Sunday, June 25, 2006

Infestation Memories

I was talking to my friend Jodi yesterday. First, about Jodi. She and her husband Ken are the only friends I have who have a barn. And it’s chock full of critters. There’s a llama, two donkeys, two pygmy goats, two chickens, and, as of yesterday, an Arabian horse named Della.

Jodi and Della

And, of course, then there are the in house animals, which include a dog and three cats, and, temporarily, another mum cat and her four kittens.

But that’s not what I was going to talk about.

The thing that inspired reminiscence - and an entry, for that matter - was the mention of fish flies. Jodi was having to pick the fish flies off the laundry hanging in the yard before she could fold it all.

Before I go any further, I have to point out that, yes, most other people call these 'mayflies', but to me they always were fish flies, and so they always will be. Whatever they are, they're ugly.


Every June, fish flies invaded Windsor and the towns nearby. Every flat surface under a light was completely covered by the bugs every night. Lazy, worm-bodied bugs that wouldn’t move even if you banged against the wall or floor, opened the window or flapped your hands near them close enough to touch. The only way to get rid of them is to physically remove them. Luckily, their big, ugly triangular wings gave them a convenient handle. You could pluck them off the window by their little wings and fling them off into the air. And you had to do it if you wanted to open any door from the outside. The only time in my life I voluntarily touch insects. (except maybe ladybugs) In the really bad years, they would coat the windows of convenience stores so thickly that you couldn’t see inside. They would blanket the ground so that it looked like a grimy, grey carpet that would flicker disturbingly when the wind blew across the thousands of wings.

Some random memories of fish flies:
  • The ‘bad’ kid in my class collecting all of the fish flies off our classroom portable walls and dropping them into a jar full of Raid.
  • The time I ran down the street in my socks to catch the garbage truck, realising only after I’d run several houses down that the fish flies had come in the night. It was like a nightmare – trying to find some way to get back to the house without again having to endure the walk across what felt like fluid-filled rice crispies.
  • Having to remove at least ten fish flies from the screen door every time I wanted to get into the house.
  • The tunnel leading to the Boblo Island ferry, which had an added element of horror – the sudden ability of the fish flies to surround you on ALL SIDES.
  • The fight to park strategically away from all parking lot lights when working night shifts in order to avoid having the car invaded by the little winged fiends come morning and the pitiful shakes of the head at the ‘newbies’ who thought they’d lucked out with a great spot.
  • The worst job at the fast food restaurant - scraping the fish flies off the windows and walls every morning, and, worse, fighting to keep the drive thru windows clear enough of them so that the servers didn't have to lean across bugs to give people their food.
  • And finally, my shock when visiting Calgary. I woke one morning to find fish flies on my balcony door, and when I moved to remove them, they crawled away! Freaky, non-lazy, motile fish flies! Aiee!
The weird thing about my relationship with fish flies is the fact that I completely forget about them every year until I see them again. They’re magic.

This is the kind of entry that results from a weekend without enough caffeine.


Rachel said...

EW. I am SO glad I've never had to endure a summer of fish flies. ick.

Sabrina said...

Apparently Wisconsin and Canada share a lot - bag milk and mayflies. I know more than I care too about these little critters from my summer in LaCrosse. Every June they have to close the bridge there that goes across the Mississippi from Wisconsin to Minnesota because it is too slick with mayflies to be safe to drive on. You and Chris can totally share your trauma on this topic. And talk about bag milk. ;-)

Also - hopefully someday you will have another set of friends with a farm. We're trying.