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Greenhead season is no day at the beach

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Lisa Hutchings, education coordinator for school and youth programs at Mass. Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport, recalled sending some interns out to the southern point of Plum Island recently to find some animals from a tidal pool she needed for a lesson.

Within 10 minutes, an attack from the greenheads sent them running for the shelter of the van.

“I was scraping the house and when I was on the ladder, they were getting my legs,” said Ray Putnam, 46, who lives on the marsh in Ipswich and counts himself among those who feel the numbers of the large blood-suckers are up this season.

While greenheads — a type of horsefly with a big bite — don’t create the same public health concerns that mosquitoes and ticks do, the females — hungry after laying a batch of eggs — search for blood meals during breeding season, usually in July.

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