Flies Flies Flies Yeah, They're Gonna Get Ya!

(I celebrated Labor Day yesterday and didn't get this done. Apologies to any early Muse readers!!!!!)

Okay. The other night I must have killed at least 30 flies while trying to prepare dinner! It was gross. They kept landing on the window, and I kept capturing them with paper towels and crunching them to make sure that they would be no more. Yes, I washed my hands after each murder. Did you know that a fly may carry 4,000,000 bacteria on its body and over 28,000,000 in its stomach? Holy guacamole! No wonder we hate them so. I had no idea where they were coming from either. I just kept eliminating them one by one and hoping that they hadn't completed their life cycle within the confines of my abode. I was concerned, because the other day, I called home from my job ( I get there at 7:15 AM) just to see how things were going, and if baby had gotten her pancakes yet, and was surprised to hear my husband's voice in the background What was he still doing at home, I wondered. My son put him on the phone, and hubby described his lovely morning dealing with the maggots in the trash compactor while six kids were scrambling for breakfast in the kitchen. I thanked God that I was safely seated in my cubicle with my warm cup of coffee, away form the noise and insect larvae!!! That's just more than anyone should have to deal with in the morning.

I remember hubby's first experience with maggots. Seems he had never seen them prior to adulthood. It happened way back, around 1987 P.C. (Pre Children). He worked nights, and I worked days. He would sometimes get home around 5 AM, rustle up some grub, and take any yucky leftovers out to the trash. On this particular morning, when he lifted off the lid to the trash can, he discovered maggots. He was horrified and starting making a huge ruckus in his feeble attempt to annihilate them. He was spraying them with God only knows what and still they wriggled. Then he was trying to smash them while yelling. Finally I got out of bed to see what was going on. He exclaimed that there were maggots in the trash. I suggested that he just let them do their thing and turn into flies rather than attempt to kill them, since that was clearly not working. It was so funny. I still chuckle when I recall that morning. Gosh, it seems like I grew up seeing maggots. They were sometimes in the dog doo that I had to pick up, or growing in the wet cat food that my cat refused to eat. I'd seen them in the trash etc. How had he never had occasion to witness their existence growing up? How lucky! So now he's an old hand at dealing with them.

So I checked the trash compactor just to be sure. Good. No flies or maggots in there. Could all of those flies have gotten in our house from the kids leaving the doors open? There sure seemed to be an inordinate amount for that explanation.... The mystery will never be solved. Fortunately, I have killed most of them. I usually employ the hand clapping method where you place both hands over a fly that has finally "lighted" and clap. The air above the fly, along with the fly, is pulled up into your hands by I don't know which law of physics, and the sheer force of the impact of your hands clapping can kill the fly without smashing its putrid guts. A Canadian friend of my husbands amazed me by swiping his hand through the air, capturing the fly and releasing it outside. Why he spared its life I do not know. But now that I know they contain so much bacteria, I think I'm going to let the swatter do the job, and remember never to casually set that fly swatter down on the counter. Yuck! And to think my doggie likes to eat them. That's one way to get rid of them I guess. Dogs must have fantastic immune systems!

Why the heck do files exist anyway? Well, here's a little tidbit I found to explain it:

Impact on the Ecosystem

Flies and other insects, such as burying beetles, are very important in consuming and eliminating dead bodies of animals. Flies are also essential in the conversion of feces and decaying vegetation to soil. Flies serve as prey to many other animals. Some flies aid in pollination.

Because of their habits of being attracted to feces and decaying meat, flies have been implicated in transmission of disease such as dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera

There you have it. Happy swatting.

Insect Trivia

1. How many different species (kinds) of insects are there? A. 100,000 B. 500,000 C. 1,000,000

2. What is the official state insect for Illinois? A. Ladybug B. Honey Bee C. Firefly D. Monarch butterfly

3. Which is the largest order (type) of insect? A. Coleoptera (beetles) B. Diptera (flies) C. Lepidoptera (butterflies/moths) D. Orthopetera (grasshoppers/crickets)

4. The Goliath beetle is the largest insect living today. How much does it weigh? A. 2 ounces B. 4 ounces C. 8 ounces

5. The fastest insect is the deer bot fly. What is its fastest speed? A. 45 mph B. 90 mph C. 120 mph

6. Fleas would win a gold medal for jumping at the Insect Olympics. How high can they jump? A. 50 times their body length B. 100 times their body length C. 200 times their body length

7. The winner of the “Strong Man” award for insects goes to the Leaf Beetle. How much weight can it pull? A. 10 times its body weight B. 24 times its body weight C. 43 times its body weight

8. Humans have an estimated 762 distinct muscles. How many muscles can be found in some caterpillars? A. 250 B. 800 C. 1600 D. 4000

