Shoo, fly, don’t bother me
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