Flood Flies

Summer of 2013


It sure is a subject I could do without. Flood Flies are termites in the winged stage. In the Tropics at the beginning of the rainy season termites leave their nests looking for new wood to chew. A bazillion launch themselves into the air at dusk, quickly loosing their wings, hoping to drop next to just the perfect piece of wood to colonize.

That is the plan. But like all best laid out plans ….

Lots of termites end up inside houses. Like mine. I have my doors open from dawn to dusk and then some. If something comes a flying, it can come in, stay, leave again, nothing there to stop the critter.

So the Flood Flies came in en masse before I got around to closing the doors a little earlier than usual. In short order there were wings and writhing bodies littering every possible surface. The wings being so light, they are impossible to sweep up. The little bodies amused the puppy endlessly. The Geckos just ate till they could eat no more.

All night it rained wings and bodies on me from above.

Living in the Tropics I no longer screech when there is something crawling on me. I assess what it is, and then decide to panic or not. Mostly not. However, at night I really don’t appreciate being crawled on or dropped on and then crawled off. There is a limit.

The Flood Flies did not care. My bed looked suitably disgusting by morning.

And then I discovered the unintended consequences of trying to do the job right.

A friend had built me an outdoor cabinet for my chicken feed. He did a real nice job using the nicest plywood a person could hope for. Now if I had built the thing it would have looked nothing like it, and I would have used Burned Oil to paint it. Burned Oil is simply used motor oil. People here paint whole wooden houses with it to deter termites. Probably as unhealthy as it gets, but cheap and functional. But back to the cabinet. I went and bought expensive oil based paint to match the upscale look of said cabinet. My trusty helper applied two thick coats of paint in Sunday. It was a grand sight.

It was also the beginning of the rainy season. And the Flood Flies came out that night.

It turns out that the paint manufactures were not considering tropical conditions when they stated on the can that the paint would be dry to the touch in 4 hours. Think “sticky”. Think “tacky”. Think staying that way for hours, days, possibly until the dry season. Possibly forever. This is after all Belize.

The cabinet surface sure kept a lot of termites from ever going anywhere. Ever. Wings, bodies. Stuck for eternity.

Funnily enough. I had my helper paint the back of the cabinet with Burned Oil to save some money. Not a single termite stuck to that.

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