Friday, June 27, 2008

Water filled bags to scare off house flies?!

So what’s up with the bags of water that people hang up to get rid of flies? I’ve always wondered this myself, so I decided to do some digging. Theories I found include: flies see their reflection and are frightened off, flies don’t like movement so the bag swaying in the breeze bothers them, the bag reflects people or other objects that are in the area and frighten the flies away or that the refraction of light through the bag of water disorients the fly.

I also found an article from an entomologist in North Carolina that actually ran a test on the fly-water-bag-repellent theory and found that areas with water bags hanging up attracted more flies. He counted fecal smears from the flies and everything! Maybe people can poke some small holes in the bags and let the water cool them off since they don’t seem to work on flies.

House flies typically develop on animal feces, garbage or other decaying organic matter. To keep them out of your house, make sure that you have screens covering your windows without holes or gaps in it and that the weather stripping around your doors and windows has a good seal. You should also make sure that your garbage cans are stored away from the house and have tight fitting lids. It's also a good idea to wash your garbage cans out 1-2 times each month with soapy water. If you have pets, picking up their waste 1-2 times a week from the yard can help cut down on fly breeding sites. If you compost, make sure to turn your compost and keep it going so it doesn't begin to get funky. If you do happen to have flies get inside your house, fly swatters are great tools of the trade.
BB's update......
Well, it's been a somewhat busy week this week. BB's doing great and kicking- A LOT! We went to a meet the doctor's night on Tuesday to try to find a pediatrician and I think we succeeded. It's so weird picking a doctor for someone who isn't even here yet. One of the doctors looked at me and asked hesitantly if I was expecting. I was a bit taken aback since I think I look huge, but then again, I know what I looked like before. Also, I found out today (and I'm a bit miffed about it), according to my obstetrician I am a bit far along in my gaining of weight, so I have to cut back on the ice cream I've been eating. It's just so HOT outside and ice cream is just too yummy! I personally don't think I've been that bad in my eating habits, but my weight is telling a different story. Oh well....back to carrots for snacks...eating healthy ALL THE TIME gets old after awhile.....


Anonymous said...

We now have three water bags hanging above our deck, thanks to the influence of this rumor. I can hear a fly in the living room now. Apparently it fled the bags' awesome might for the comfort of indoors. A malfunction, I guess.

Here's a theory: flies are pestiest in the summer. Some people like me do nothing but complain about them until late in the season. When we finally get around to installing this system, it's coincidentally just before the fly population dwindles. Which makes it look like it worked.

In the spring when the flies reappear, we remember the miracle of the water bags, tell our friends, post an anonymous comment and perpetuate the myth, and on and on forever.

- David, reporting from Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

I just returned from prepping 250 cut-up chickens for a church dinner. We sorted and seasoned the raw chicken outdoors on a long stainless steel covered table. I never saw a single fly except when carrying full buckets back into the cooler prior to frying. Around the cooler, plenty of flies; around the table where 2000 pieces of raw chicken were being prepped, no flies.

After the seasoning was done I was watching the other guys flouring and frying, and I noticed for the first time two plastic water-filled bags hanging at each end of the shelter over the table where we had been working. I asked a guy what they were for and he told me, "They are supposed to keep the flies away."

When I came home, I Googled this to find out more about it. Myth it may be, but in my experience it's pretty dang hard to not see a fly around 2000 pieces of raw meat outdoors on a warm sunny day in central Texas.

I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

I've been looking through all sorts of information about this.

I cannot find a study yet that invalidates that "waterbag" fly defense. The study that said there were "more flies" was actually an *indoor* study.

Given that the general thesis is that sunlight-refraction is involved in confusing and/or deterring the flies, a study done complete indoors cannot invalidate the theory.