HPPR hosts & contributors
Prairie Ramblings Episode
Fri August 16, 2013
If curses and death wishes worked, a fly couldn’t survive, let alone buzz in anyone’s ear or crawl on their flesh, near my house. In the last two weeks, I’ve thought or said, “Die fly,” at least a 10,000 times. Unfortunately, wishing these creepy crawlers into the afterworld has had absolutely no effect. It’s time for an attack plan.
You’d think with cooler temperatures slowing the little buggers down that I’d successfully pop them one by one. However, if you were a fly on my wall or ceiling, you’d laugh until you fell off watching me trying to smack your relatives into tomorrow. Rolled up magazines, letters, empty paper towel tubes, plastic made-in-foreign places swatters, and good old-fashioned palms are weapons of choice as these autumn irritants sneak into my well screened home.
Instead of dead insects lying about, crushed paper goods and cheaply made plastic tools accent each room. Magazines and newspapers are crinkled. Cardboard cylinders, crushed in the middle, flop to the point they’re useless as armament. To top it off, I have bruises where I slapped myself trying to kill these germ-delivery agents. Adding insult to injury, I have to run around spraying disinfectant everywhere flies land to eradicate their microscopic slobbers and poopers. Fly patrol in the fall is an endless, thankless job.
Fortunately, common houseflies don’t live long—about 21 days. Unfortunately, they are champion breeders. Under optimal conditions, a single pair of flies and their progressive generations could spawn nearly 200 quintillion family members in a single reproductive season. Knowing ample food supplies, either feces or garbage, initiate breeding behavior in these miniscule monstrosities inspires me to be an ultra-tidy housekeeper. Don’t wanna feed those bugs and have them . . . you know . . . around our place.
As nasty as disease-carrying flies are, they are also aeronautical wonders. This explains the destroyed, paper products and bruises. To help me on my mission of destruction, I learned that flies can flap their two wings only as long as their feet are free to move. Successful pest catchers also understand these guys leap up and backward upon take-off, which helps me understand why those in the know catch so many more flies than less informed folk.
Today, scientists, probably individuals who grew up successfully trapping and smacking flies, analyze these creatures’ flight technology. According to Michael Dickinson of the University of California, Berkley, ``Flies are the most accomplished fliers on the planet in terms of aerodynamics. They can do things no other animal can, like land on ceilings or inclined surfaces,'' he added. ``And they are especially deft at takeoffs and landings -- their skill far exceeds that of any other insect or bird.''
What these researchers learned in their study was that fly eyes, possessing 4000 lenses, are directly connected to their wing muscles. The minute they perceive stimuli, their body responds. Don’t act surprised when you find out someone created a futuristic robot with fly-like eyes and flight properties to discover the secrets of outer space or spy behind enemy lines.
I don’t feel so bad about missing all my shots knowing that when that nefarious pest sees me putting the whammy on it, its little wing muscles automatically react to save it to reproduce another day. I might not kill every fly I see, but I can starve it to death. Where’s the Clorox?