Sunday, February 26, 2017

Two ways to ward off houseflies and midges

Dr Abe V Rotor
Lighted candles drive flies away.
Houseflies - Musca domestica  (photo) are the most popular uninvited guests during a party, especially if it is one held outdoor. Before they build into a swarm, light some candles and place them strategically where they are most attracted. Candle smoke drives away houseflies and blue bottle flies (bangaw), keeping them at bay until the party is over. For aesthetic reason, make the setup attractive by using decorative candles and holders, especially one that can withstand a sudden gust of wind. Otherwise, just plant a large candle or two, at the middle of the serving table. If your guests ask what is this all about, blow the candle out momentarily and they will understand.

Hang a fresh branch of a tree or shrub near lighted bulb or lamp to keep midges (gamu-gamu) away from food and guests. 

Have you ever been pestered by tiny insects that are attracted by light during an outdoor dinner? These insects make a complex population of leafhoppers, mayflies, and other species of midges. Winged termites and ants often join the swarm. They are most prevalent at the onset of the rainy season in May or June and may last until the rice crop is harvested. In the province this is what you can do to control them and save the dinner party.

                                                             Midge or gamu-gamu  

Cut a fresh branch or two, complete with leaves that do not easily fall off. The finer the leaves are, the better - sampaloc, madre de cacao, kamias, - or simply any source that is available, including shrubs and vines (kamote, mungo, corn, etc.) Hang the branch securely at the dim part above or close to the fluorescent bulb or Coleman lamp. Be sure not to obstruct the light. Keep away from the food and guests. Observe how the insects settle on the branch and stop flying around.

Insects are attracted by light, especially when there are only a few in the area. An outdoor dinner is ideal for them, attracting those even in distant fields. On arriving at the scene they become disoriented, for which reason they keep flying and flying around the light. With a foothold nearby for them to roost, the insects would gladly cease from their aimless search. Since the Coleman lamp was invented, more so when Thomas Edison came up with a brilliant idea that led to the manufacture of the incandescent light that soon “lighted the world,” nocturnal insects - from midge to moth – have been disturbed of their natural sense of bearing on celestial lights as they travel in darkness. Rizal romantically attributed the death of a moth - lost in its path and singed into the lamp - a heroic act. ~

Living with Folk Wisdom, UST-AVR 2008

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