Friday, October 2, 2009

Lord Of The Flies

They're baaaaack! Those damnable zuzu flies! Hoards of them.........flying around the on my sandwiches............buzzing my face when I eat..............crawling all over my toilets, then walking on the rim of my wine glass..............little bugs from hell...........irritating me...........harassing me...........vexing me, in an attempt to drive me insane!

Such are the hazards of country life. You give up the human annoyances of the city, and trade them for the vermin of the country! Raccoons opening up my trash cans, and scattering their contents all over the yard, field mice inviting themselves in for bed and breakfast, wasps making nests within finger reach, under the hand rails of the deck stairs, and those flies.................those damned infernal flies!

I don't know what it is about this time of year. In my last blog, I wrote about the spiders going nuts, with their web weaving, but this time of year also marks the annual invasion of my home, by hundreds of little fruit flies. I call then fruit flies, for lack of an accurate name for them. Little gnat sized creatures, unequaled in both their tenacity, and their obnoxiousness. Swat them, and they quickly take flight, only to return in an instant. If you are quick enough, you can reach out and catch one with a swift hand clap! It's so satisfying to see their lifeless carcass, lying still in the palm of you hand!

Decades ago, when I was in the Army, the Shell Oil Co. came out with a yellow plastic strip, that you could hang from above, and it would emit deadly insect killing pyrethrums into the air. They worked wonderfully! Insects on the wing, literally dropped like flies! They worked so wonderfully in fact, that the large kettles of tea and cool aid in our mess hall, often had dead flies floating in them. Hapless victims, forced from the sky, by the deadly pyrethral miasma.

Well!.........I thought! If they worked in the old Army mess hall, then surely they would work in my kitchen. In fact I did use them for years in my kitchen, then suddenly they seemed to disappear. A couple of years ago, I found some in the insecticide section of a Food Lion ( an American chain grocery store). Without reading the labels, I scarfed up on three or four of them. Alas! My fly problem would be solved!

When I got home, I couldn't wait to peel their foil wrappers and hang them about the house. But first I thought, let's read the warning labels, just to be on the safe side. Here is what they said:

Precautionary Statements: Hazards to human and domestic animals - CAUTION: Do not get in mouth (duh?) . Harmful if swallowed (duh? again!). After prolonged storage, a small amount of liquid may form on strip. Do not get liquid in eyes (duh? once more!). Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling strip. (And now it gets scary!) Do not use in hospital, or clinic rooms, such as patient rooms, wards, nurseries, operating or emergency areas. Do not use in any rooms or closets of rooms where infants, children and the sick or the aged are or will be present for any extended period of confinement. Do not use in kitchens (except cupboards?), restaurants or areas where food is prepared or served. Do not use in any area of the home, where people will be present for extended periods of time. And last but not least: Not to be taken internally by humans, or animals! (double duh!)

After reading those dire warnings, I decided that flies crawling around on the rim of my toilets, then taking a leisurely stroll on rim of my wine glass, was a small price to pay for the privacy of my 4.5 acre wooded country lot!

Love to all,
Melissa (Mistress of the Flies)


Naukishtae said...

Now that is a problem.. I can't stand them either.. had a lot of them once or twice in El Sobrante, CA, went to the hardware store and got fly strips.. now I am sure you have seen them in old black and white films.. before you pull the tab they resemble a small film cannister.. after you hang it from somewhere.. (ceiling) you pull the tab and it spirals out the bottom, and becomes this ugly ribbon hanging from where ever you have hung it.. now this ribbon is sticky, and the flies love it.. it attracts them en-mass.. you take the strip down and throw it away.. now this was some years ago, but I think they are still available, because my son was using some a couple of months ago.. no idea of what the warning lable says, but i think it relies on the sticky, rather than an airborn chemical.. just a thought.. I hate to think of flies alighting on the rim of your glass.. just not You.. XX

Naukishtae said...
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Naukishtae said...
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Naukishtae said...

