The Temperature Is Rising

10 Jul

Do you know what I’ve discovered?    Flies are sex-crazed, and they do it doggy-style while hanging upside down on light chains, the ceiling, TV screens, treadmills, and Tiffany lamps.  I should know because scores of flies invaded my family room July 4th weekend, and their onslaught overpowered my fly swatter maneuvers.  I had no choice but to study their sex habits while I waited for the exterminator three days after my S.O.S call (apparently bug zappers don’t think a fly invasion is an emergency).  I kept telling my husband that between 2012 being the hottest summer on record and our winter being the mildest that Washingtonians could remember in a long time, the insect population was going to kick our collective asses this summer.  As I watched scores of flies (too many to count) take a stay-cation in my family room as they did the wild thing in front of me, all I could think of was this was one more piece of anecdotal evidence of climate change caused by the “global warming hoax.”  But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

Summertime insects Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Used by Permission:  Cartoonist, Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

WW and I were watching a movie in his man cave when we started getting dive-bombed by a train of flies from the ceiling.  It was so systematic that I could swear it looked like an organized game.  As I got up to get a fly swatter to terminate what I thought were a couple of flies that had slipped by me when I opened the sliding glass door, I reached to turn off the Tiffany light that was causing a glare on the TV screen so that I could properly see the two or three skydivers.  As my hand reached up inside the multi-colored glass shade, a swarm of about fifty flies flew up into my face, down my arm, and sent me twirling and flailing my arms and body like a  whirling dervish.  Screw the movie.  Operation Fly Swat became our entertainment as we waited for the exterminator to arrive on Monday.   Although, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the flies were getting into the house. I should have seen the handwriting on the wall the day before when I stepped out on my deck during 95 degree weather after two weeks of non-stop torrential downpours.  There was a brief break in the clouds on July 4th, and the sun was mercilessly bearing down on the house while steam was pulsing up from the ground like a carnival of dry ice.  As I glanced over to the backside of the house, hundreds of flies were hanging out on the white siding as if they had just flown in for a fly convention.  It looked like a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” only with black flies.  Not knowing what to do about them, I left the convention of black-winged creatures undisturbed figuring they were outside where they belonged and another rain storm—imminently on its way—would wash them away.  Big mistake—huge!

Grumpy  Toad meme pandawhale dot om

Monday couldn’t come fast enough.  We couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t concentrate to write because the flies were using my head as a jungle gym and the entrance of my nose and ears as hide-and-seek playgrounds.  As soon as possible my husband, WW, fled into work with a quick:  “Keep me posted on the exterminator’s verdict—byyyyyeee!”  By the time Ernie (the Dan Aykroyd of the two) and Jorge (the undeniable Bill Murray-type) rang my doorbell, my eyes were rolling around in my head as if I were demon possessed, and my right arm (permanently attached to a red fly swatter ) was slicing the air at 90 miles a minute to strike down winged foes that weren’t anywhere near me.  They had become very, very smart in their coexistence with me and had developed a tag-team assault mission from behind and out of eyesight causing me to get a nervous tic in my left eye.


Ghost Busters (Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray) | Image Credit: Everett Collection

ERNIE:   “How’d-yu-do, Ma’am?  My name’s Ernie and this is my side-kick, Jorge.  We’re from the Die You Despicable, Disgusting, Deplorable, Bug-eyed Pest Terminators, and we hear you’ve been invaded by ‘Musca domestica ’—what you civilians call the ‘common housefly.’”

ME:        “Come in, come in . . .You guys are a sight for sore eyes.  I’m completely beside myself.  I’ve  killed hundreds of these damn flies since I called you four days ago.  The basement is littered with their carcasses.  Apparently, quite a few of them up and committed suicide when they couldn’t find anything to eat or drink or maybe they were just bored.   All I know is that I’m about to lose my mind.  No wonder God used a plague of thousands of flies to defeat Pharaoh.  I would have let his people go too after what I experienced with just these few scores of goddamn Musca whatevers.”

ERNIE:   “Well, no offense Ma’am, but you’ll have to let me and Jorge determine just what type of fly we’re dealing with.  You’re a civilian and can’t possibly know what you’re up against.  There are five different categories of Earthly flies:  you’ve got your filth flies, small flies, overwintering flies, biting flies and gnats and midges.  The Musca domestica only accounts for 91% of all the flies in the world, but according to Wikipedia, they’re responsible for 100 pathogens because they walk, vomit, and feed on human shit (pardon my French, Ma’am) and the food we eat.   Those little devils will kill you off in a heartbeat with the salmonellosis, the bacillary dysentery, the tuberculosis, and the cholera—just to name a few.”

