Flies in the ointment

I can report that Django is continuing with his protracted killing spree. Every morning the dead and mutilated birds, mice and voles we find strewn around the lawn are testament to his hunting prowess. We should have called him ‘Nimrod’.

P1010249  “What can I disembowel next?”

Not wishing to be outdone by the ginger bastard, we’ve embarked on a murder fest of epic proportions against the biggest pest of all – flies.

I daresay that living next to a field with a small herd of heifers doesn’t help with this problem, but the insects which plague us aren’t what I used to call ‘shit flies’ as a kid – the yellowy-brown ones that congregate on cowpats. They’re just common flies, but there’s the rub…they’re very fucking common indeed.

In the drive to eradicate every fly in this area of France we’ve tried many methods:

Fly swatters – These work if you aim right but you’re picking the buggers off one fly at a time. Yes, it’s very satisfactory killing the motherfuckers, but time-consuming with this number of insects.

Fly Spray – This is very effective but seems to have no residual effect, no matter which brand we try. Sure, it kills those flies within the range of the aerosol droplets but an hour or so later the bastards are back. This surprised us, as our past experience of French insecticides led us to believe that the various sprays and powders available here were rather more lethal than their British counterparts. I recall our first gite holiday – in Brittany – when we were plagued with ants. We found a powder in a supermarket which claimed to provide a lethal barrier to ants, so we sprinkled it all around the outside walls of the gite in the evening. In the morning we woke to find ourselves surrounded by hundreds of dead ants along with…dead toads…dead mice…dead sheep…the stuff was fucking lethal! Still, we do use fly spray as it kills the flies in the short term and a spray in the bedroom, leaving the door shut for 10 minutes, is effective at night.

Fly papers – Not bad as far as trapping flies goes, and a fresh paper will probably net you 30 or 40 very sticky and doomed flies in a short time, but it’s indiscriminate and I don’t like catching moths with them – particularly when it’s something like a tiger moth. However, the fly papers are regularly renewed – especially in the kitchen.

Insecticidal window stickers – These seem to have a limited effect and with their bright designs they just look like decorative stickers. I think the ones we’ve put up have run out of their lethal vapour. Not the most effective method and not worth renewing. They also have the unfortunate side effect of making it look like you’ve got some hippy living at your house.

Vapour emitting devices – Some are a total waste of money, particularly the ‘passive’ ones that consists of a plastic housing with some sort of impregnated substance in the middle that slowly emits insecticide. However, the variety that plugs into a mains socket seems to be the most effective long term solution to the fly problem. There’s a make called ‘Catch’ which has a bottle of liquid that you screw into a diffuser and then you plug the whole thing into a mains socket. We have two of them and they seem to keep the fly population down pretty effectively, judging by how few flies are flying around and how many end up dead on the floor. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be the only people who’ve given these ‘Catch’ diffusers the thumbs up. We went to three supermarkets for refills last Friday and found the shelves empty.

Fortunately, there seems to be an absence of mosquitoes here. In terms of discomfort, flies are just a nuisance compared to mozzies and their bite. A mosquito bite has to be one of the most irritating things imaginable, as the more you scratch it, the more it itches and, depending where it is, can often swell up. Get a good one on your face and John Hurt in ‘The Elephant Man’ can just fuck right off.

In the interests of feline fairness, here’s a picture of Oscar – who can’t seem to be able to catch anything larger than a moth:

P1010248

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5 Responses

  1. i once lived in a small village with cowsheds just three houses up so i understand your pain. flypapers is the way to go, all else is uselss.

  2. Have you tried flappy curtain things in the doorway?

  3. We equally live in Fly Hell here in the back end of Devon. Sigh.

  4. One place I worked at briefly worked had the misfortune to be sited between a maggot farm and a pet food factory. They used a combination of heavy plastic strip curtains in the doorways and those blue light grill things.

    This seemed a fairly effective combination. Not sure if it would work on sheep though…

  5. What about one of those bright-light bug zappers? The ‘bzzzzt!’nas it claims another victim is very satisfying, though you might want to turn it off at night to spare the moths.

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