Life s been difficult over the last couple of weeks as our house has been involved in a fierce and brutal land war. In fact the only reason I can write this post is that my wife is out for the evening and there is therefore a unilateral ceasefire on both fronts. Many of you may read the above comments and think that we are having a late summer marriage argument but you would be wrong. Instead the war in our house is woman against beast. Once again you may think this refers to me. In one sense you are right, I am a beast, but in this particular blog the beast refers to the common house fly.
Our house is the Mecca of flies. It seems that every fly within the Bay of Plenty has made the pilgrimage to our humble abode within the last two weeks. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised that if you monitored your average house fly it would pause around five times throughout the day, face our Pyes Pa residence and pray. We have had them crawling on the ceiling, hiding in the cupboards and even taking refugee in the dishwasher.
When you do the research flies are amazing animals. For those uneducated on flies they are members of the Diptera family, which also includes mosquitoes, crane flies, sand flies, midges and gnats. There are plenty of flies out there, especially in my living room, but there are also many different species of flies – an estimated 30,000 in New Zealand within 104 different families. Interestingly only around 8000 are scientifically named so if you want to name something after yourself there is your answer.
A fly’s adult life is brief but spectacular. In summer, a house fly’s (Musca domestica) life expectancy can be as little as seven days or 46 seconds if they venture into my house when the long range artillery is in use. However, in colder conditions they may live for as long as a month and during that time a female house fly may lay as many as 500 eggs in batches of 75 to 150 at a time.
Despite the impressive facts I am not a fan of flies. They are dirty, disgusting animals. My wife takes things a step further, viewing them as the ‘fly planes of Satan’ and doing what ever she can to terminate their lives at the earliest possible moment. To give you a recent analogy she is like the Israeli Army, while to her the humble fly represents Hamas. As you can imagine there have been some vicious battles within our house over the last few weeks. Hamas will provide the daily raids while Israel will reply with all force and no precision. Unfortunately, my two boys and I are the simple Palestinian peasants caught in the cross fire.
Initially my wife started the summer with a typical Israeli tactic, systematic shelling. Within the fly industry this is known as the ROBO CAN. These cans sit inconspicuously on your wall and at carefully selected intervals emit a powerful burst of toxic spray. This system works effectively when the doors are closed but due to the hot weather we have been experiencing we have often had the doors wide open. This indoor/outdoor flow, so in vogue in modern houses, is completely useless when trying to kill as many flies as possible. They don’t mention that in the GJ Gardiner advert do they.
With this system clearly not working my wife had to up the anti. Out came the big guns in the form of the RAID extra value pack. This is the Big Daddy of fly spray. Measuring a hefty 41cm high it has a reach of 3.37m. More impressive than this though is the toxin it emits. No worldly chemical is too toxic for this baby and flies usually die within 10 seconds of flying through the deadly spray. Unfortunately there is one counter measure which will always beat this technique. Shear numbers. In true Hamas style the flies have banded together in record numbers and the share volume of traffic was too much for my wife and her one woman army.
I have deliberately kept myself and my children out of the constant warfare. Despite this there are times when, like the Palestinian people, we can only sit back, take cover and watch as the two sides do battle. For some reason the heaviest fight always coincides with my dinner time. More precisely, the heaviest fighting starts when the food has been dished and the plates are on the table. A suicide fly, usually working as a diversion, will cruise across our table just as my wife starts her tuna fish pie.
My wife’s peripheral vision is exceptionally trained and within seconds the RAID can will be pulled from my her hip holster. In Bond style she will then unleash a volley of short, sharp blasts. These blasts will be powerful, incredible frequent but unfortunately have Israeli accuracy. Then there will be silence as we wait and see if the attack has been successful. My wife listens for that gentle humming sound which highlights an unsuccessful attempt while us three boys protect our food from the small droplets of misty spray raining gentle down on our food. At times it is like eating in your dinner in acid rain.
Fortunately this Nazi style gas warfare has now passed. Early last week my wife wondered what the strange taste was in her food was one evening. I pointed out it was her spray and then read the list of ingredients on our RAID can since that time I have not seen the can being used.
Instead we now have the Fly Swat. This is a carefully designed piece of plastic you buy for $1:50 at the Warehouse. The object is simple. You chase the fly around the room, wait for him to land and them WHAM!!!!! You smash him to a pulp and squeeze his head out through his backside. Spread his intestines throughout your living room. Nice.
As you could imagine this is far more appealing to the boys and me. What was once a war is now a sport and we each take turned to see how many flies we can get in a 1min time frame. So far the best is yours truly with 7 flies dead and accounted for.
Sadly though I seldom get my hands on the weapon. In fact as a couple of flies circle me and teasingly land on my computer screen I am at a loss. I could get the RAID can and kill both them and myself but that would be pointless. My only other option would be to use the Fly Swat. Unfortunately, my wife has taken that out with her this evening as she wanted some defence against her enemy while at her friends house.