9. Which insect has been used to treat baldness? A. Honey bees B. Blister beetles C. Lacewings

10. The largest moth is the Owlet moth of tropical America. What is its wingspan? A. 18 inches B. 24 inches C. 30 inches

11. Insects outnumber all other animals by: a. 2 to 1 b. 3 to 1 c. 4 to 1

12. How many different kinds (species) of insects are there? a. Millions b. Thousands c. Hundreds

13. The biggest insect was a fossil dragonfly with a wingspan of over: a. 6 inches. b. 12 inches. c. 24 inches.

14. The fastest running insect is a(n): a. army ant. b. cockroach. c. stag beetle.

15. Grasshopper can jump: a. 10 times their length. b. 40 times their length c. 80 times their length.

16. The most dangerous insect kills a million people a year. What is it? a. mosquito b. housefly c. army ant

17. Tiny midge insects, called “no-see-ums” can beat their wings more than: a. 10 times a second. b. 100 times a second. c. 1,000 times a second.

18. How many lenses are in a dragonfly’s eye? a. 3,000 b. 30,000 c. 300,000

19. Which insect is honored with a statue in Enterprise, Alabama? a. Boll weevil b. Praying mantis c. Grasshopper

20. Monarch butterflies travel at an average of _____ miles per day during migration. a. 20 b. 40 c. 60

21. Malaria kills over ___________ people throughout the world each year. a. 2 million b. 200 million c. 2 billion

22. Of the 26 orders of insects, ______ have appeared on postage stamps. a. 14 b. 20 c. 24

23. Which of the following is NOT considered a true fly? a. House fly b. Bot fly c. Dragonfly d. Horse fly

24. Which of the following is classified as a Lepidoptera? a. Honey bee b. Grasshopper c. Stag beetle d. Monarch butterfly

25.. The largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra of New Guinea, has a wingspan of ____ inches. a. 6 b. 11 c. 20

26. The caterpillar of the polyphemus moth can eat __________ times its weight at birth in a little less than two months. a. 18,000 b. 42,000 c. 86,000

27. It would take approximately ______________ mosquito bites to drain the blood from an adult. a. 100,000 b. 1,200,000 c. 12,000,000

28. House flies beat their wings at a rate of ______ beats per second. a. 330 b. 520 c. 840

29. The smallest beetle in the world is the feather-winged beetle (Nanosella fungi). It measures about _____ of an inch in length. a. one-thousandth b. one-hundredth c. one-tenth

30. Some diving beetles can stay under water for ____ hours. a. 12 b. 24 c. 36

31. Which beetles were regarded highly in Egypt? a. Stag beetle b. Scarab beetle c. Click beetles

32. Which of the following is NOT classified as a Hymenoptera? a. Honey bee b. Paper wasp c. Cornfield ant d. Firefly

33. The honey bee queen may lay more than _______ eggs a day in the summer. a. 500 b. 1,000 c. 2,000

34. Ants are believed to make up _____ of the total weight of all the animals in the world. a. 10% b. 15% c. 20%

35. The oldest known ant was found in amber dated _____ million years ago. a. 65 b. 100 c. 200

36. Honey bee workers do much traveling to gather nectar to make honey. In order to make a pound of honey, they have to travel a distance equal to going around the world ______. a. once b. twice c. three times

37. Some termites bang their _____ against the walls of the nest to signal danger. a. heads b. legs c. abdomen

Answer Key

September 6, 2004
Next Post date October 4, 2004
Happy Labor Day!!!!
Muslim Toilet (Remind me never to visit!)
One step at a time!

The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.

-His Holiness The Dalai Lama, "The Good Heart"


If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama


A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

-  General George S. Patton


Ask God's blessing on your work, but don't ask him to do it for you.

-  Dame Flora Robson


You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

-  Chinese Proverb


Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.

-  Emilie Cady


It is the first duty of friendship to preserve a friend's illusions.

- Schnitzler, "Anatol: Questioning Fate," 1893


Be your own hero, it's cheaper than a movie ticket.

-  Doug Horton


If you want to help pull a friend out of the mire, don't hesitate to get a little dirty.

- Baal Shem


You cannot have everything. I mean, where would you put it?

-  Steven Wright


A human being must either climb up or climb down.

- Talmud: Erubin, 21a


The fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man;
But the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool.

-Dhammapada 63


It's easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is much better at the top.

-  Arnold Bennet


Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?

-Sai Baba


The threshold between right and wrong is pain.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Imagine All the People


He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

-  Proverbs 15:15


Love, and do what you like.

-  Saint Augustine


People count up the faults of those who are keeping them waiting.

-  French Proverb


Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.

-  Mary Kay Ash


The power of choice must involve the possibility of error--that is the essence of choosing.

- H. Samuel, "Belief and Action," 1937


Your children need your presence more than your presents.

-  Jesse Jackson

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