Monthly Archives: April 2015




Flies piss me off.

Sure, vicious green-heads and biting flies certainly top the list, as do the demon spawn black flies of the north woods. A cloud of gnats circling my head is most unwelcome. I would be hard pressed to put one above the other on my shitake list, sharing space, as they do, with the detested mosquito.

But so do house flies and mostly when they are in my house.

I have noted through careful (and sometimes altered) observation that outdoor aerial insect activity commences at about 40 degrees F (4.4 degrees Celcius/277.6 degrees Kelvin). Below that temperature their internal insect juices are too cold and viscous for flight, sort of like cheap hydraulic fluid or that grease the corner bodega cooks their french fries in.

At about that temperature, and usually in a beam of sunshine, the cold weather fliers come out. The cold weather flies are not nuisance flies. They are some kind of flight enabled insect or bug that doesn’t fly around my head endlessly. They seem to mostly be concerned only with their flight, which in the insect world is mostly about having sex. I would think eating might be high on their list, but there isn’t a whole lot around to eat at 40 degrees, so sex it is.

Motherfarking houseflies, however, re-animate at a higher temperature. Somewhere around 70 degrees or so (21.1C/294.3 K). I have noticed that it is a few degrees higher than their nuisence-mates, the detested stinkbug. Stinkbugs become active around 68 degrees, plus or minus.



How could I possibly know such details about this shitake, you ask? Because my home was infested with stinkbugs at one time, then another. I normally keep the heat down to a miserly 62 (16.6 C/289.8 K) when the family is gone and bring it up to 68 at night. At this temperature very few, if any, stinkbugs make an appearance.

Oh, but put on a pot of water for pasta or fire up a couple of burners for side dishes and kitchen temperatures climb to a balmy 70 or so. Before you can say ‘grab a can of Raid’ there is one, then another, banging into the lights, bouncing off of the ceiling and disrupting the cadence of meal preparation. Who the fark knows where they come from, but they must squeeze out of the woodwork or something.

Flies, on the other hand, need a few more degrees and need it to hold at that temperature for a while. That is why they seem to come out during a warm spell, or at the end of winter.

At first only a few hearty souls come around. Plump, and/or hairy and capable of hunkering down somewhere in the house for the duration of the cold weather. Large enough to escape cobwebs or fend off the soft, easy-living household arachnid.

Some are small, nimble and require little in the way of sustenance to carry through the off season. Others obviously are living off accumulated fat and looking more or less like a small bumblebee.

Fortunately, the early emergent flies are a little slower than their mid- or late season brethren and thus are somewhat more susceptible to strikes, swats and flicks with fingers. And good thing, too. But they are an welcomed reminder of what is to come. Just the fact that I have to endure the curious buzzing of a early emergent housefly during meal preparation, or libation blending pisses me off.

The other day I cracked a small fly with a tea towel. The cat gave me a curious look, so I cracked the towel at him (just to keep him sharp) and flicked the expired fly carcass into his food dish as a warning against any future non-verbal comments.

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