Northern Ontario tree planter transformed by insect bites
Eamon Cunningham Closs says bug spray helps, but doesn’t keep the pesky bugs at bay
At first glance, it looks like Eamon Cunningham Closs had been a victim of assault.
"My face looks like it's dirty but it's all dried blood," he said.
"There's a slight gleam in my ear because my ear was full of blood. There was a glob of blood in my ear."
The culprits? Swarms of blackflies and horseflies that couldn't resist. Cunningham Closs, originally from Sudbury, plants trees near Atikokan in northwestern Ontario.
He says when he first started the job, he worked to keep the flies away.
"Now I try to ignore them," he said. "I think it's better if I just get used to them on me. But it's difficult with the deer flies because they're very painful."
Cunningham Closs says bug spray does help, but doesn't solve the problem. One day when the bugs were particularly bad, he says he jumped in a pile of branches to try and get relief. He ended up attaching some of the branches to his hat.
"It seemed like the leaves were keeping them away," he said.
He says so far, the blackflies aren't as bad compared to last year.
"But the deer flies have been out [and] they're really bad," he said. "They really hurt when they bite you. They saw into your skin."
Despite his experience with the flies, Cunningham Closs says the job is worth it.
"You can get quite a bit of money," he said. "You get paid per tree. Right now, we're getting 12 cents per tree and it adds up."
With files from Markus Schwabe