JORGE: “Don’t forget the parasitic worms, Ernie.  The common housefly can fuck you up with them parasitic worms—oh, yes they can.”

ERNIE:   “Right you are, Jorge, my man.  Right you are.   Now Ma’am, as you can see, Jorge and I have our guns ready and cocked with our patented spray that will rid your home of these nasty invaders, ‘tout suite,’ but we need to know what we’re dealing with here.  Know your enemy is what I always say, ain’t that right, Jorge?”

JORGE: “You bet your ass, Ernie!”

ERNIE:    “Now, as I was ruminating on, your fly families fall into five categories, Ma’am.  If you don’t mind me asking, what color and size are your intruders?”

JORGE:   “Well, Ernie, just look down on the floor where she’s just killed a legion of the suckers while we’ve been standing here—they are most definitely the Musca domestica of which we know covers the filth fly.  No offense Ma’am—we’re not accusing you of being a terrible housekeeper or anything—it could be caused by you or your neighbor’s garbage cans being too close to the house.  Not to mention the fact that global warming affects everything and has probably affected last year’s heat wave, this year’s heavy downpours, and the rise in the population of Musca domestica in this area.  I mean the sea levels are rising and everything—it ain’t just about polar bears on shrinking ice caps anymore—no siree!”

Global Warming Effects Everything Paresh Nath  The Khaleej Times  UAE

Used by permission: Global Warming Effects Everything—Cartoonist Paresh Nath|The Khaleej Times/UAE

ME:   “Gentlemen, I’d love to stand here and chat with you, but can we get on with “Operation Death to Musca domestica” before I run screaming out into the street?  My nerves are shot, and I still can’t figure out how these demons got into my house!” (SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Good one, or should I say good three, Ma’am!  Love the swat you just landed upside my head.  You’re fearless!  Now it doesn’t take much of an opening for house flies to squeeze themselves into a home.  You’d be amazed.  Anyway, I think we spotted the culprit of your fly invasion on the way in.  Looks like a bunny rabbit died underneath the canopy tree right next to the wall where you first saw the fly convention.  I thought I caught a whiff of decaying  Mammalia Lagomorpha, didn’t you Jorge?”

JORGE:  “That I did, Ernie—that I did.  Ol’ Mr. Bunny Rabbit must have gotten sick in all the torrential downpour over the last two weeks and crawled up under the tree that is shaped like a canopy to die.  Just a matter of time before the maggots would have arrived on the scene to start their harvest.”

ME:  “Gentlemen, please!!” (SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Excellent aim, Ma’am.  Damn, you’ve got the natural swat-arm of a killer.  We’ll just give a good ol’ once around with our super-duper spray and you will be fly-free before I can say ‘ipso facto.’  Ha!  Just be glad we don’t live in Africa.  The flies rule there, and I hear they’re getting even worse (along with the mosquitos, the fleas, and the tsetse fly which causes three million deaths a year).  Doggonit, Jorge, we forgot to tell her about the Tsetse fly!”

Trachoma baby endtheneglect dot org

African child susceptible to trachoma from flies | photo credit

I am discovering that there are many places in the world where flies are inescapable.  The same flies I banished from my house with one quick spray of the foundation of my home and surrounding grounds are the same pests that cause trachoma—the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world.   But I am beginning to think that if the reports are true that 65% of white evangelical Americans (the main base of the Republican Party) think global warming and climate change alarms are a big hoax, then they need to give up the ghost about being pro-life, because there won’t be a planet worth living on for all the babies they are trying to “save” if we don’t act now.

Think about itWhat if all the hoopla about global warming is a hoax?  Then what is the worse that could happen:  we’d clean up the air, the rivers, and the oceans, develop alternative energies, and discard less human waste if we ate less meat—thus reducing the population of Musca domestica and the proliferation of diseases.  Then again, to Hell with global warming—this isn’t what Jesus meant when he said to “love your neighbor as yourself”—right?  Those fly-covered kids aren’t my kids—they don’t live in “God Bless America”—and the last thing I want is more government interference and taxation regarding what is my shit and mine alone.  C’est la vie!

