Coun­try Mouse

Shoo, fly, don’t bother me

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE house­fly must be one of the most hated crea­tures in the world, but they are as noth­ing com­pared with the dreaded clus­ter fly, as we re­cently dis­cov­ered.

Now that our au­tumns and win­ters are so mild, it seems these pesky, golden-tinged flies are more preva­lent than ever. They’re at­tracted to light, of­ten around win­dows in sun-warmed, south-fac­ing walls, in huge num­bers, re­treat­ing to roof spa­ces at night.

I’ve never had the dis­plea­sure of en­coun­ter­ing them be­fore. How­ever, as my hus­band, Si­mon, and I spent most of one Satur­day morn­ing hoover­ing slug­gish hordes of them off the ceil­ing in one of our sun­ni­est bed­rooms, I’ve be­come hor­ri­bly fa­mil­iar with their un­usual life­cy­cle.

His­tor­i­cally, they hi­ber­nated in hol­low trees or dry shel­tered ar­eas, but, over time, weath­er­proof and warm coun­try homes (they’re rarely a prob­lem in towns), such as our 19th-cen­tury farm­house, have be­come in­creas­ingly invit­ing. Adult flies leave home in late sum­mer, when fe­males lay their eggs in soil. There, par­a­sitic clus­ter-fly lar­vae de­velop within earth­worms and pu­pate un­der­ground, emerg­ing as adults in late sum­mer and early au­tumn, when they search for warm hide­aways. Any clus­ter flies look­ing to move to Mil­borne Wick should be wary—i’m ready and wait­ing. PL

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