If you do not think me a bit nutty already, then be warned: the following may have you calling the men in white coats.
Nevertheless, intrepid lover of living creatures little and big that I am, I risk perpetual solitary confinement in a padded room or, even worse, the reputation of an idealist and extremist and romantic by offering to my fellow humans the following advice on how to be compassionate even to those things we normally disdain. That is, I offer this tip on how you can save the life of that dreaded interloper and symbol of all that is icky: the fly.
Here is how you do it:Move really, really,reallyslowlyand catch the fly in a jar or cup or even in your hand (if you do it gently).
Yes, I said that right. Forget the Karate Kid and the lightning-quick chopsticks! Use a slow hand instead.
Apparently, flies can only see things moving if they move quickly. By moving like a slug rather than at mock speed, you can “sneak up” on the fly, which is essentially blind to your movement as you approach. I have found it most effective, and safest, to catch them by the wings rather than the body. But however you do it, do itslowly. And once you catch said fly, you can then kindly and happily take it outside–practicing the insect version of “catch and release.”
Some would-be fly savers have offered other methods, all of them involving quick motion;here is one example from WikiHow.com. But the advantage of taking the “slow-hand” approach (besides being a tribute to the great Eric Clapton) is that you pose less danger to the fly from a too-quick motion and an inadvertent (?) squishing.
And the flies seem to recognize your kindness, at least as far as I can tell. They often sort of relax and ride along as you carry them; sometimes they even walk around on your hand if you do not quite catch them.
Now, if you are to utilize this method of catching and saving a fly, you must first overcome your by-now natural/instinctual reaction to sentence any and all of these buzzing “pests” to a de facto death. You must resist grabbing the flyswatter just in case my discussion of them alone is enough to evoke them from the ether, to call them up out of that infernal cesspool they surely mutate out of. You must avoid plugging in the bug zapper so that you can gloat with glee as they fly into the light and get fried to a crisp.
No, my fellow humans, issuing a bounty on the head of every single fly is not the action of a compassionate caretaker,of a modern-day King Ashoka, but of a heavy-handed tyrant. Becoming a bounty hunter, with the only reward being the satisfaction of squashing the beast and silencing the buzz, is not the action of a steward and caretaker of other living beings.
No, my fellow humans, killing flies as fast as we can swing the swatter is not sustainable or humane…even if our efforts seem to do nothing to reduce the numbers of flies buzzing just about anywhere and everywhere we happen to be.
So the next time you see a fly crawling around your window or hear one buzzing around in your kitchen, try to have a big heart…and a slow hand!
Image credit:AlvesgasparatWikimedia Commons.
I never knew flies couldn’t see slow moving objects. Kinda like Dino’s eh?
I’ll have to remember that the next time one is buzzing around! I “catch and release” all insects I find in my home. Or sometimes I just let them be if they are harmless.
Just wondering — if a fly cannot things that move slowly, how does it avoid flying into trees, buildings, rocks, the ground telephone poles, etc.?
Justin Van Kleecksays
Thanks for the tid bit! I’m with Annie — how do flies avoid stationary objects?
OK, following the same logic, are you going to try to protect the microbes living (and dying) in your gut?
Justin Van Kleecksays
Annie and J (and anyone else wondering about fly vision), here is the scoop on why flies cannot see slow motion.Flies see 200 images per second, and for comparison a TV screen shows 24 images per second, so that a fly would see on the screen distinct still images separated by black space.如果你把这一点应用到运动中，那么，苍蝇只会看到运动中快速移动的物体似乎就说得通了。否则，如果它们移动缓慢，那么对于苍蝇来说，它们就会显得静止。这就意味着苍蝇并不是真的看不见，而是对慢动作“看不见”。
And Joe…please. Following the same logic, I do not plan to stick my arm down my throat and go chasing after microbes in my gut.
What do I do if the fly can’t fly? Do I still let it out
Contact me if you are still alive – Over a decade long ago.
You are such an amazing soul. I dont know where to find people like you, i so need that in my life. Literally no one that i have ever met, is like this.
I save every single living being whenever i can and others laugh at me probably thinking im crazy. I couldnt care less though. Just now i gave sugar to a fly that was about to die in my house. I try to teach people i know to have compassion but its not easy.
People are taught since childhood to kill insects and when they grow up they do it automatically but they never stand still to why that is necessary! They follow the road that has been shown to them so their hearts in most cases never take a different turn, sadly.
So much violence and pain in the world!!
Anyway God bless you.