human behavior

Foreign impressions: Lord of the Bush Flies

Posted in Foreign Impressions, Sydney by humanb on November 7, 2009

Summer is approaching in Sydney, which means one good thing after jacarandas, longer days, and one truly horrible thing, bush flies.

One day you’re enjoying the return of hot weather after a winter of – well frankly, mild weather – and the next day you’re attacked by swarms of tiny flying fiends. I swear tiny flies are the spawn of Satan sent to drive us mad. To incite violence. To make us all look like we have tics and movement disorders. They are irrefutably evil. And they define this great city in summer.

I was at wit’s end yesterday. I was a hair’s breadth away from losing it. They just wouldn’t – stop – coming. They were on the bus, on the train, in the boat – you name it Dr. Seuss. I’m particularly vulnerable to their antics. I was actually nauseous on the bus just watching this bush fly circle a poor woman’s head before landing in her hair. Ugh.

A Google search yielded this information about the Aussie Bush Fly in Sydney:

Why the small bush flies pester you more

The smaller the female bush fly, the more she needs extra protein to produce her eggs.

This is why the smallest flies are so frantic and persistent. They’re desperate, protein-hungry females. They want that protein in your tears, in your nose, in your saliva.

And note this: even if little flies get all the protein they want, they don’t grow bigger. They can’t. They have exterior skeletons and stay the same size all their lives.

So there aren’t different types of bush fly. Just different sizes. Fat ones that don’t bother you too much. And little ones that act like demons.

Bush flies blow in… on hot westerly winds. This means the bush-fly population in Sydney is erratic, because the winds are. Now you see bush flies, now you don’t.

There are very few bush flies until October. The waves of flies grow denser and denser during November and December. The peak comes in January. The numbers then drop slowly until the end of March — and then the bush-fly season is over.

I have in-laws who live in rural South Africa and they can’t stand the flies in Sydney in summer. Well I can’t stand the mosquitoes in South Africa, so there’s that. And Pennsylvania has gnats that fly up your nose.

I hate to be a whinger, but it sucks to look forward to summer all winter and then wish it were still winter after one day of bush flies. I know I need to stop complaining and enjoy each day and its weather for what it is. So I’ll stop talking about them. But one more day of bush flies like yesterday, and I swear I’ll go tribal.

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2 Responses

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  1. mike rankin said, on November 10, 2009 at 12:57 am

    if you must go tribal then you must but of which tribe/ the locals from the island of Pau have a custom where not only do the women go topless but they could be jailed for not going topless. these bush flies seems like a hardy bunch but wouldn’t a spray can of off do the trick?

    • humanb said, on November 10, 2009 at 7:28 am

      Nothing can defeat the Aussie Bush Fly – not even my going topless.


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