I typically think of flies as an insect found at outside gatherings or around garbage cans, but not out at sea! Flies can transform a normal day into a fight against insanity.
These little buzzing nuisances seem to come out of nowhere and for no reason. We will be sailing along, fly free, miles from any shoreline and then all of a sudden, the flies will appear! Almost out of thin air, flies will begin coming out of every part of the boat! We always first notice them in the cockpit, since that is where we are sitting while we cruise. We may find a few flies buzzing around us in the cockpit and think that the flies are really bad. Then when we anchor and go below deck, the number of flies is mind boggling!
Having a parrot onboard denies us the ability to use all those wonderful chemicals that instantly handle the fly problem, and leaves us with only more passive methods of fly control: Fly paper.
We currently have 3 of these ribbons hanging in various parts of the boat where the fly population seems most dense. While the paper becomes riddled with flies in a short matter of time, it doesn't seem to put a dent in the number of flies we have onboard.
Naturally, our first thought in these situations is that they are coming from something we are carrying. This means that we will instantly do all the dishes, in hopes of removing a possible food source for the flies, and I check the composting toilet to make sure it is not a fly factory. After that, we begin searching through our provisions for any foods that may be spoiled and a spawning ground for flies.
As always, none of these places turn up to be a source, and the flies seem to linger for a while. Talking with other cruisers, the going theory is that a mass of flies will get blown off the land and out to sea. When the flies hit the sails, they quickly dive down into the boat to hide from the wind and set up shop in the cabin where the wind is never as fierce as it is outside. This is why we only see a few flies in the cockpit, because they would easily get blow away. In the protection of the cabin however, the flies can live for a long time!
Parrots have very sensitive respiratory systems, meaning that we can't use anything like spray bug killer or citronella candles. Instead, we have to set up fly tape and wait for them to get attached to the trap!
Flies can really drive you crazy though, always buzzing around, and making you feel like you live in an actual trash can! While most of the flies we seem to house don't bite us, they do annoy the heck out of us!
When we leave the pets with our parents as we head offshore towards Bermuda, we will certainly take full advantage of all the toxic fly killers we can find. Until then, the closest thing we have to sanity is a full fly ribbon!