Horse-fly swatter. 2013.
Every year I make one of these, but this year it hasn't been used so much, because I have been working inside most of the time. The only good thing about horse-flies is that they don't follow you over the threshold of a door.
You know those medieval depictions of Hell where sinners are being tormented by black flying insects? Those are definitely horse-flies. I find myself wondering what impact the complete eradication of them would have on the eco-system, but am sobered up by the realisation that the complete eradication of humans would probably do the ecosphere more good.
For a creature which sucks blood, a horse-fly is very indiscreet. The bite itself is extremely painful and the itching which begins a day later lasts for over a week and is three times worse than any mosquito's. At least camel-spiders (now those really are creatures from Hell) have the decency to anaesthetise you before gobbling great chunks out of your sleeping face.
Once a horse-fly has locked onto you, the only remedy is to run far away or kill it. They will never leave you alone and are very adept at getting out of the way of a swatter.
Every year, I find myself out in the field without my swatter, being pursued by a horse-fly. When you find yourself out in the open and unarmed like this, the best technique is to stand perfectly still and wait for the thing to settle on some part of your clothing, then smack it as quickly and as hard as you can.
Yesterday, I was in just such a situation, and the horse-fly settled on the crotch of my trousers. Without thinking, I punched myself in the testicles as hard as I could. From a distance, this must have looked like the act of a madman, as I staggered around in self-inflicted pain.