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November 7, 2017 > Flies


By Pat Kite

If I kill three flies per day, by year end I have destroyed 1,095 flies. This is a drop in the fly bucket. There are 19,700,000,000 flies in our world. The flies in my garden plop on my legs when I am trying to read a book. I swat briskly. Ouch! Fly zips away. The flies in my home like to buzz past my earÑvery annoying. When I try to swat, they do a little evasive dance, then buzz right by my face. I try to eliminate them all before bedtime. If I donÕt, they zip into my room and buzz around my reading lamp. Since ignoring them doesnÕt work, I have to get up, find my swatter or spray, and dance around the room swatting and spraying. I think fly enjoys this, as a sensible fly would go elsewhere. Eventually it is demised, littering the windowsill someplace.

Did you know there are 240,000 different kinds of flies? There are fruit flies, flower-loving flies, blue bottle flies, green bottle flies, banded flesh flies, hairy-legged flies, orange-spotted Tachinid flies, rabbit bot flies, black flies, yellow soldier flies, three-spot horse flies, gold-back snipe flies, black-tailed bee flies, hover flies, long-legged flies, drone flies, yellow jacket flies, fruit flies, California seaweed flies, etc. Did you ever realize flies were so artistically colored? Me neither.

People remind that flies have purpose. Flies break down waste matter so it goes back into the soil, rather than piling up so you can step in it. Also, a lot of birds, bats, spiders, fish and frogs eat flies. Without flies, they might become extinct.

It isnÕt easy to find a happy fly story. In Native American mythology, flies are generally associated with disease, since they swarm around dead animals and assorted filth. But hereÕs one. Pima Native Americans believed a fly brought the first fire to the world. Turns out Rattlesnake lived contentedly with the people. It is just that, being soft, people kept poking him. Rattlesnake went to Elder Brother for help. Elder Brother picked out one of his hairs, and cut it into pieces. ÒPut these in your mouth, and they become teeth. If anyone bothers you, bite him.Ó Along comes Rabbit, who kept poking Rattlesnake. The snake bit Rabbit several times. Later that evening, Rabbit died. The native people didnÕt know what to do with RabbitÕs body. If they buried it, Coyote would just dig it up and eat it. So, they decided to burn the body. But how? There was no fire. But Blue Fly had a solution. It gathered fire sticks, and rubbed them together to create smoke, then fire. Thus, the world now had fire.

Superstitions? A fly falling into your drink is supposed to be lucky. To keep flies away from your home, hang a herring from the ceiling on Good Friday. Why are flies so persistent? Apparently, they were excommunicated by Saint Bernard and are seeking vengeance.

And in case you havenÕt met this one: the worldÕs largest fly is Gauromydas heroes, a full 2.8 inches long.

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