Thursday, June 21, 2012

War of the Flies

For the past week, my house has been under siege. Oh, I could wax all metaphorical about the upcoming election season and the incessant calls from Mitt Romney and Scott Brown, but that's not it. I might be tempted to take another poke at Comcast - although things do seem to have settled back down to something approaching normal. There's a strong case to be made about it being the kids doing the sieging - they're home from school for the summer, a week before summer camp starts, and they're doing their best to make us long for 365 days of school...

No. We're besieged by flies. Actual, honest-to-goodness flies. Somehow we've been overrun by the damned things; I theorize it's because housekeeping has always been more of a theoretical construct than an actual one. We're usually more concerned about finding time to feed the kids and make sure they actually have clean(ish) clothes to wear rather than getting rid of the dustbunnies (at this stage, I think they actually qualify as dust capybara).

So for the past week we've been waging war against the flies. Fly paper. Fly strips. Fly swatters. Swirling Deltamethrin of death on the suspected gathering places outside the house, allegedly natural agents inside - mainly flyswatters and rolled up newspapers, with the occasional towel thrown in for good measure. I tried to call in reinforcements, but the cowards at Terminix wouldn't take the job (actually, in all seriousness, they were very professional about it and explained why they don't treat for flies - basically, without a traditional nest there's almost no way to chemically get rid of them).

This is way worse than the ant infestation of two (three?) years ago, where an extremely snowy winter followed by a very wet spring meant a very high water table that forced the ants to higher ground - our kitchen. Several (dozen) ant traps and sprays later, we were ant-free. Plus, there's the fact that ants are (more or less) limited to two dimensions. Sure, they can climb, but they're not going to buzz directly into your face when you're brushing your teeth, causing you to scream worse than your daughter. Not that I've done that. Ahem.

I think we're turning a corner though - today I've only killed a couple dozen of the little black bastards, and right now I'm looking around the kitchen, I actually don't see any. We've been cleaning frantically, bleaching out the bathrooms, Lysoling the holy bejeezus out of any area where the kids may have conceivably left food particles - or, in my son's case, a pile of old sweaty socks... Good job, TheBoy... The one bright spot to this ordeal has been that it has forced us to pay much greater attention to cleanliness - you could eat off the floor right now, except that it's littered with scores of fly carcasses (at least the remnants thereof).

We shall go on to the end. We shall swat them on the curtains, we shall swat them in the bathrooms and in the bedrooms and in the hallway, we shall swat with growing confidence and swinging swatters in the air, we shall defend our kitchen island, whatever the cost may be. We shall swat on the windows, we shall swat on the stairs, we shall swat in the fields and in the streets, we shall swat in the hills; we shall never surrender.

I think one of them flew into my brain; does it show?

That is all.


Ross said...

This is NOT your finest hour, Jay.

Lupis42 said...

We had a small assault from some obnoxious ones last year, which is when I determined a couple things:
1) Chasing them with a shopvac hose is more efficient than swatting.
2) Bugzappers make effective hallway nightlights.

John Anderson said...

You have a dead rodent covered with maggots in a wall/crawlspace somewhere in the house.

It's what we had two years ago when we had the same problem.

Ruth said...

Bug zappers are awesome, hadn't considered them for indoor use but will have to remember that.

They make electrified fly swatters too btw.

For indoor treatment: consider (FOOD GRADE, not pool grade) Diatomaceous Earth. Food grade is safe to eat (infact its a common de-wormer), though there are some indictions that it may not be the best thing to breathe, and does a reasonably good job on insects of all kinds. Its not perfect, but it does a fairly good job. And its safe if someone gets it on them.

Tommy said...

I recommend a propane torch with a trigger start. safe for just about anything in small bursts. I figure, bugs may become immune to poisons, they will never become immunie to fire (at least.. I HOPE not...)
:-D said...

Try covering the drains with an upside down glass and see if that slows them down or at least you would be able to determine if you do in fact have drain flies....tell me are they HUGE or regular flies?

If they're HUGE, you may have a dead rodent that's causing them to boil out.

Dave H said...

John Anderson has the right idea. Spoiling food draws flies and allows them to breed. Can you smell decomp anywhere? That's your source. Even garbage cans with lids that don't fit well can allow the flies access. (The inside of my wheelie bin looked like a bad horror movie for a while last summer.) Check your doors and window screens too. It seems like when it's hot outside the flies prefer to stay in the shade, and if they're around a covered porch they may find a path inside.

I wonder if yellow jacket traps would work on houseflies if baited with spoiled meat. Not something you'd want to use indoors.

If the ants come back, use Terro. It's just boric acid in sugar syrup but the ants love it. Whenever you see ants in the house put a drop or two of Terro on a card and lay it where they're walking. In a few hours you'll see them crowded around it. Add a few more drops as needed and in 3 or 4 days they'll all be gone.

Maureen said...

My little piece of heaven in northern NH used to have this problem as fall turned to winter. The house is closed up tight more than it's open and I used to arrive there to find literally piles of them mostly littering the window sills. No idea where they ever came from, but there was a small covered drain pipe under my heating system that a friend doused with some sort of spraycanflydeathpoison. Now I only get a few (less than 50, more than ten) at that time of year. I never thought that there may be a decaying animal somewhere that was bringing them in. Don't really want to think about it now.

Peter said...

Someone has to say it:

Jay, you've joined the SWAT team at last!


jetfxr69 said...

What cartridge for housefly?

CoolChange©© said...

SE Texas has had this problem all spring. We had no winter. I agree there has to be a host but everywhere I go it's the same story.

gordo said...

Electric flyswatters can be very therapeutic.