Insecti-cide

Methods of insecticide, that is… not the poison sold in aerosol cans.

I can’t stand the smell of fly-killer spray.

(Actually, when leaving the house with visitors recently, I thought hubby had sprayed insecticide around to kill off flies while we were out. Once in the car, I discovered the odour was still with us, being the smell of a designer brand of male cologne. But I digress. . .)

Living as we do in the middle of fields, we are invaded by flies in the summer when the back door is always open.

Worse than the big, buzzy flies, are those tiny flies that fly spray doesn’t seem to kill anyway. (And then there are minute wriggly things that come off the fields around harvest and make our skin itch and get under the screens of our laptops. All we can do about those is wipe them off the paintwork when the invasion’s past.)

The big, buzzy flies usually depart if I leave a window open. My husband says I’m just letting more in, but I have watched flies banging against the window until they find the way out, and I think they recognise my kitchen as a hostile environment. They don’t stay long enough to be a problem, which is a Good Thing, because my chosen weapon is less effective at dealing with big buzzy flies that change direction faster than I can aim at them.

Strategically placed around each room in our house are electronic fly swatters, designed to electrocute anything that bridges their crosshatched wires. They are cheap to buy and those from the pound shop work just as well as those from the garden centres. I have them within reach in every room, ready for when I spot a fly, because once I take my eye off the little flitter, it’s gone!

. . . until I put down the bat to continue whatever I was doing, and it swoops again to taunt me.

The big, buzzy flies are the devil to catch unless you can trap them against a wall or window. You then have to hold your captive there until safely immobile, in case it is one of those with the annoying ability to drop to the floor, spin on its back and fly off again when you go for the dustpan.

The tiny black flies that invade us in large numbers float around in a more leisurely manner, and I am now practised at plotting their trajectory and intercepting them. Sometimes there is a small satisfying electronic crack. Occasionally one might pass through the grid without touching metal and float around for another swipe. Mostly, they just disappear.

Don’t be put off by their disappearance. The same happens when I catch one in my hand on the rare occasion when no bat is within my reach. The fly disappears from the air in front of me, but when I open my hand it isn’t there either. Maybe they slip into another dimension? As long as they no longer hover around my fork while I’m eating, it’s a result!

There are other means of reducing the population of the little floaters, but nothing so instantaneous.

I have fly traps that I prime with red wine to lure them to their doom. (Red wine seems to lure more than white wine.) The resulting body count after a few days is worth the sacrifice of each tablespoon of wine. (I’m afraid I don’t recall where I bought the traps though; it was too long ago.)

I have tried insect-zapping lamps designed to attract flies and fry them, but they seem to gather more dust than dead flies. Perhaps ours are the wrong kind of flies.

Swatting flies has been elevated to something of a blood sport in our household. Visitors are often startled when I interrupt my tea-making or other activity to seize the nearest fly-swatter. My husband has learned to duck.

What annoying irritants invade your space?

How do you deal with them?

25 thoughts on “Insecti-cide

  1. I guess this is the price we pay for living in the beautiful fens, along with the mosquitoes that are on guard duty in my garden from about 4pm even in the winter and launch an attack on any glimpse of bare skin if I dare to step outside after the curfew

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thankfully, living in a first floor flat I don’t seem to have many invaders, never thought of that as a plus point. But was reminded by your descriptions of times gone by, or when I house sit for family. The electronic tennis raquets were quite successful. They’ve tried the lamps and even old fashioned sticky strips…yuk! The worst memory in our caravan days, was a whole army of Maybugs, rising up from the corn field behind us…enormous great things. My daughter still has awful memories of nightmares of them getting in her hair…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We get twice yearly invasions of drowsy flies. My husband vacuums them up with glee since they live up to their names and just loll around. He used the sticky tape but I strongly objected to eating with the thing hanging over head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed at the ending with your husband ducking. 🙂 Around here in New England, we have flies – more the big ones than the smaller ones you describe. I go “old school” and roll up an already read newspaper and swat the fly away, out the door, back to his/her family. Well, if that doesn’t work, a strong swat of the newspaper brings a fast death to the fly.
    So glad I found you here thanks to Sally Cronin’s post. I just downloaded The Godmother on my Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – good to meet you. Thanks for your comments. I’m afraid I’m not good at the newspaper fly swatting. Either they sneak out before I get them against something, or I REALLY go for it and break something hanging in the kitchen. And the dogs disappear (they cower at the sound of a rolled up newspaper).
      I do hope you enjoy The Godmother. It’s my personal favourite of my publications so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy, you are a master of comedy. I laughed through the entire post because, you know this, I have tried unsuccessfully to catch flies for years. How we ever caught fire flies in those hot Midwest summers, I’ll never know. I picked this post to link to your name on the attendance roster of this month’s Story Chat Summary. Your wonderful comments make Story Chat interesting and keep people coming back month after month. Thanks so much for commenting so faithfully and fully. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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