How to outsmart houseflies
Three quick tips to help you outsmart flies this summer.
Friday, July 8, 2011 - 00:23
My husband considers himself a fly-swatting champion. His mother, who grew up in a house where no one was allowed to kill a fly on any surface, was an expert at snapping them out of mid-air. She taught him to study the fly's flight pattern and to nab them as they pull away from whatever item they are tainting. While my husband and daughter run a stiff competition on confirmed kills this time of year, my skills are quite lacking. Even the cats out-perform me.
So it's time to brush up on proper fly-swatting techniques. In our house we can't tolerate bug spray or even fly paper (six cats and a dangling, gluey object do not mix), so a manual method is the only one we use. My family has outfitted each room with at least one whacker — be it the proven winner that my husband cherishes, the plastic swatter, or one fashioned from the local ads we receive in the mail. Being prepared to fight on a second's notice is one of the biggest factors in winning this war.
My husband’s number one tip for outsmarting the housefly: sneak up on it from behind. While flies have an almost 360-degree vision and might be able to see you, one often takes off backward, allowing you to trap it between the window and your weapon of choice.
2. Confuse it. Flies are not generally known for their high IQs, but as a species they have survived because they are quite talented at planning escape routes. My husband positions himself and his swatter with all the stealth and silence of a sniper, then wiggles the fingers of his free hand. This makes the insect identify the threat and take off in the opposite direction — straight into the path of the looming death trap that is my spouse.
3. Early morning is your power hour. It's not that your fly enemy is necessarily nocturnal or hungover and slow moving, but his optimum performance occurs at about 90 degrees. At the crack of dawn, he's still a bit twitchy and doesn't have the fastest reaction times.
Other experts say the color of your swatter is also important. Flies are less likely to notice one that blends in with the background, so purchasing a neutral colored weapon rather than the neon pinks and greens that swarm the market is your best bet.
Of course, keeping flies out of your house in the first place is essential. Walk the outside of your house for easy entry points and seal these off. Don't entice these disease carriers with a Vegas-like atmosphere of gourmet garbage can delights and pet poop. If they have nothing to eat and drink or lay their eggs in, they'll move on to the next sucker who has the back door propped open and a new Adventureland where they can play and procreate.