01 Feb2006

Pesty Flies

by Marketman

Growing up I distinctly recall meal times in “stately homes” in the flies1province where one or two helpers would dutifully stand a foot or two behind the diners chairs and wave long sticks with paper pom-poms to ward off flies. It was just way too feudal for me. Can you imagine what goes through one’s mind when you are asked to ward off flies day after day after day? I would almost certainly grow up to be a serial fly killer, devising ways to torture and kill as many darn flies as possible before I myself died of natural causes or worse, by a disease borne by the filthy paws of a fly. Do they have paws? At any rate, flies can be a real nuisance to anyone who is an obsessive compulsive clean freak. To be fair, I looked up flies in an attempt to understand what positive role they must play in the universe. Turns out their role is to help eliminate the vast amounts of rotting plant and animal matter by feeding on it and “processing” it. They lay thousands of eggs on decaying vegetable and animal matter which then turn into maggots that then turn into more flies. Yuck. If you have ever seen Discovery channel features on maggots you would say double yuck.

So keeping flies off of your food is critical. flies2Particularly if you have pets nearby and the flies have recently landed on doodoo teaming with germs and diseases you don’t want to contract. Some folks like to use candles, the logic behind it I am not sure and despite that tact used by many restaurants, I am not convinced it is really effective. Other than possibly burning the wings of flies, I don’t see how it is supposed to work. Other folks use fly paper to slowly stick flies to their death. The macabre in me likes to watch them squirm though should I accidentally get stuck to the paper myself, it is a real mess. Still others like to wave them with pompoms without killing (the my karma will be good folks) while others take these plastic fly swaters and just go smush crazy. Still others go electronic and use blue lights to attract the flies then electrocute them with a hair raising zzzzzap sound. Some use “high frequency waves” to deafen the buggers and keep them away from the area. I have decided to go low tech and use these food covers made with abaca or sinamay that keep the flies away from the food. I like the non-aggressive nature of these, the fact they don’t use electricity or chemicals and there is an inherent torture side to them in that the flies can smell and see the food but can’t get to them! It was difficult finding them plain…Filipinos are so in need of borloloy and they come with straw flowers, shells, coconut monstrosities, etc….so I found the manufacturer and convinced them to sell me the abaca covers “naked” or without adornment. It seems to have started a trend…the vendor now sells them au naturel and is doing a brisk business…



  1. maddie says:

    I was actually wondering where you found those plain food covers the minute I saw the pic. So where can we get a hold of these?

    Flies are yuck yuck yuck. I just don’t eat when they are around. I imagine that they came from some stinking toilet before trying to land on your food.

    Feb 2, 2006 | 12:08 am


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  3. ShoppaHolique says:

    my aunt has citronella plants in her house, she said the plants effectively ward off flying pests… if you dont go for the cintronella-scnted candles…

    Feb 2, 2006 | 2:17 am

  4. Marketman says:

    maddie, I bought these from a handicraft vendor at the monthly Karl Edwards Bazaar at the NBC Tent at Fort Bonifacio. They had all sorts of borloloys on them but I made a special order and they agreed to deliver a dozen different shapes to me without any thing stuck on them… Shoppaholique, citronella seems to ward off mosquitos but I didn’t know other bugs as well…good idea except I seem to kill anything potted in the house…

    Feb 2, 2006 | 6:00 am

  5. Mila says:

    The round cover is nice.
    I think the candles are meant to block the smell of the food, which attracts the flies. I do notice less flies in places that light the candles.

    Feb 2, 2006 | 1:32 pm

  6. schatzli says:

    those covers are just great… can you collapse them
    I mean if i can those inside my luggage
    I love those plain ones cant stand those colourfuls ones with designs

    Feb 4, 2006 | 8:53 pm

  7. Wilson Cariaga says:

    yeah that is so true, most of the manufacturers here of hand crafts style their products too much and too colorful, some styles did not even improve, it is like they’re selling stuff from my grandma’s era, this is one reason why export on these stuff is weak because style doesn’t improve, they do one product with a design concept that will be done for years and years without minding the trends and being sensitive to what the market demands. . .

    Feb 7, 2006 | 8:43 am

  8. julius says:

    pompoms!! hahaha! sounds familiar!! in the province, it’s not uncommon to see people eating in lazy susans with a servant having a pompom routine. I find it unhygienic because the pompoms they swish over the viands may be full of dust and whatnots and that could land on your plate.

    in my friend’s home, they use old badminton raquets which they destring the center and tie in its place these long strips taken from plastic sacks. and i saw it in several houses too. bacolod kasi.

    Feb 8, 2006 | 2:12 am

  9. Marketman says:

    julius…maybe I can make giant versions using my old tennis racquets…heehee.

    Feb 8, 2006 | 5:52 am

  10. Chevee says:

    Growing up, we never used the pompoms; we just kept our food covered =)

    I read somewhere that basil plants will keep flies away. The article recommended having one by your front door or the kitchen window. Haven’t had a chance to try it yet, though.

    We also wrap “wet” garbage in newspaper. Supposedly the ink is repugnant to maggots; I just do it to keep the garbage dry and non-smelly =)

    Feb 9, 2006 | 10:45 am


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