Family Chat

Tomorrow I have to be up relatively early. I’m being contacted about the water leaks from the recent storms, I have to work a little earlier and I have a job application to finalise. It’s an actual proper job this time with some real science in it. Dangerous bacteria too. I might or might not get it but it’s the closest match to me I’ve seen in a long time.

The application has to be in before the 22nd. I intend to be a lot quicker than that but I have time to make it as close to perfect as I can. Work in Local Shop is becoming tiresome, the level of stupid there is off the scale now. It has ceased to be as much fun. Tonight we had new batteries fitted to the floor cleaning machine so we won’t have to charge it up every day. The engineer arrived late in the evening and put the batteries on for a 6 hour initial charge – 30 minutes before I was due to use it. So I couldn’t use it.

I also couldn’t leave it to charge overnight because the shop is unoccupied so it would be a fire risk. I left Boss a note asking her to start the charge in the morning. It was a long note, there has been a serious outbreak of stupid in the last few days.

Tonight, I’ll restrict myself to a screenshot (CynaraeStMary tipped me off that it could be done and I eventually found out how) from my phone. Part of a recent text conversation with my son.

The backstory is that as I was hiding the dismembered corpse of the Christmas tree in the attic, I noticed that the wall up there was pretty much covered in flies. This is, apparently, where they all go in the winter. So if anyone ever asks you where flies go in the winter, it’s my attic.

With visions of a plague in Spring, I hurried off to my cupboard of chemicals and took the spray of Chemical Death. After a good long burst I shut the attic hatch.

Oh they died all right. The swines managed to find their way back through the gaps around the hatch and they did the Final Waltz all over the hall floor. I had only just hoovered up the mess left by the tree (I thought artificial ones weren’t supposed to shed? They’re taking realism too far these days) and I had a mess of dead flies to contend with. I hoovered them too but still they come, one by one. They irritate me even when they’re dead.

I’m wondering if I open the hatch now, will there be a mound of dead flies on it? Better have the hoover ready.

It is strange here. I moved in at the end of August and haven’t seen a single spider. Not one. Not even a web. Then the attic was full of flies. I never dust anything. There’s no dust. There is other stuff too, but that might be best left alone for now. It’s like living in something I might have written.

Anyway, off to bed for me, no browsing the news and no more than a soupcon of whisky for this night. I am forced into limited drinking anyway by having to drive to work next day. With the SNP’s crackdown and lower limit, you can fail if you just have a hangover. My previous normal intake would have had me put away for life – but I wasn’t driving at all then.

For tonight, here is part of that conversation for your amusement. I have deleted the name, obviously, but changed nothing else. It’s a normal family conversation.



Update: These are the ghastly miscreants in question. There is another one dying even now.



44 thoughts on “Family Chat

  1. Cluster flies. Parasites of earthworms. No health risk to man. I would have left them dreaming. Now you have a clear-up operation. They would have flown and left no trace. Ask first and shoot later, that’s the ethical way when dealing with animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If that fly-spray is heavier than air, and you sprayed it in a leaky loft, at least it’ll attempt to exterminate any blighters that failed to hide up there.

    To be on the safe side, maybe you should invest in a gas mask, just in case the gas sinks into your sleeping quarters!😜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Richard said, these are adult cluster flies. The larval forms are endoparasites of earthworms. There doesn’t seem to be any ichneumon-like searching behaviour on the part of the flies; they simply lay eggs on the soil surface and let the hatchling maggots go looking for prey. Once they find it, they tunnel into the worm leaving their back end with the two breathing spiracles sticking out; they then stay like that, feeding off the earthworm until they are big enough to pupate.

    The life cycle is a fairly long one; eggs are laid in late summer and first instar larvae over-winter inside earthworms, putting on a growth spurt next spring to mature and pupate outside the host and turn into an adult fly. All of this can take as long as a year, so adult flies also over-winter. They use anywhere warm and dry; hollow trees and man-made building lofts being favourites.

    The adults are not dangerous in any way; they don’t eat decaying matter so don’t carry much of a bacterial load. Killing the adults is generally a bit of a waste of time, as you then have to clear up the bodies of the one’s you’ve killed; chasing down the living ones with a vacuum cleaner would seem a more sensible solution as the bodies are all caught.

    The best solution for this sort of thing I have seen are powder traps. The powder is made of very finely crushed egg shells, and this gives a slightly hydrophobic, charged powder that is of very low density and which doesn’t pack under its own weight. The trap is a small box that is affixed to the lower edge of a window; when a fly blunders into it and touches the powder, it gets a coating of the stuff on its feet which prevents it climbing back out. Further struggling merely coats the entire insect, then slowly buries it in the powder. Essentially the powder acts like dry quicksand for insects; once in the trap there is no way out.

    What these traps do is remove the few cluster flies that have found their way into a house’s living spaces from that area, without poisoning the bulk of the flies in the loft which are not actually doing any harm at all and can safely be left there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And I never kill Wasps. These are really useful.

      They are also a massive pain in the arse, particularly if you are eating al fresco. Here in Greece, they often turn up mob-handed at the dinner table and proceed to try to liberate the food that has been laid out. And they’re bloody persistent, too.

      Fortunately, the Greeks have discovered an antidote for this problem which is simple and effective. They just put a pile of Greek coffee (which is a very fine grind, almost like talcum powder) in an ashtray, and set light to it. It just smoulders, like incense, and gives off a not unpleasant odour. But the wasps hate it! I’ve seen a table besieged turn into a wasp-free zone in minutes using this trick.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Several days before I moved into my new digs

    Flying ant army emerges from nest. “We are invincible! Six legs plus wings! The world is our lobster. What’s this? Carpet? We’re inside? Bugger, the windows are shut”

    Day one in new digs, fill Hoover with desiccated flying ant army.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If it weren’t for your pic and Richard’s timely identification, I’d have started thinking you had a dead body up there…..

    Sure you’re not taking your story writing a bit TOO seriously? Not the ex I hope.


    Liked by 1 person

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