I felt it the other day while grilling hamburgers on the back deck – the sure, painful sign summer is on the way. A yellow fly bite.
I vowed right then and there that this summer would be different. I wasn’t going to let their annual onslaught of terrorism dictate my quality of life.
For those of you not in South Georgia, let me introduce you to the “yellow fly,” as we call them. They are yellow-bodied biting flies that viciously attack South Georgians for three-to-six weeks in late May-early June every year. Last year, they were so omnipresent and merciless that my family would have to run screaming from our house to our cars, keys in hand, draped in blankets, in a futile attempt to escape these bloodthirsty flies’ hellish fury.
Not so this summer, I vowed.
The first bite sent me straight to the local feed and seed store, where I asked for the strongest insecticide known to man or beast.
I was handed a large plastic jug with a skull and crossbones on it.
“You’re only supposed to use a little bit,” I was told.
“How much?” I asked.
“It tells you on the directions.”
So I went home and scanned the directions. The directions said something about only a licensed professional could use this product, that you must receive a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Board of Health before using, that you must wear protective goggles and a HAZMAT suit, yada, yada, yada.
I lost interest when I saw the metric conversion chart. It if ain’t measured in pounds, me no comprehendo.
So I poured about a pound into my sprayer, mixed it with a pound of water, and ventured into the backyard wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops. The yellow flies promptly starting chomping on the fresh meat, so I sprayed myself down to keep them away. I sprayed our entire yard twice – refilling the sprayer three times.
“That should do it,” I said to myself as I watched a passing bird crash to his death.
The next day, I grabbed up some chicken breasts and headed to the backyard grill. It took about four minutes outside before I started dancing around, the yellow flies savagely stinging the backside of my legs, leaving red welts.
“What the hey? I thought I got rid of those evil flying maggots,” I bellowed in frustration.
Apparently not so.
See, yellow flies, also called deer flies or horse flies, can’t be tamed by insecticides. Why? My theory is insecticides don’t work because yellow flies aren’t insects. Rather, they’re blood-sucking mammals.
As usual, science doesn’t support my theorem.
According to my subsequent research, science claims they are of the family Tabanidae (Latin for “Flying Beelzebub”). Experts say common pest-control methods don’t work on these yellow demons. They recommend a trap using a shiny ball and doctoring the ball with something sticky, which catches the yellow flies. This method was first perfected by The Professor on the “The Harlem Globetrotters Visit” episode of “Gilligan’s Island.”
Science can clone sheep and figure out how to get a computer in a watch, but can’t rid the earth of pesky yellow flies? Oh well.
Mother Nature’s most barbaric terrorists win this week. But next week, my yard will be riddled with sticky, shiny rubber balls.
So much for Yard of the Month.