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Citation. Haarstad, J. 1985. Adventures with insects. The Naturalist 36:18-23. [1062 LTER]
Abstract. Similar sentiments probably fly through the minds of most field workers at Cedar Creek during the summertime. A succession of blood-seeking species of mosquitoes, black flies, horse flies, and deer flies fill fields and woods from late April to first frosts. Most oppressive and impressive are the deer flies. During much of July, field work becomes a contest of wills between flies and researcher. The flies generally win. I've captured and crushed literally quarts of deer flies by sweeping my insect net over my head while strolling through bur oak savanna. No market has yet been developed for deer flies, so they are discarded on the ground to become fodder for foraging thatch ants. The aggressive ants (Formica obscuripes) are equally impressive. They dominate the terrestrial realm in their unrelenting quest for food. One committed researcher, Jeff Brokaw, was obliged to visit a local hospital after being mauled by these ants. His ankles were badly bitten and formic acid was sprayed into the wounds while he intently watched other thatch ants tend honeydew-secreting caterpillars on bur oak. Given this hostile environment, one may wonder how much is known of the insects inhabiting Cedar Creek.
Keywords. deer flies, thatch ants