Probably there are a whole lot of things you’re happy not to know about flies and their little fly babies.
Oh, I wish was you.
It hasn’t been bad here this year, really–not compared to the valley last year when we lived not only next to a herd of sheep, but the aquecia. In fact, with that historical watering system all around us and flies being so keen on incubating in damp, warm places, I suspect that place was just plain Fly Heaven.
It was not Horse Heaven. Not come July. No talking in the paddock unless you wanted flies in your mouth. Flies bounced off our bodies and worse, into and out of our ears. I went through hundreds of dollars of fly bait, fly spray, and fly masks.
I had already done every possible thing with my own yard, but here’s a fun fact about flies–they have a quarter-mile range. Jammed into the valley with its unique urban-rural agriculture, we didn’t have a chance. Not even with my trusty fly predators scattered around on a monthly basis.
*insert fly predator love*
This year, we’re out in the foothills. No sheep, no aquecias (the arroyos manage our water, and otherwise we xeriscape), and lightly scattered horses. The fly predators had a fighting chance…at least, until a month or so ago.
I ran into trouble because–and here is a little tip about flies–the fly traps have to be placed just right. The right amount of sun, the right amount of heat, and the correct proximity to their favorite hang-outs.
What the human wants is to put the trap–one gallon of stinky fly bait in water–in a place that won’t affect the neighbors or the house, or stand vulnerable to horse investigation.
And they have to be placed that way ahead of the seasonal surge, which around here is triggered by the monsoon.
But here in my new location/climate…I didn’t know what the flies would want. My instinct was that the flies would want to be HERE. And HERE had no protection from Horsie Incursion.
After repeated failures, I gave up and put the trap HERE, surrounded by a little bulwark of juniper logs.
DuncanHorse still gets to it. But not very often.
So now it’s a working system, if too late to prevent the population surge–and complete with that pungent but odd fly bait. Not immediately nasty, just sort of, “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t smelled that.” And then, as you realize how the slightest molecule instantly adheres to your skin and doesn’t let go, “Gee, I REALLY wish I hadn’t smelled that.”
Solution: scrub until the affected skin is gone. Works a charm.
But then there’s later. After a few days…as the flies begin to collect. As they DIEEEEE. Then it’s not just fly bait, it’s rotting flies and fly bait. A gallon jar with four solid inches of dead flies over the world’s nastiest liquid (we can’t call it water any longer). Oh yeah.
But hey! The flies think this is even MORE exciting, so the trap works even better!
And then comes the day. The fly trap must be emptied, rinsed, and rebaited.
Han Solo: What an incredible SMELL you’ve discovered!
This is that smell.
And this is when you learn what you really, really, wish you didn’t know about flies:
You heard me.
Yes indeed. You gotta dispose of the accumulated mass of flydom JUST SO.
While frantically trying to not actually touch it.
And here, I had intended to insert a photo showing amazing masses of potentially explosive flies. However, this afternoon I had an uncharacteristic fit of mercy and good taste, so instead….
Look! Pretties! My first-year gaillardia! California poppies! Sunflowers! (Can’t take credit for those…they plant themselves.)