‘God it’s hot. I’ll just open a windo… Where did all these flies come from?!’ Life in London: so many issues. Our inquisitive editor-at-large addresses the ones that nobody dares (or cares) to. This week: dealing with insects in your flat.
Summer in London is great. The South Bank beach, street-food fests, sipping alfresco Magners until your raspberry face dazzles oncoming pedestrians: all brilliant.
Granted, it’s not the glammest summer in the world. We’re not one of those flash-bastard cities whose summers are framed by azure waters lapping platinum-blond shores. Not for us the breaking out of board shorts and declaring it ‘Time to paaaarty haaaaardy!’ But you know what we do have? Flies in our living rooms.
Loads of them. Well, if your flat’s anything like mine, that is. Right now there are so many insects loitering under my lampshade that if I could employ some ‘Bill & Ted’ chicanery to get a mid-magnum-opus William Golding over for tea, he’d take one look at my lounge and declare: ‘Dude! I’ve got the perfect title for your autobiography.’
Where do they come from? Why are they here? What are they doing? Can we charge them rent? According to my in-depth research (looking at the Rentokil website) they’re lesser house flies. They mainly enjoy chillaxing by outdoor rubbish mountains; until summer, when they invade your house on the hunt for nosh. Either that or they’re cluster flies which, according to the Dial-a-Pest website, are found ‘predominantly in rural areas’ where they live in fields, sleeping under loose bark or in hollow trees. But in cities, they’re all befuddled by our warm flats and are irresistibly drawn to temperatures that would make any right-thinking fly declare: ‘Sweet mama, that’s toasty!’
But that ain’t gonna help you cope with a flat that looks like it’s infested by currants with wings. So me, I prefer to think of them as ‘rave flies’. That way, our flats aren’t pestilential hovels. They’re nightclubs playing host to a three-month-long, lampshade-based aerial disco. Round and round the little buggers go. Over and under. Half the time they’re launching into a mad figureof- eight dash after each other. Which is probably a fly chat-up technique. (‘Hey, girl, you a soopa fly. Wait! Come back!’) The rest of the time they’re juddering in a wobbly holding pattern that suggests they’re vibing out to some seriously bassy beats. They’re not called house flies for nothing, you know.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. After all, their natural habitat’s the countryside. These are hick flies hepped up on the big city. Think of them as out-oftowners on their first trip to London. What do they want to do? Party nonstop, of course. Which is why our little airborne friends are spending three months in a relentless winged rave. They’re like rural teens who’ve just discovered nightclubs. Except that in their case, they’ve suddenly found out there’s more to life than hanging around piles of excrement and rubbish. So, actually, I guess they’re exactly like rural teens (JOKE).
This means one thing: in London, even our insects know how to party. Worth celebrating the little dudes, no? So here’s what you do: stop trying to bonk them with a rolled-up newspaper; chuck away any flypaper you own; invest instead in a massive can of fly-killer and spray the suckers until they drop woozily from the sky.
Granted, you’ll kill them all. But boy will each one be out of its box beforehand. Death by being high – isn’t that exactly how these little ravers would want to go?
For another of Alexi’s comical ponderings have a read of what do we have to do to find love in this city?