Saturday, July 14, 2007

fly. trap.

My house is full of flies. I detest flies. Everything about them makes me feel squeamish and sick to my stomach. I have an entire walled off stash of childhood memories related to flies: Aunt Joyce and Uncle Phil's broken down farmhouse with its always open, unscreened windows. It was full of flies which we kids pursued with rolled up magazines and straw flyswatters.

The on-the-porch "bathroom" at the cabin at 99 Springs, filled as it was with the heads of catfish, bluegill, crappie and the occasional bass, was also alive with flies of the worst kind. Sweet Daddy, so proud of his little girls' fishing skills, lined the bathroom with drying fish heads, mouths propped wide with sticks, hundreds of them gazing with filmy eyes at those who dared to sit on the stool.

The slaughterhouse at Uncle Bill's farm outside of Dodge City, even in early spring at hogkilling time, always attracted those particularly horrid dark blue, slow moving flies. The blood running from the slaughterhouse pooled in back and the flies blanketed the surface of the bloody lake in an irridescent glaze.

Grandmother Jesse sending us with swatters to swish flies from around the men gutting fish. Grandmother Wilhelmina smashing them with her fingers, she who, in her proud Russian-German peasanthood, was occasionally given to blowing her nose on the hem of her dress, an act which elicited screams of horror from her uppity second generation grandchildren.

Flies. I hate them. And I hate the means of getting rid of them. Swatting makes me sick. They burst into a smear of hairy blackness, always with a little spot of bright red blood. If they fall to the floor without completely smashing, they're prone to coming back to life, evidence that they surely do come from hell, as I've always believed. One wretched summer when I was eight, the washer having quit at home, we carted the clothes to the laundromat. In the hot and humid room, with the machines humming in the background, I stood at the window in a daze, watching the shimmers of heat rising off the pavement. I absentmindedly ran a finger over the window ledge, collecting dust, a dust which, to my horror, proved to be largely compiled of dessicated fly bodies and loose moth wings.

I detest flies and my house is full of them. Suddenly today they're rising out of the basement. I hate the basement, too, housing as it does the washer and dryer and Mo's automatic cat box, dusty Christmas decorations and tubs of old linens. It flooded with this last rain, but there's nothing down there ~ or there shouldn't be ~ that would give birth to or house flies. I don't know where they're coming from, only that they're thick in the basement and I can't stand it, knowing they're there.

I got fly stuff. Window corners which trap the nasty creatures on a sticky pad and keep them hidden so we won't have to witness their death throes. In the basement, huge fly strips, half a dozen long, sticky pads which will lure the hairy horrors to their deaths and expose their struggles for all to see. The backing of the sticky strips is printed with tiny flies, as if the strips are already full. Is this to desensitize the homeowner to the mayhem about to occur? Or is it meant to instill trust in the horrid, buzzing creatures? Maybe some manufacturer's idea of a joke. Ha ha. Opening the box to find what looked like five dead flies, I screeched and dropped it before I realized.

Already there are flies trapped in the window corners, struggling away, though discreetly hidden from view. I just looked inside and there are six ~ already. I haven't had the nerve to check the strips in the basement. Are the struggling flies shrieking in fly agony? The dogs are agitated suddenly; could they be hearing an SOS from the miserable beings in the traps? "As you do unto the least of these" . . . do you think it applies to flies?

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Anonymous tater said...

You know? Fish heads should not be left to hang on walls and putrify. We used to toss the heads and guts back into the lake for the crawdads to eat. I remember the cafe's my dad and I used to visit on our fishing trips, and there were always flystrips with countless flies just hanging there out in the open, while we ate...ughh. Then my great aunt Ginny and Uncle Wilson lived on a ranch, and they too had those hideous blue bottle flies that got so damn big. The poor horses and cows with the flies crawling in and out their noses, and on there eyes, just tormented endlessly. Then there's that little book Lord of the Flies...

July 14, 2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Brion. said...

In this here part of the world, when the fly problem begins in the summer, we take ourselves down to our local hardware store (it's owned and operated by a gay couple who emigrated here from the UK, we're welcoming like that here in NZ!!) and purchase a plastic bottle shaped 'thingy' which you add water to the bait which has been impregnated ( love that word!!)with an attractant that lures the flies into thinking there's a nice flying fuck in the offering, only to discover that it's all a trick!!!

And then they drown, probably sobbing quietly about what might have been!!

Good luck!


July 15, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger Willym said...

Flies... why is it that one fly buzzing around the family room as I pound away at the 'puter can drive me crazy?