Gawd.. I hit the post button 3 times by accident and it posted the coment three times.. sorry.. now I remember what it was called "Fly Paper" but it was in a ribbon that unwound out of a cardboard cannister.. all the best.. XX Naukishtae

chrissie said...

Melissa... Yes, indeed.

Those agents are the same ones used in fly spray. Some are natural and some are synthetic.

And, wait for it.... Regardless of whether they are natural derivatives or synthetic, they are NERVE AGENTS, and constant exposure to them will affect your health and possibly even kill you.

The strips were banned because they were a constant exposure delivery system, in contrast to a short-term aerosol-delivery system which would soon disipate.

Your best bet is fly screens on windows, and bead curtains and fly screens on doors, and a regular (parhaps once a year) smoke treatment in any loft space.

Wasps are a sod, but are best tackled BEFORE the nest gets larger than an apple. Again, mesh on areas that are difficult for you to reach, ie, under eaves, etc, will stop the queens settling and starting a nest.

Block off or mesh any exterior holes to the loft or walls or underfloor, etc, to stop the migrating queens getting in and building one inside.A wasps nest under the floor is a MAJOR and EXPENSIVE pain to deal with.

You can get easy to use foam or dust sprays that will take out small ot medium sized nests, but take care to do it at last light or at night, when the wasps are asleep. Otherwise the danger of a swarm and an attack is very high.

ps, I'm a Pest Controller. BPCA trained and RSPH qualified.

chrissie said...

Oh, and fly papers are still available and work well, depending on the attractant used...

Stephanie said...

We had a dead critter under the house recently that the flies laid eggs in. One morning we got up to find about 200 big, fat, green flies in the house buzzing around. And me with only a fly swatter! it took three days to get all of them.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, You might think I'm crazy but you can put a HUGE dent in your insect problems by simply keeping 3 or 4 chickens...the live ones, around the house. It's amazing how many bugs they consume. It's what they live for. Just let them roam free but keep some chicken feed handy. At about the same time every day, scatter a little feed in the will keep them closer to home. Certain insects gather because OTHER insects are their food. Chickens eat almost ALL of them. Just make sure you don't have any roosters...hens only...unless you want more chickens showing up after the eggs hatch. Of course you can eat the eggs they leave you...and the bonus is they are much healthier eggs to eat because they come from free range hens. Chickens really cleaned up my property when we moved here. They got rid of an infestation of ticks too. I had a vegetable garden but they never seemed that interested in it...except for the big fat juicy horn worms that got on my tomatoes. Something to consider.

Melissa said...

To all,

Naukishtae & Chrissie, I have tried the fly paper before and it does a pretty good job of trapping many of them, but it relies on the flies landing on it, and its just one small target in a very big space. I also think when they see their already stuck comrades, writhing and contorting in frustrated efforts to free themselves, it freaks them out, and they stay away! ;-)

I have screens on all of my windows, but not on the doors, but I never leave the doors open. They are buzzing around outside of the door all the time, and as soon as you open it to walk in or out, they fly in. Same thing with my vehicle, the instant I open the door, they fly inside.

Stepahnie, you need practice with a fly swatter. Go to the following link (courtesy of LizzyBeth) to get some practice swatting flies:

Suzi, according to our neighborhood covenant, we are not allowed to have any kind of barnyard animals. Oddly enough though, we can have horses! I don't think chickens would do me much good anyway, unless they were amazing flying chickens, that could soar through the house, catching bugs on the wing. lol

Melissa XX

chrissie said...


caroline said...

While away we had a great time except if it got humid or the wind dropped then silent mosquitos sneak up on you and find some place just out of sight to suck on.

Thank goodness it is a windy place!

Caroline XX

PS chrissie should be fully employed, Wales is full of pests according to your last video!

Calie said...

Isn't it a bummer, Melissa, when you see them floating in your just re-filled wine glass?

Calie xxx

Melissa said...

@ Calie

Yes, but fortunately they can't drink much. A couple of sips, and the lightweights pass out! Then you can scoop em' out with a fingernail, and flick them away!:-D

Melissa XX