Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bugs in my life part 1: Flies

I thought I'd write a bit about what I do when I'm not doing the things I should be doing (studying, reading, writing etc.), because as much as I'd like it to be untrue, I'm an incurable slacker.

Living as close to nature as I do (out in the woods, practically) and in a quite old house, means that in summertime you're surrounded with small creatures. My most-hunted prey through the years is most definitely the ordinary fly. It was a couple of years ago that I really started going after these little bastards with a vengeance, attacking them as soon as I saw one or heard the familiar buzz. I use quite a crappy fly-swatter, it's an old plastic one that bends quite a bit during the swing. Mostly you'd want to have a stiff "neck" on the swatter (the area between the handle and the impact area/kill zone), as a soft neck when it bends in the swing takes longer time to impact then a hard-necked one. We also have another kind of swatter with integrated handle and neck, consisting of two metal wires that meet in the handle. Pretty good, but I find that the neck can sometimes become bent in the swing due to the inflexibility of the material, and you then have to bend it back yourself to regain some sort of balance (though it still won't be the same since it will often leave small bumps in the metal).

The plastic is a bit too flexible, but I've found that if I swing and draw back at the last second, I can create a sort of whip-like effect, adding a snappier impact. This also gives the advantage of the non-smearing kill, though that can be a bit difficult to pull off: Typically when you smack a fly on the wall straight on, it will be completely flattened and all of its intestines will smear out on the wall, but with the whip-hit, drawing back at the last second, you will only smack the fly and kill it, not plaster it to your wallpaper.

I've seen and tried electrical fly-swatters, but to be honest I haven't fallen for them. They seem more like an elaborate device for torturing bugs you've already caught. Too fragile to get really violent with, so it's not like you can slam a fly sitting on the wall with it, and if you're going to hit something out of the air with one, you'd probably have an equally good chance to get something killed with a regular swatter.

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