Flies are a frequent problem on the boat. It's not because we are messy or because we have a composting toilet (no bugs come out of there!) but because we sail near places that are riddled with flies.
We will be sailing along when a swarm of flies will descend upon us! These flies seem to be very hungry because they will begin biting us and Morty. Maddie and I are not fans of pesticides, due to their toxicity, and conventional fly swatters don't seem to put a dent in the number of flies buzzing about us.
We have seriously thought about breaking down and using chemical pest control devices (bug sprays), but they are very toxic to parrots and birds. Being how we have Sammy (our parrot) on board with us, bug sprays are never going to be an option.
In our search for a better alternative, we stumbled upon fly paper; you know, the stuff you see in cartoons that gets stuck on the characters face and arms. These fly paper coils contain no pesticides or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), they are simply sticky glue on paper and work wonderfully!
Fly paper is not as immediately gratifying as bug spray though, it does not work instantly and it does not attract the flies to it. The fly needs to buzz around and land on the paper for them to get stuck. When you first hang up the paper, it seems that the flies will land on everything but the paper! Over time though, the bugs will land on it and their numbers will reduce.
In order to get more flies to land on the fly paper, you need to make the fly paper more appealing. If you sit back and watch the flies behavior, you will notice that they only land on things that do not move around in the wind. If you have a steady lifeline or back rest, they will walk all over it; but your flapping canvas will not get much fly traffic.
Following the same logic, if you hang your flypaper in the middle of the cockpit where it will flap around all the flies as the wind makes it dance, not a single fly will land on it. While this may seem like the best place to put the fly paper due to the high concentration of flies, its constant motion will render it worthless. Hanging it inside the cabin where it will stay still will prove much more effective.
We set up the fly paper one afternoon after we were bombarded with flies and by morning the paper was covered in the annoying insects while the air was clear of any nuisance. If you need immediate bug relief until the fly paper can decimate the numbers of buzzing buggers, try wearing long sleeves and long pants. Keeping the amount of exposed skin to a minimum will provide the insects that much less skin to attack. Rubbing OFF! on your hands and feet can help keep them protected as well.
With the fly problem under control, we are able to cruise in much more comfort!