You might remember my rant a few years ago about the lack of fly wire screens in rural France despite the high number of flies due to the cows. This year, the late spring has kept fly numbers down. This would be fantastic if it were warm enough to leave the windows open and sit outside. On the rare sunny day this spring, the flies have come out in force, and when summer finally arrives in St Jean de Sixt, the flies will be owning those mounds of cow poo in the fields.
Pictured are just a few of the fly eradication instruments I’ve tried using over the years. Let me give you the low-down on these. The giant fly swat was a gift all the way from Australia. It’s powerful, and I used it for a good few months before the fragility of the plastic gave way to the force behind the swats: the broken plastic makes the swat less effective. The size of the swat also meant that it was slow in comparison to its smaller counterpart, although I did once manage to kill two flies on the same hit with the big fly swat. The most frustrating part is that those holes are just a bit too big to make the flies stick to the swat after the initial hit. How to transport them to the bin?
The tennis racquet swat is actually a battery-powered zapping machine. A friend bought it for me: she knows how much I detest flies in my house, and she’s aware of my inability to use fly paper because, let’s face it, a quick death has got to be preferable to being stuck to a surface until you’ve run out of energy to live. This killer zapper has a button at the base of the handle that you press as the fly is about to touch the wires. I zapped, but the flies seemed to keep moving. I tried zapping for longer and I could smell the burning insects. It was horrible! On top of that, this one also has the same problem of transportation from place of death directly to the bin. There’s no easy method. The racquet now hangs alongside the oversized fly swat, unused, but on standby for emergency situations.
Meanwhile, the trusty everyday fly swat trumps both of them. It’s fast, accurate, and seems most effective for the quick death bit. Swat once more and the fly sticks to the swat for easy disposal at the bin. The smiley face on this one seems a bit merciless, and the corner has also fallen off after excessive use, but it still works. So, if you’re in the French Alps this summer, forget all the gadgets and buy the cheapo fly swat. It has the official Wendy-the-fly-assassin stamp of approval. What more do you need?