The Cottage Smallholder


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Keep fit with flies

fly swatsDanny doesn’t kill things. Ants, wasps, caterpillars and slugs are all given a free range in our cottage and garden.

When his car pulls out of the drive I attack the pests that are destroying our stuff. The ants and wasps initially and then it’s a leisurely stroll down to the kitchen garden with a bottle of beer. To top up the complimentary bar in the slug traps.

There is one creature that D hates and encourages me to destroy. Sociable and busy creatures they move swiftly from manure to the kitchen sides and never, ever wash their hands.

The loathed flies haven’t challenged me much this monsoony summer. But it only takes a long sunny day to tempt them out from under their umbrellas and in through the back door.

By the evening the kitchen is full of flies looking for fun. They are dancing along the top of my laptop and driving me nuts. I grab a swat from the ultimate collection – and sit waiting for my quarry to ramble across the kitchen table. This generally doesn’t work. Just reaching for a swat has flies disembarking from the tablecloth and dropping on the floor in an instant. They rise with me and climb like the Red Devils, with a taunting close buzz in my ear before speeding away amongst the beams.

Pursued flies tease like WW2 pilots on secret missions. Whizzing through the air with such superb grace and agility it’s often hard not to open the back door, swish them into the darkness of the garden and a second chance.

I have done this and within minutes they have crept back silently through the vintage cat flap into the kitchen to settle and perambulate on my keyboard. Here all flies have diplomatic immunity as I don’t want to swat the keys and possibly lose my work.

Hunting them on foot, swat in hand is the best way to send them quickly to fly heaven. In my fly swatting prime I often came home from work and nudged the world record in a matter of seconds. In those days I had a half a dozen swats hanging on a rack, desperate to see some action. Now I’m down to just three swats (the one with the face is purely ceremonial).

My favourite blue swat has vanished. This was a Swat amongst Swats, removing intruders with a waft and a swish. Eventually I came to the conclusion that flies cannot see blue until it’s so near that it will close those compound eyes forever.

If you want the thrill of the chase, chose a red and white swat. I’m not sure whether the corner of mine was chewed by a Min Pin or by me in a moment of absorbed frustration. Those who dispatch a fly with a red and white swat are super sportsmen. Fly swatting – during a long hot summer you can lose pounds.


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7 Comments

  1. Kate(uk)

    My difficulty with fly swats is that I get carried away and swat too hard- mashed fly and smashed swat.
    My niece bought herself and electric mosquito swat when in Thailand- like a tennis raquet and you swoosh around after the mozzies and they get a shock when you hit them.She found it most satisfying but a little worrying on the health and safety front.

  2. Hello Fiona

    Apart from getting rid of cooking smells, they must also give off some kind of odour which repels flies and they soon decamp. I think any ordinary candle will do.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi KJ

    Fly screens sound like a great idea.

    We do have a screen comprising of a lot of strips of plastic that we hang over the back door. I’d forgotten all about it and must look it out.

    Hi Sharon J

    Best of luck wth your swatting!

    Hi Pamela

    A range of swats is best if you are trying to get to Olympic level on the fly swatting front.

    A candle? What does this do?

  4. BTW, I loved the images you created here.

  5. Funny you should have written about this as I came across your last post on this last night. I wondered where your favourite blue swat had gone when I saw the picture. I have a hand shaped swat – or fly whack as my niece christened them many years ago when she was 2 – which is so irritating as my flies seem to know that they are safest in the corners of the windows where the swat won’t reach them. My brother favours the round ones which have a little raised edge so don’t squash so hard as to squeeze the insides out of the flies – he explained this to me, very seriously, a few weeks ago. My mother prefers to chase them for several minutes until they are tired and then she swoops! Have you tried lighting a candle in the kitchen?

  6. Sharon J

    Hmmm… a blue swat! There may well be something in that, you just never know. I don’t have one at the moment so if I come across a cheap blue one, I’ll get it.

  7. Living in Australia I understand the annoyance of flies. Our houses are screened which helps immensely. Still you have to become expert at diving in and out of doors so as not to let them in.

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