Climate change Pat Bagley  Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission:  Climate change Pat Bagley| Salt Lake Tribune

“I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.”—Jerry Falwell,  American evangelical Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative political commentator (died 2007)

“The point is that there is tremendous hypocrisy among the Christian right. And I think that Christian voters should start looking at global warming and extreme poverty as a religious issue that speaks to the culture of life.”—Al Franken,  junior United States Senator from Minnesota, serving since 2009

“If we take all this action and if it turns out not be true, we have reduced pollution and have better ways to live, the downside is very small. The other way around, and we don’t act, and it turns out to be true, then we have betrayed future generations and we don’t have the right to do that.”― Tony Blair, British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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14 responses to “The Temperature Is Rising

  1. Joanne

    July 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    You did it! I couldn’t imagine how you’d develop a blog essay out of flies, but you did it! And you did it well — I laughed my ass off in between being thoroughly disgusted.

    Love the point that that the worse thing that could happen if we act on the premise that global warming is for real and later find out it isn’t, is that our world would be a cleaner place. Still don’t get those in denial who insist it’s a falsehood — how many decades and centuries since the Industrial Revolution began and we began pouring industrial waste into our water, earth, and air?…

    • etomczyk

      July 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks Joanne. I had fun writing this post as you know. But it is good to have peace of mind again. Ciao!

  2. Valentine Logar

    July 11, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I hate flies nearly as much as I hate roaches and GOP politicians, who I think might all be related. I buy fly tape! It doesn’t however catch GOP politicians, but flies? Oh yeah it gets them.

    • Elyse

      July 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Oohhh, I HATE that stuff. It always catches my hair. Ewwwwwwwww.

    • etomczyk

      July 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Val, but doesn’t that fly tape get caught in your hair and stick to your fingers? Yuck! 🙂

      • Valentine Logar

        July 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        No, it doesn’t I just hang it in windows and don’t pull the tape out till it is hung. It is worth the slight mess. Believe me.

  3. becomingcliche

    July 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I never understood the refusal to act on global warming, either. What’s the worst that can happen? We’ve cleaned things up.

  4. Sondra Smith

    July 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    well done! hysterical! I can see you with the fly swatter. Did you sleep with it? ha ha

  5. composerinthegarden

    July 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Great post, as usual, Eleanor! Flies, ugh. When we were in the western Australia outback years ago, flies would just land on you in the hundreds. We saw a T-shirt for sale with flies printed all over it and the slogan – “Australia is a great place to live – 10 million flies can’t be wrong!” We started speaking with our teeth clenched so that we wouldn’t inhale any 😦 Hope you have your infestation cleaned up!

    As for climate change, I have been observing increasingly earlier bloom dates on my flowers for the past 20 years, going far beyond the variances in weather. I know that it is supposed to be valid only over 50 years, but when it only changes one way, earlier and earlier, it certainly seems to be a long term trend. When the USDA changes the climate map for gardeners twice in 10 years, something is definitely up.

    • etomczyk

      July 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Lynn: I can’t imagine living in western Australia with all those flies–shoot me now. That is fascinating about the changes you see in your garden. I just finished watching the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl. If I had lived there during that time, I would have believed the world was ending. The thing is if they had headed the warnings of the Native Americans of that area, who warned them that the soil and the plants were not what they should be and the soil needed a rest and other changes, the whole torturous, deadly scenario could have been avoided. Of course, it all came down to greed. So sad.

  6. Frank

    July 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

    In true E-Tom style, using humor to make a point. So true, we can rid pests with a single spray, but no so for those in need that don’t have our conveniences.

  7. Elyse

    July 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Great post, Eleanor. I have always wondered about your last point. There is no harm done if we clean up and global climate change (I want to smack whoever dubbed it global warming). It’s like cleaning up the house for company and they cancel. No harm done!

  8. talesfromthemotherland

    July 17, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Ick. This reminds me of my fruit fly post… YOU would love the video I included, about lovemaking and fruit flies. I’ve always Oh the image of that African child covered in flies, the babies who lie listless in their hopeless mothers’ arms, as the flies swarm… heart breaking. We really do take these kinds of things for granted… so easily solved in our homes (or relatively… I do feel your pain).

  9. Lindy Lee

    July 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Some scientists assure us that flies are a necessary part of the scheme of things. However, like mosquitos, fleas & parasites, I’m sincerely trying to determine their actual important necessity in the scheme of things…


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