Summer in the midwest means mosquitoes - swarms of them. Some people wear bug spray, some fog their yards and some just don't go outside. Upon moving west to the desert, I waved goodbye to the national bird of the midwest and haven't looked back. I've even been kind of smug about it, sitting outside in the evenings smirking at the lack of mosquito company. Well, it appears that karma has caught up to me and she's thrown down the gauntlet.
I don't battle mosquitoes here. No, instead I battle flies. Ordinary houseflies that have been bred to be bold, pesky and prolific.They say that the perfect storm of location (across from agricultural fields, a few miles from the Polo grounds, on a golf course) coupled with an overly humid summer has created a mass swarm of flies that seem to like my yard. I know I'm not alone because neighbors and friends have commented about them, too, but it seems like I have the yard all the flies flock to just like the one house in the neighborhood where all the kids played.
As I said, these flies are bold, they aren't put off by swatting. So, I have launched an all out assault and I'm here to tell you what has worked. . .and what hasn't.
My first line of defense was bug spray. Not wanting to douse myself with untold quantities of DEET every day, I did some research and came up with a formula that isn't as dangerous. It involves a magic mix of Avon's Skin So Soft Bathe Oil (bought off Amazon) with vinegar, water and eucalyptus and Lavender essential oils (also Amazon). And it works, too . . .except that I have to bath in the stuff and it is oil. . .which is oily and, well, at least it smells good.
I looked into the old bag of pennies in water. The reflection of pennies in water throw off the fly's directional compass. Fail.
I tried planting mint around the backyard. Fail (anyone need some mint?? I have plenty now.)
I tucked dryer sheets in the cushions of the outdoor furniture and laid them out on tables around the yard. Meh.
I tried Citronella candles. Mild success but I think that's because I killed one fly and left it next to the burning candle to serve as an example to the others.
I tried an electric fly swatter. (Don't ask but it does involve a very satisfying zap and sizzle if you hit a fly). Amazon Prime!
We tried fly traps (Amazon again). Bags filled with something that smells like rotting fish guts that ended up attracting every fly in the county to my yard. Fail.
We found a highly touted Maxforce Fly Spot Bait. . .a mixture you spray where flies congregate, attracts them and kills them in 60 seconds. Amazon reviews were impressive. I watched as flies started milling around the areas we sprayed acting all nonchalant, then dying, sometimes mid-air and falling to the ground. It was great. . . for about 2 hours and then it was like we never sprayed.
The flies love us and so does Amazon.
Finally, We heard that flies don't like fans because they disturb the flight pattern. So, we bought one. And this is what I've finally figured out: If I spray myself with my magic mix, wear a sequined outfit or swim suit and tuck a little dryer sheet in my top, sit with the fan facing me while holding a can of Black Flag for good measure, I can go about 10 minutes before the flies figure it out.
Truth be told, I don't believe these flies are really flies. I think they are drones and if that is the case, the next time they start flying around me they'd better be carrying my next Amazon order.