Gardening: Shoo Fly, Stop Biting Me

January 15th, 2013 6 Comments
horse fly, Diptera family Tabanidae, Tabanus s...

horse fly, Diptera family Tabanidae, Tabanus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it’s that time of year again, at least here in Australia.  That time when the March Flies (Horse Flies) decide that their already irritating nature could use with an added bonus, biting.


I have always been one that tries not to disrupt the other creatures sharing this planet with me.  Despite the fact that many will do what they feel necessary to keep pests (of any kind) at bay, I would rather let them be.  After all, everything has a purpose, even if we don’t realize what it is.  Best to just let it take it’s course, in my thoughts.


At least I do this as often as I can, with most things.  I say again, with most things.  These pesky flies have pushed me to the limit though and now it’s war!  Grant it this piece is under gardening, though the pest is actually bothering the gardener rather than the garden.  If you spend time making sure you little patch of Eden stays pest free, then why not you too?


This all started yesterday when I was doing some weeding in my father’s three garden plots.  I could hear the little buggers buzzing around, but did my best to ignore them.  It didn’t take long for the temptation of my skin to become overwhelming for them.  I managed to keep most of them at bay, but when you have five or more sitting poised on your flesh, it gets a bit more complicated.


I even went so far as to get a fly swatter from out of the house.  I’d swig like some crazed baseball batter on a rabies kick.  When they got the chance to land, between aims at their life in flight, I would promptly smack them from my body.  The problem here is they are far faster than I am.  My wayward fly swatter parries, and self-sacrificing hits to the skin met with failure almost every time.  For my efforts I received tired arms, red welts, and a gang of well organized March Flies laughing at me from a nearby stone.  I could just hear them taking bets as to who could reach and bite my butt first, the one place they hadn’t gotten to so far.


Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure Vanilla Extract (Photo credit: artizone)

This is when my mum, genius that she is, came outside to save the day, as mothers often do.  Her weapon of choice?  Vanilla.  I know what you’re thinking.  It’s the same thought that crossed my mind as well.  That old tried and true saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”.  So admittedly I wondered about this remedy.  Wouldn’t this attract more of them?


Now my mother is a very smart woman, clever, and streetwise.  So I wouldn’t put it past here to come up with a scheme for an enemy that they wouldn’t expect.  Vanilla for flies however was a blindside I didn’t even see coming.  But I’m her daughter, and only child, so I trusted her advice as she poured the vanilla on my exposed skin.


Guess what?  It worked!  Not one fly touched me after that.  Admittedly I was the laughing now and it felt good.  So if you are having issues with March Flies taking nips as you try to work here are two very important tips that work…


1.  Pour a generous amount of vanilla on your exposed skin and rub it in.  Added bonus, you smell nice too.


2.  Don’t kill the flies.  Why?  Well, when they die the little devils give off an odor that attracts their friends to their body.  So if you smack them while they are on you it only makes a big and bright bulls eye for the rest of them to follow.  If you kill them when they are not on you, take the deceased and toss them away from you.


Now go out there with your new secret weapon and hold your head high!





About the author

I’m a Goth/Hippie who loves to try new things and dabbles in anything and everything that I find enjoyment in. That can include but is not limited to, cooking, art, digital design, jewellery making, photography, gardening, nature, animals and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’m an optimistic (occasionally) perfectionist (constantly), who can be very sarcastic (incessantly), but all in good humour. :)

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Wonder if this will work with bumble bees. I have a couple that believe they pay the taxes on my rear yard.


    Mmm, not sure. You’ll have to try it and let me know. Funny how the only place on my the flies didn’t get was my backyard. 😉


With the vanilla, the flies might not want to bite on you, but all the passing boys will!


    Oh trust me, I had to keep my BF at arms length until we got home. 😉


      You would certainly have had to restrain me! I love vanilla. Back in the days of frequent incense burning, vanilla was one of my primaries!


        LOL! I do recall getting a few wayward looks in the store later that day from men I passed. Guess it was a good thing I was in a public place. 😉

        My fave incense are usually vanilla, lilac, ylang ylang, and jasmine, along with several others. But those were the most common anyway.