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Spring down Catherine's garden path

Saul slew his thousands, David his ten thousands … and me … I’ve slain my hundreds. Flies, that is.

Today in between weeding sessions in my garden I stalked my prey with a yellow fly swatter, creeping across the deck carefully so I wouldn’t make the boards vibrate. I mashed sluggish flies ranging from the size of a speck to nearly a quarter-inch. Funny thing was, after I’d smashed a few on the deck boards, I’d come back from a weeding session and find three or four flies crowded around the flattened remains of their compatriots.

Wham! Three for one shot. I had no qualms about that. But I whacked them so hard I broke the edge off of my fly swatter more than once.

I left my swatter on the deck table and when I returned it was lousy with flies crawling around the black and red fly bits left on the surface, like cannibals dancing around a boiling soup pot. No kidding! I’ve never seen flies congregate around their dead like that before. They stayed there making my slaughter easy, unlike shooting wasps.

Two years ago I was in a wasp war. Every day after I’d finished my gardening chores I’d stalk wasps around the yard, shooting at least a dozen until they started to get agitated and move toward, not away from, me. Even with a 20-foot stream of insecticide I knew better than to stick around when I became the target. Seeing the deck peppered with hordes of flies brought back those memories. At least these flies aren’t biting … yet … and when they’re not congregating around bits of their smashed friends they take off when I get too near instead of dive bombing me.

After five hours of gardening and swatting I finally came inside. The throng of bugs appears to be gone for the moment. But I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Will my tan deck be black again? Will I have to do more stalking? More creeping toward my prey on tippy toes? If I’m lucky the sun will be behind the clouds. Shadows give the multi-eyed pests too much warning. Maybe I should try fly paper, but in the windy conditions we have it would probably end up a big yellow, sticky ball that leaves adhesive all over the banisters, but catches no flies. Or maybe I need to invest in a gross of 20-foot shot insecticide.

From Microsoft clip art

One thing is for sure, I need to buy a dozen more  fly swatters … or learn to kill them with a kinder, gentler hand.

Nah. I’ll go for more fly swatters.

Have you ever dealt with huge amounts of flies? Any suggestions for getting rid of the pests?