It's been a very wet spring, followed by a pretty snowy winter. It's created some problems across the region. There's been road washouts, flooded bridges, trail closures, and lots of mud. This last weekend we went up for Memorial Day at the cabin in Northern Minnesota, and we were shocked to find how wet it was.

Usually, by Memorial Day, the ground has dried up enough that we don't have any issues. This year, however, we could barely get the camper in without getting stuck. The ground was so soft it was like melted rocky road ice cream. We honestly couldn't get the pontoon into the lake because the ground was so soft and muddy.

Then came the other problem: the bugs. There were more mosquitos and gnats than I've seen since our family bought the cabin back in the 90s. We fired up as many citronella candles as we could to try to keep them away. They seemed to come in waves, and when one wave came we would run inside. I've never had so many bugs in and out of my nose and ears as I did with those flying gnats last weekend.

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Why is this happening? Well, mosquitoes and gnats thrive in wet conditions. They lay their eggs in or near water, and when the eggs get flooded the larvae are released which quickly become a mosquito. This has been such a wet spring that conditions are prime for mosquitos and other insects to reproduce.

I belong to several camping groups on social media, and there were a lot of people pointing out how bad both the gnats and mosquitoes were. Many were desperate for suggestions. One of the things I came across that I'm looking into is Thermacell mosquito repellant. A lot of people say it works well if it's not too windy of a day.

According to the Minnesota DNR, it doesn't take long for these mosquitoes to reproduce. A female can lay 400 eggs at a time. A week after the bugs hatch they are already going into the air. Female mosquitoes are the ones that do the biting, while males leave you alone.

Wanna know something else creepy? Mosquito eggs can last five years! Yikes.

Fortunately, mosquitos typically don't cause severe illnesses in Northern Minnesota, but worldwide mosquitoes infect 500 million people a year with diseases like encephalitis and malaria in more tropical and warmer places. It is worth noting that cases are on the rise of mosquito-related illnesses in Minnesota in recent years.

As always, the best way to protect yourself is to wear light colored clothes. Limit your time outside during peak hours in the early morning and near sunset. Wear mosquito repellant bug spray, and long sleeves and pants to limit your skin exposure.

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