Super Fly

May 13, 2010


My patio has been overrun by swarms of flies. Bug zappers don’t work, and I’ve worn out three fly swatters. I bought a non-chemical trap ( the stinky kind) and hung it up fifty feet away where the smell can only affect my neighbor’s barbecue pit and picnic area. The trap, which is like a baited plastic bag with a one-way entry, has collected a monumental number of flies in two days. Curious, I started observing fly behavior at the moment of entry and this is what I discovered.

Most flies barge right in and are doomed. A very few take time to explore the opening and hesitate a lot before taking the plunge. An even smaller number start in and decide to come out. It could be random behavior, but I’m not sure this matters. Clearly, there is a small portion of the fly population that is either too dumb to enter the trap, or too smart to go in. What, I asked myself, if I put a lot of these traps around. Would I be creating a super race of smart flies?

About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

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