We live outside of town, surrounded by open space, grasses, and animals. Our garden wall is shared with the neighbors, who happen to be bovine. We have horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, and dogs, and an occasional pig, all of which poop. And the poop attracts the flies. In the months before the rainy season, there is a biblical plague number of flies. They are everywhere. We have screens on the windows, which for this area is eccentric, but necessary to keep out the swarms. But somehow they still get in. So I looked into methods of extermination.
First I tried Raid for Flies. Yep, it’s a real thing. Comes in a purple canister. I sprayed one day after I had left the garage door open and a gazillion flies peppered the ceiling. I sprayed the whole can and then stumbled outside, nearly unconscious. It did kill some of the flies, but I puked and puked and thought I was going to die as well. And when the air cleared, there were dead fly bodies and live fly bodies about. Not a victory there.
So then I asked what the locals do for the flies. The solution is to hang a clear plastic bag full of water at the entrance of the house. The theory being the approaching fly will see its own magnified reflection, think it is some sort of giant insect, scream and veer off. I see some flaws in this plan, the predominant one is that it doesn’t seem to keep the flies out of my house anyway.
When my mother-in-law moved her kitchen from in the house to an outside patio area, the fly problem was exponentially increased due to the lack of walls. So her solution was to buy pink pellet poison, put it on plates and set them around the kitchen, on tables and the floor. The way it works is the flies are attracted to the sweet poison, eat it and drop dead. As a testament to the effectiveness, little dead fly bodies littered the plate. Again, however, there was a flaw in the plan. No less than 3 of the household pets were also attracted to the pink sweet poison and died horrible deaths. I also thought it might be hard for my mother-in-law to win this battle with flies, as the kitchen was outside. For it to work effectively, she would have to exterminate all the flies in La Yacata. This seemed an impossible task and more than I was willing to take on. I only wanted flies to stay outside my house, not kill off the entire species.
So I asked around some more. Fly traps. That yellow sticky spiral tape stuff that you hang from the ceiling. Ok, this wasn’t venomous. I could try this safely. And each role is only 8 pesos. Within an hour, my house was fly free. I admit, it’s not pretty, dead and dying flies and their parts hanging in the kitchen. And if it is accidentally hung too low, a pain to get out of one’s hair. But it works. The simple way is usually the best.
Yet, there were still flies outside. Oodles of them. As I knew I wouldn’t win the battle against all the flies in La Yacata, being outnumbered, but I hoped to reduce the number in my immediate area. I thought about other enemies of flies. So what eats flies? Spiders. Ok. Giant spider webs constructed in the garden were left in peace. Lizards. Again, found easily throughout La Yacata, but not really subject to permanent residence in the backyard.
Birds. Now there’s something. Our chicken flock had been growing steadily, and I noticed that there were fewer flies where the chickens were. I looked around again. The piles of animal poop seem to be gathering places and breeding grounds of flies. So why don’t we let the spare roosters have an area to patrol? The white rooster gets the sheep pen. The black rooster gets the goat area. The two little red roosters get the horse stall and dog area. For good measure, the littlest rooster has free range in the garden. The roosters fatten up quite nicely, and just as importantly, fewer flies.
Then, when we got ducks, yippee. Ducks love to catch flies and are entertaining to watch to boot. They lie in wait, motionless for so long that you think there might be something wrong and then, all of a sudden–blam! A vertical leap and beak snap and one less fly in the yard. And they get their protein this way. You know what they say “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”