Fly swatting – technique & observation

29 12 2007

We are experiencing one of the wettest starts to our rainy season in the last 20 years. Amongst other things, this has given rise to a thriving fly population. The following tips on fly swatting are offered. (The author accepts no responsibility for any damage to person or property resulting from instructions given or implied).

  1. Ambidexterity will significantly increase your kill rate – master it for those difficult-to-get-at flies.
  2. Forehand and backhand swats are equally effective.
  3. Force is NOT everything – it is unnecessary to extrude the fly through the mesh of the fly swat (but damn, is it satisfying!). Flies thus embedded can be removed with a reverse swat against a flat object.
  4. Flies are not nocturnal so don’t bother waiting for nightfall. However there is always some silly sod out after sundown so keep the swat handy.
  5. Getting a fly on-the-fly is difficult but satisfying. Time is better spent waiting for other behaviour.
  6. Pulling wings off flies: a) two wings reduces it to crawling whereupon it is no longer a fly – not very satisfying b) one wing is immensely satisfying (now go and annoy someone you b******d!).
    Swat the fly
  7. Flies are not necessarily attracted by other dead flies, move on. Don’t waste time (see 8 below).
  8. Flies ARE attracted by other live flies and catching them in flagrante delicto (fly nookie) is the ultimate satisfaction.
  9. Flies seldom form “flocks” but look around for casual groups allowing multiple kills (see previous) before descending into a killing frenzy which is highly inefficient.
  10. Wounding flies is an art form (see 2) – they tend to be digital i.e. either alive or dead. I have not seen much fuzzy logic here but stand to be corrected.
  11. A long down stroke is no more effective than a short from-the-elbow extension followed by a flick of the wrist (fore or backhand) and is more energy efficient. It also leave the fly wondering “where the f**k did THAT come from?” if you get it just right (see 10).
  12. All true masters (and mistresses) of “The Art” NEVER resort to fly spray. Not only is this environment unfriendly it is an ADMISSION OF DEFEAT!
  13. Australia has more flies than Zimbabwe – even in winter!

Note: Anyone can become an expert with a bit of patience and practice. It is not necessary to live within flying distance of a piggery (which I do) or a municipal rubbish tip (when the wind is SE). They are everywhere for you to enjoy!



4 responses

30 12 2007

Hi Andy,

I am a serial killer when it comes to flies.
Your killing techniques are great, but never swat the big blue bottle flies while they are sitting on any paper work.
The flies in Southern Africa are without a doubt the fastest in the world.
UN Aid workers from Sudan and Ethiopia were telling me that the flies in that neck of the woods are so slow, that up to five or six can be caught on the lower lip when a starving mouth is closed quickly.
The flies here in Afghanistan, have got to be the slowest on earth. They are easily swatted by hand while in flight.
Flies do not irritate Muslim’s at all. Lashing out with fly rage must be a Western habit.
In 1974, the flies in Zambia were so bad that President Kenneth Kaunda ordered every Zambian to kill ten flies a day. He also danced with Queen Elizabeth II at the 1978 OAU Ball.


7 01 2008

If you don’t have a flyswat always use two hands clapped together just above the offender, it works much better than one which very often forces the fly out sideways with the downward rush of air, it definately worked with the Egyptian Red Sea flies where we holidayed last week. I don’t know that they are any brighter than their southern cousins? Try it.
Is Clive the guy we met at the b&b in Bulawayo Aug 2006?

7 01 2008

PS. I noticed the young Arab boy waiting to give camel rides down the beach always stayed 30 to 40m away from his smelly animal, probably thus avoiding the fly problem! Perthaps the moral of the story is to keep something smelly a short distance away to attract the flies?

15 01 2008

Yes, he’s the very one. Doesn’t seem like he does much for his money in Kandahar except sit on the internet!

You can get some very effective fly traps that work on the “smelliest-thing-around” principle. They use a mix of kapenta waste and water and the flies get in but not out and then decompose and add to the general nausea. Best kept down wind.

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