Some people refuse to step on bugs because they do not want to cause the death of another living thing. I salute them. On the spectrum with guy-running-over-an-animal-for-fun at one pole and them at the other, my needle swings wildly their way. It gets complicated though. Every step you take will mash something. It’s a matter of what you can perceive.
I have a few dozen flies in my house right now. No doubt some people would refer to this as an invasion. It’s really not much of an invasion. It’s more like if a drunk wanders through your unlocked door by accident and you find him curled up on the floor sleeping it off. It’s not ideal, but you don’t feel all that threatened. These flies strike me as deficient in intellect.
These flies are big and slow. Just to see if I could, I snuck up to one crawling across my counter and put my hand over it easily. Now I have a fist with a fly in it, feebly buzzing away, and I can’t bring myself to kill it, because it’s so pitiful. If you’re a fly, and I can catch you? You are not a credit to your race.
I’m small and slow. I am so slow that if I were in the batter’s box and on the receiving end of a fastball, my swing would probably take out the on-deck batter as she meandered up to take my place. Some people have quick reflexes and reaction times but mine are more deliberative. Mine don’t want to jump into anything without ruminating a little first. In a bygone era, my name would be Tiger Chow.
So here I was in the unprecedented circumstance of having a fly in my hand, and none too happy about it, really, having never anticipated it as a possibility, and although I am not too delicate to use a swatter, I’m far too squeamish to squish it manually. I thought about letting it outside, but it seemed happy enough, so I decanted it back onto the counter to let it lurch and launch and dawdle around in the airspace like a doomed zeppelin and eventually keel over and plop to the floor. There’s already a bunch of those scattered around. Some kind of spring hatch from the Diptera Halfway House, none of them fast enough to generate any buzz.
I looked them up. Why are my flies so slow and pitiful? Were they born old? Google something like this, I’ve learned, and your first ten hits will be from pest control outfits. And if their information is to be trusted—and it probably can be, although they’ll explain how a given insect is completely harmless but you should kill it anyway—these are not developmentally-disabled versions of your average housefly, but a different species altogether, a notably poky one. The cluster fly.
I don’t know why, but the first five of these fat bastards I found were dead or napping on my bathroom floor. I treated them with my vaunted housecleaning ethic and, not caring to step on their considerable meat with my bare feet, nudged them over to the baseboard with my toe until such time as I felt up to disposing of them. No one knows what time that is, exactly. But I have in mind that I could line them up on an olive tray and present them to my chickadees.
Such tiny birds! I’d probably have to saw my flies into steaks first.
Well, you learn something new everyday (or at least, I do); I’ve run across a couple of these “sluggish houseflies” in the last couple weeks and thought “Where did you come from? Are you just waking up from a long winters nap?” I had no idea they were a whole other species of fly! Anyway, a fun post Murr though I’ve gotta say, if I found a strange drunk curled up on MY floor I’d be feeling pretty threatened!
Oh, you get used to it.
So now I have an alternative meaning for CF. A meaty one.
Is there another one? That isn’t a disease?
Dear Tiger Chow, You will be Miss Popularity in case of a zombie attack. And your large and juicy brain will keep them occupied long enough for EVERYONE else to get away! You are an asset to any survivalist group, if only briefly.
My brother had a pet spider in the corner of the patio roof, and used to toss those fat, slow flies into her web every day. She became a fat, slow spider. Perhaps you should let your Chickadees continues to catch fast, evasive little bugs so that they remain fast, evasive little birds.
“…if only briefly…” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Roxie, Do I detect an incipient poem about a spider parlor?
Mom would give us a penny for every regular housefly we would swat, but those big slow ones…we called them 5 cent flies, because that’s what Mom would give us if we brought her the carcass as proof.
Your mom was generous! My father paid me a penny for every ten Japanese beetles I plucked off the roses. At the time, that money was worth the project. You could buy stuff with two cents.
Flies aren’t allowed in my house, so I would be sweeping those out into the garden quick smart. Any that are fast enough to zip around while buzzing get a face full of insect spray. Several times if necessary.
Trouble with bug spray is you get a faceful of it too. Well, that’s ONE of the troubles.
I have read that because flies do not have eyelids, so they see ALL THE TIME, they start to get tired around dusk. (I guess all that seeing leaves them fatigued.) You have a better chance at catching them and escorting them outside at that time of day. Especially as they tend to be on the windows, looking at the outside with longing. I have a dedicated bug-catching device that I got decades ago. It’s a plastic pyramid with a long handle at the apex and a sliding door at the base. We have relocated many bugs with this. Except for water bugs, mosquitoes and lantern flies, which I kill with great glee.
Couldn’t it be that flies get tired at dusk because it’s bedtime? I know I do.
The sudden appearance of slow flies in the house is usually an indication that something is rotten in Denmark. Or your house at least. Or it could be the smell of rotting fruit or an over ripe litter box. My Sam (Boston Terrier) had two episodes that spontaneously generated large, fat, striped flies with red eyes one time and green bottle flies another. I also seem to recall something dead in the crawl space ringing the dinner bell for flies that filled the house. Good luck with your guests!
Wait a minute. We’re calling poor Sam’s events “episodes?” Sounds like there’s probably an apt medical term for it. On the other hand, I can just hear someone saying “Sam’s committed an episode on the kitchen floor.”
Or maybe Sam had a failed series that only made it to two episodes and only appealed to flies. If the series mostly consisted of a dog pooping, no wonder it failed….
When a quick and agile fly in our house slows down enough to be caught in the hand, it is because it has become very, very hungry and thirsty and tired and we haven’t left out anything it likes to eat. For the quick ones, I bought one of those electric tennis racquets, which I have occasionally used also on yellow jackets that have discovered the hummingbird feeder. The last time I used it was on a fly that had become obsessed with the TV screen. My wife was terrified that I was about to whack the screen, but no, I just gradually approached it until the fly had no route of escape, then nudged it a bit. *POP*
Anyway, “God in his wisdom made the fly / And then forgot to tell us why”—Ogden Nash. (If you look that up on DuckDuckGo, the first nine hits are about a crossword puzzle clue. I did not dig deeper.)
I think you’ve dug enough!