I had a fly infestation 10 years at the old house. I had almost burned down the kitchen - another story - and the workmen where in doing repair and renovation work. Not sure if they brought something in with them but...

I had been called in at 0300 that morning and worked 12 hours - I had been to bed late the night before, sure I was on call but who ever paid any attention to that. I come into the house cranky, tired and ready to drop. Then I hear this incredible loud droning sound. I walk into a strangely darkened kitchen to find hundreds of small, wriggling buzzing flies covering the big window, completely blocking the sunlight. It was like one of those old Hammer horror flicks.

As you say Lynette swatting and crunching is a bloody business with one or two - with hundreds it would have looked like the aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade. After my initial revulsion I decided the only solution was my trusty, powerful, old Electrolux (solid American made in the days when that sort of thing was Made in America).

I pulled it out - the vacuum that is - put in a new bag and started sucking them up. It was a gruesome task and though the decibel level in kitchen went down, that droning sound took on a new dimension from the depths of the vacuum bag. I went through two bags – the weight alone keep triggering the automatic shut-off. As I inserted the second bag, the I swear the one I had taken out started moving across the floor from the vibrations and desperate attempts of the little bastards to get out. And all during the trudge to the garbage can I kept hearing Berlioz’s March to the Scaffold.

That old Electrolux was hauled out – thank god to meet an ever diminishing need – for the next three days. But every time I see 7 or 8 flies gathered in conclave I get the creeps and want to run for the new Electrolux (plastic Chinese made.)

All that to say: Vacuum the little bastards up!

July 15, 2007 7:27 AM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Don't like the buggers either. For some reason my house is free of them, but there are flies aplenty at the dog park hovering around the waste baskets filled with doggie doo. Makes one's stomach churn when they come near you knowing where they've been.

My basement suffers from saddleback crickets, not flies. Uggh too.

July 15, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I hate flies as you do; thankfully, I don't have them in the house. However, living in a rowhouse as I do, I'm prone to attract whatever the neighbors might have -- and that's why I occasionally see a big ol' cockroach scampering across the kitchen floor. Eee-eeew! I'm pretty sure they come in smelling the cat food.

Bugs. Hate 'em.

July 15, 2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Gee, Lynette! That was.... uh...vivid, to say the least. I am not a big fan of flies. I occasionally get them in the house. I used to use RAID flying insect. Now that I have Alice, I don't. She on the other hand LOVES flies. What can be more fun for a kitty than chasing one of those annoying little bastards all over the house knocking things over and acting like she's possessed, Okay, more possessed than usual.

The worst bug infestation I ever had was the summer my daughter was 16. We were living in Cambridge and they had torn up the sidewalk, coursed it with sand and then just left it. FLEAS! We were infested with sand fleas. Believe me getting rid of flies is easy. Fleas on the other hand have all sorts of nasty tricks and can go dormant for months. We finally got rid of them but is was weeks, possibly months before our calves healed.

Look at it this way, it could be a lot worse.

July 15, 2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Michele said...

Flies and slugs are reincarnated Nazis/Waffen SS - so in the world of karma it's absolutely okay to end their lives ...

July 15, 2007 2:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

Unless they bite, flies really don't bother me. I don't even care if they land on me. It's gnats I detest.

July 16, 2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

I remember sitting on Grandma's front porch and watching the flies land and leave a black spot of fly excrement on the walls and ceiling. The entire porch was covered with millions of little black dots. It was truly disgusting and enough taught me to toss my food if a fly landed on it.

That was in California, here in the Northwest we get a few flies in the summer but then, summer is very short so I can deal. The mosquitoes are my bane here and I'm sure to have West Nile Virus by summer's end.

July 16, 2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

I enjoyed something about reading this Sunday afternoon. I was instantly reminded of a rented house we lived in for just one summer when I was about 11, in Groveville, New Jersey. I think there may have been a lot of flies due to a creek running through the backyard. It was the only time in my life I ever saw those long, curly, brown sticky rolls of fly paper, which my mother had hung all over the kitchen. Something about them seemed so "old-fashioned" -- right out of the depression era, even though this was the late 1970s. Thanks for the memory. I now live in a climate noted for its lack of flying critters.

However, I've had to do my own pondering of the "As you do unto the least of these" issue. I finally put down snail killer all over the garden and have been finding empty shells everywhere. I sincerely feel kind of bad, but I was really sick of those little fuckers chewing everything up!

July 16, 2007 7:59 PM  

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