Annihalation of the Flies

Hunting flies. Can you hear Milo’s delighted giggles?

It’s late summer in Christchurch, and the house flies have started their invasion. Being of British decent, Kiwi’s don’t consider window screens to be a necessity. So on warm window-opening days, particularly when food is cooking, the flies swarm indoors.  After two years of frustrations with pitifully inaccurate dishtowel swats, I finally added “fly swatter” to the shopping list.

It’s late summer in Christchurch, and the house flies have started their invasion. Being of British decent, Kiwi’s don’t consider window screens to be a necessity. So on warm window-opening days, particularly when food is cooking, the flies swarm indoors. After two years of frustrations with pitifully inaccurate dishtowel swats, I finally added “fly swatter” to the shopping list.

Now for a bit of a fly rant:  I hate them.

I’m not super cleanly when it comes to house (ok, admit it: I’m not super clean about anything).  But when there are more than 3 flies swirling between cutting board, hair, and door frame, my blood pressure starts to rise. I should be concerned because their feet have been exploring the diaper pail and are now traipsing over my scrambled eggs…but, well, we have immune systems for a reason.  (Speaking of, have you ever heard of “contact immunity” with live vaccines?…yeah).  Instead, these flies are repulsive for the same reason I hate the scuttling silverfish in the pantry—the memory of my entomology professor’s sage advice.  “You want an unusual order for the bug collection?  Find silverfish in dirty frat houses–they’re a Thysanura.”  These insects, like house flies and cockroaches, stereotypically plague residences of the sloppy and slovenly.

I don’t want my house to be like a college frat house!

The house sure looked like a trashed hovel this morning, after Milo dumped the toy baskets to use the baskets as pretend animal cages.  In the foreground Naomi tries to figure out the snazzy new fly shooter given to us by our friend Laura.  She understands annual NZ fly invasion.

The house sure looked like a trashed hovel this morning, after Milo dumped the toy baskets to use the baskets as pretend animal cages. In the foreground Naomi tries to figure out the snazzy new fly shooter given to us by our friend Laura. She understands annual NZ fly invasion.

Milo has the fly shooter sorted, at least the firing mechanism.  To tell truth, he's a better aim with the swatter, and he proudly brings me his kill to admire before popping them in the trash.

Milo has the fly shooter sorted, at least the firing mechanism. To tell truth, he’s a better aim with the swatter.  He proudly brings me his kill to admire before popping them in the trash.

Here's my lame attempt at biological control.  The first night we had the venus fly trap it caught two flies, but I'm not sure it's caught anything on its own accord since then.  We feed it.

Here’s my lame attempt at biological control. The first night we had the venus fly trap it caught two flies, but I’m not sure it’s caught anything on its own accord since. We feed it.  I’m delighted with it nonetheless.

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3 thoughts on “Annihalation of the Flies

  1. I know what “herd immunity” is for live polio vaccine, but I don’t know what “contact immunity” is. But the US stopped using live polio vaccine in about 2000, so we don’t even have herd immunity. Some anti-vaccine people subconsciously hope enough of the herd is immunized that the disease won’t break loose. That eventually fails, but that doesn’t seem to decrease their vaccine phobia, because the disease in question don’t kill enough people for the disease fear to out weigh the vaccine fear. (measles) A resurgence of polio would be a different matter. That would cause panic and a re-evaluation of the fear equation.

    • Until yesterday I would have called the passing of an attenuated virus from one person to another, rendering a whole population immune, “herd immunity.” But then I checked the wikipedia definition, and they called this “contact immunity.” That is distinct from the idea of “herd immunity,” the concept that even if someone in a population like America doesn’t get vaccinated for measles, the “herd” is largely immune (because everyone else is vaccinated) so the unvaccinated kid doesn’t get the disease because there isn’t any passing around….except when there is!

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