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Monday, 01 September, 2008

The Science Of Fly-Swatting
(with comments)

Research results: The perfect way to swat a fly: stay one jump ahead.

It is a frustrating experience familiar to us all: an irritating, buzzing housefly that easily avoids our best attempts to swat it.

The perfect swatting strategy, however, has now been revealed by scientists who have identified why the insects are so good at evading rolled-up newspapers - and how they might be outwitted.

The right approach is to aim not at the insects themselves because they are extraordinarily good at anticipating where exactly your blow will land. "It is best to aim a bit forward of the fly's starting position, to anticipate where it is going to jump when it first sees your swatter," said Michael Dickinson, of the California Institute of Technology, who led the study.

In the research, published in the journal Current Biology, Dr Dickinson's team used high-resolution, high-speed imaging technology to examine how flies move to avoid impending threats.


Permalink | Posted in General |
  1. By Wm. L. Bassett. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @08:46am:
    Here is another handy hint. Raise your little pinkey as you hold the flyswatter. Somehow this seems to intimidate flies. Works every time.
  2. By Doug. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @08:51am:
    I've had success at getting in swatting range by only moving when the fly moves. Wait for it to crawl then move your hand or swatter closer and stop when they stop. I can get within inches for the final blow.
  3. By donald. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @08:57am:
    It took a team of scientist to figure out what every bird hunter knows. Was this research sponsored by the federal government? Even Dick Cheney and his shooting buddy, Harry Wittington, know this (at least now they do).
  4. By Mean Jean. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @09:16am:
    I am good at swatting flies, but Mr. Mean can catch them with his hand using this same idea of moving forward.

    My weapon of choice the past couple of years has been a Buzzapper battery powered bug fryer. When the bug lands on the screen I gently lay the zapper over them and push the button. They fry. Less drama than hitting them but the blue sparks are very satisfying.
  5. By Blayne. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @09:24am:
    It that picture the actual ugly fly, or just some random ugly fly?
  6. By J-Walk. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @09:29am:
    That's a random housefly. The actual research was done with fruit flies.
  7. By KLAW. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @10:59am:
    Mean Jean,I use the same approach as Mr.Mean,toss them in the toilet and flush immediately,they are avid swimmers.Wash hands as they may have just came into your house after leaving a pile of dog poop.
  8. By Mean Jean. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @11:18am:
    Here's a variation on the theme, Mr. Mean calls it his "audience pleaser". He seripticiously holds something crunchy in his non-fly catching hand such as a tortilla chip or crispy leaf. Then, he holds the chip hand behind him and says "watch this" to get everyone's attention. He grabs the fly and makes a crunching noise with the hand behind his back.

    As you can see, we are easily amused.

    The little boys LOVE it. We've had a couple of ughs, but no throwing up or faiting.
  9. By J-Walk. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @11:34am:
    Good one. I hope I can remember than when Pamn's grandkids visit.

    They're getting tired of my other trick --the one where I pull off part of my finger, chew it up, and then magically re-attach it to the hand.
  10. By KLAW. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @12:07pm:
    Grandkids are cool,I gave Laci her first horsey back ride yesterday,grandpa the swayback horse!!!!Remember that horse in the 3 Stooges?
  11. By Spokane Mary. Comment posted 01-Sep-2008 @03:32pm:
    I worked with a man who had been with the FBI for years. He was always immaculately dressed and groomed, very professional, quietly fanatical about detail, strictly business; he had no humor, no lightness of spirit, no interest in social activities, nada.

    One day we sat for hours on opposite sides of a conference table going over sheets of figures, line by boring line by boring line, zoned into a Virgo's delight; but, there was a fly - one of those obnoxious ones who keeps trying to fly up your nose or land on your eyelashes. I don't know how long he'd been at it, but I was getting used to him; all of a sudden, Walt jumped to his feet, swished his hand in a wide arc in front of my face, just missing my nose, and caught the fly in mid-air. He then body-slammed the thing to the floor and ground it to oblivion with his shiny, polished shoe. He then sat down, said nothing, and quietly went back to our work.

    Watch out for the quiet guy.
  12. By Uri. Comment posted 04-Sep-2008 @02:56am:
    Flys recognise anything moving toward them, and fly away. However, they don't seem to care if they themselves are being moved. This is perhaps because they are used to land on moving objects, animals etc. This can be used against them: A very good method is to slowly raise the platform on which the fly is standing (say - your arm) closer to your swatting hand. Then, once in position, it is much easier to hit it.

    Enjoy.
    Or not.
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