Flies, damn flies and statistics

Kettlemag, Frivolity, Naomi Duffree, Flies
Written by Naomi

Flies. What are they all about? No, not those sort…we all know what those ones are for. (Thank the Lordy that Elias Howe, Whitcomb Judson and Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback in some sort of roundabout way together came up with that one…otherwise this article would be a whole different ball game – if you’ll pardon the pun.) I’m talking about the blue bottle buzzy variety, scientifically known as Calliphora vomitoria. Usually I’m not one to pre-judge but I’m guessing that unless you’re a spider reading this you don’t get the point of them either?

Loud and Pointless

This summer seems to have produced a number of them that rather enjoy my home. I’m at a loss to discover why. I haven’t discovered any rotting corpses hidden in the cellar (not that I’ve made a great attempt to look) and do clean my house on a regular basis…but the little blighters are descending on me quicker than I can say “Where’s the fly swat?” and it is beginning to get on my nerves. And not just me; twitter is awash with complaints too:


 I’ve not got an infestation – it’s just that they are so loud…and pointless.  I’m not one to go about hurting tiny creatures except when they begin to annoy me, as I discovered when we had a mouse in the house a few years ago. Oh, come on, you’re all students, we’ve all had mice in our homes right? Ah, just me then. Okay. I wouldn’t normally have got the trap out but when your electrics are at stake…?

Anyway once again I found myself saying, “I’m not getting those flypapers they look horrendous, they’re cruel…” but of course the noise continued and I let my nerves get the better of me. Off I went to get some fly papers. I cheered myself up with the fact that it would remind me of lazy days in France watching the flies arrive on the yellow paper as it hung over the rustic kitchen table in the gite. Who was I kidding? It appears that they no longer sell those in our local. We now have ones that have pretty ladybirds, sunflowers and tree frogs printed on them – and as I have discovered – the flies don’t like them much either!  

Having got them home after much amusement from the cashier – I was buying slug tape too – (don’t ask; I know they don’t make a noise but they can’t half chew through my marigolds) I decided that since they came in threes I would distribute them around the house. One in the kitchen, the bedroom and the office. For those of you old enough to remember the old fashioned films you had to put in your camera before the digital age (google it), they resemble a film canister. You pull them out and let them dangle away ready to attract the flies. Here’s the rub though. While researching fly papers (my life has come to this?)  I discovered that they are apparently scented to attract the flies…but not a scent that humans can detect. Well let me tell you this…NEITHER CAN THE FLIES! After two noisy little creatures had been driving me mad for hours, cleverly avoiding my ladybird printed fly paper I managed to catch one of them by hand. He had obviously exhausted himself darting from one window to the next in the vein of Hamilton on a Grand Prix track, and I’d caught him on a pit stop. I then carefully stuck him on the fly paper as a warning to his mate. Well, not so much a warning, more of an instruction. And besides, it made me feel better.

Experts – What do they know?

I had similar disappointment in the bedroom and that’s not a phrase I use very often. The fly paper snapped as I attached it to the light shade. Ever on the lookout for an opportunity I went straight downstairs and attached the other half to the light nearest the back door…which I feel is the reason the little blighters are coming in; with the hot weather and the door open it is very tempting for a curious fly. I was full of optimism for this strip – but it didn’t last. The next thing I knew was my partner telling me that the fly strip was now “outside” as he had managed to become tangled in it on his way to the garden. (I had momentarily forgotten that not everyone is as short as me – my twitter handle isn’t nsdlittlelegs for no reason.) “Perhaps you should write about ‘How to Catch a Man’ instead”, he mumbled as he tried to remove the sticky substance from his hair. While relating this somewhat amusing scenario  to an expert in the agricultural trade yesterday he informed me that flies are important in the fertilisation of some seeds. Mmh…I’ll pretend I didn’t hear. What’s that other famous saying? Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? I still think they are a nuisance and at least mice can look cute.

I did have one piece of luck though – I caught one unsuspecting beast in the office. And there he hangs. And it isn’t half peaceful. If I close my eyes I can hear …. Wait… Is that a mouse squeaking?