road? His heart raced. He frantically dug a finger into his ear to extract whatever had crawled in there. He winced, hearing a sudden pop, like its body had exploded in his ear canal. Hart’s shoulders tensed, as he pulled out his finger. It, too, was smudged with blood. His blood. Sweat blistered across his temples and dripped down his face. What’s going on? What are these strange creatures? And why are they attacking me?

More buzzing accompanied these thoughts. Biting his bottom lip, Hart wiped the blood from his hand and finger across his jeans, and turned to face the enemy. He dropped his jaw and water bottle at the same time. A flock, no, a herd, no, a swarm of black, buzzing, blood-sucking whatever-they-were, were inches from his face. The black cluster moved in for the kill. Hart promptly closed his mouth, took a step back, then another, and another, but the little beasties followed him every-which-way he went. He broke to the left; they followed. He cut to the right; they pursued. He started to run backward; they kept up with every stride taken. A root snagged Hart’s ankle and tripped him. He rolled a short distance down a ravine before smacking into a group of moss-covered boulders.

Disoriented, Hart shook his head, then looked up. That was a mistake. The swarm of flying beasties were now hovering over him. His breathing became shallow, his heartbeat erratic. His mouth went dry. This is it. I’ll be devoured in a matter of minutes by a hoard of vicious, bloodletting demons made of teeth and wings. Then Hart heard something else to his right. Not buzzing or whining, but a noise that sounded like a nervous-whump, as if someone was thrashing about in the bush. Slowly, Hart glanced to his right. His skin tingled all over. Not more than a metre away, coiled in layers of brown and black, hunched a lone rattlesnake, ready to strike.

In one breath, Hart rolled to his left, stood, and sprinted into the forest. He ran like his life depended on it, cutting his own path, while branches and saplings scraped his face and whipped his legs. The flying black demons were hot on his trail but Hart soon lost them, and after about fifteen minutes of constant running, looking back, running, and looking back, he sensed it was safe enough to slow down. His lungs protested, his legs screamed their silent pain as Hart, now sweating like a fat man in a sauna, collapsed in a clearing and surrendered to his body’s wishes.

Feeling his legs cramp, Hart reached down to rub both his calves briskly. Tired and hot, and now probably lost again, he knew he had to find his way back to the road, wherever that was. Hart swore aloud, angry not only with himself, but with the strange, savage creatures that lived up here. He had thought he had some idea of what to expect. The trucker, whom he’d hitched a ride up here with, had told him about the numerous golf courses that dotted the area, about the million dollar cottages nestled amongst the trees, and about the condominium style resorts that were being built around many of the lakes’ shorelines. Hart banged a fist against the spongy forest floor. He thought Fairy Falls would have been more civilized, more developed. But he was wrong. Dead wrong.
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


  1. Looks like an awesome series! Here's wishing you many sales!

  2. Thanks so much, Lisa! Worked hard on this series, and had so much fun developing it! Cheers!

  3. I love blueberries so cheers to the black fly and to your new release!! Fun post!

    1. Thanks, Leigh! Those little beasties are a bane in cottage country, but obviously a necessity to the whole. Cheers!

  4. Still a skeptic re those miserable little black flies that torment us in the latter days of May...but I hope they do feed some of the more desirable creatures.

  5. I'm with you on that, Emma! Thanks for stopping by to comment, I appreciate it!

  6. Interesting blog post! It reminds me of a story of a Spartan soldier who chose to have a life-sized fly emblem on his shield. His fellow Spartans questioned him about it, and he told them something like it would look like the size of a lion when he used it against his enemies. Best wishes with this series!

    1. LOL! Great story, Andrew. Thanks for sharing and stopping by. Glad you liked my post. Cheers!