Rural France needs flywire screens

Cow with fliesAre you ready for a rant? I am. Here’s a money-making idea for someone living in rural France: sell fly-wire screens. There’s an apparent shortage of the things in the Aravis valley and beyond, despite the poo from farm animals such as this cow in La Clusaz ensuring an ample supplies of flies all summer long. I’m prompted to write about this because of the huge influx in flies in the last week with the return of the warm weather. Coming from Australia, I’m used to flies, but I’m also used to fly-wire screens. These screens, made of mesh that’s small enough to prevent flies and other insects from passing through it, allow the air through on hot summer days and nights when flies and mosquitoes are plentiful. During the hot weather, the occasional fly would get in the house, but it was mostly a fly-free environment.

Since moving to France, none of the seven houses I’ve lived in have had any sort of fly wire screens. I’ve looked all around and I don’t see any houses or businesses (and yes, the flies love cheese shops) that make use of this simple approach to keeping flies out. The lady next door comes closest with her door-length fringing. I think it’s actually one of those modern indoor string curtains that has gained popularity in France recently. Perhaps it works, but it still looks like a curtain on the wrong side of the door to me. Fly-wire screens may not be the most attractive adornment either, but they’re guaranteed to be effective against flies.

My fly swatsIn May, my trusty old fly swat of two years was broken. It’s my own fault: I’d left it propped up against a wall instead of hanging it by the hole in its arm. A curly swat is not much use. In my desperation to kill the flies, I bought the first fly swat I found — the blue one pictured here. It’s from the supermarket, and it lasted an entire day before it broke. I continued to use it despite bits of blue plastic breaking off every now and again, making the skill level involved in the killing process just that bit higher each time. The other fly swat was a gift (who says romance is dead?): I love the extra detail of the fly on the swat area. But can you see anything wrong with this swat? You can see from the black plastic mesh that it, like my old trusty one, is not flat. It’s not bent a lot, but the reduction in surface area gives some flies a few moments longer to live and requires a few more swats from me. I could buy some sticky fly paper, but I feel sorry for the flies who stick to it alive and have to await their death. At least the swat is fast.

But I can’t help thinking that if fly-wire screens were more common on houses in the Alps, flies wouldn’t make it indoors in the first place. It was some Aussies who live down the road who found me through this blog and suggested someone could earn some money by introducing the French to fly-wire screens. I suspect the French love the appearance of their beautiful chalets a bit too much to ugly them up with the screens I’m so used to seeing in Australia. But with so many non-French around, i can’t help but wonder if they’re onto something. Can someone sell me some screens please?

About

I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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7 comments on “Rural France needs flywire screens
  1. Nicole says:

    Urban France needs these too. I have been looking for something similar ever since I moved here – not just for the flies, but for the moths, which creep me out unreasonably. Fly screens would keep out all the creepy crawlies while allowing us to keep our windows open at night. Seems obvious to me, but apparently not to anyone who might be able to make them… If you find any, do let us know where!

  2. I had a similar problem living right next to a small park with all kinds of insects flying around and those giant windows that let everything in when I was in Germany. I solved the problem by buying some cheap nets that were for sale in Lidl or somewhere. They have velcro tape that stick to the window frame and then attach the netting to the velcro. Not as good as a proper fly screen but not too difficult and less than 10 Euros to do the whole apartment. Might not be any around in the shops now but maybe next year. 🙂

  3. Jennie says:

    I’m still always amazed at the lack of screens in Europe. It would be completely unheard of to build a house in North America with no screens. They’re just as essential as the glass in the window.

    I’ve also bought the netting/velcro stuff but it’s rather ugly and the wind tears it down sometimes. I want a real wire screen! I’m so sick of bugs in my apartment!

  4. Bex says:

    Brittany needs them too! We had to keep the door closed at all times on holidays, or else have regular swatting sessions several times a day.

  5. April says:

    Not just me then! I’m glad to hear it.

  6. Théophilus says:

    I have never heard them called fly wire screens before.
    I think the French appreciate beauty too much to obstruct their view by peering through wire mesh.
    We in the States are puzzled by Europeans being appalled by telephone and electric wires strung hither and yon. They are so ugly they say. They are right. But always look deeper into things that don’t make sense in France to you. The French are a very clever people. There is a reason for everything everything they do.

  7. Kathy Penney says:

    We live in Deux-Sevre, SW France. My husband made fly screens himself. You can buy the mesh on rolls in the DIY stores here. Make up a wooden frame and tack the mesh on to it then fit it to the window frames. As most French windows open onto the inside of the room, this works perfectly and means we can have our windows open all the time in the summer. The mesh comes in different widths, is not expensive, is barely noticeable and, above all, it works!

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