Monday, April 12, 2010

Insects and Mass Suicide

Lately, I have witnessed a very odd phenomenon around the house. Over the past few days, as I walk around the house, lethargic flies have been catching my eye. I saw one on the stairs, a few in the kitchen…each day I saw several in different parts of the house. At one point I went and got the fly swatter and snuck up on a group of 6 flies. I splatted one, expecting the others to take off, but they didn’t…they just sat there awaiting their impending demise.

Today, I was sweeping the house and before I was half way done, I had swept up almost a dozen flies. Some of them were dead, some seemed dazed…yet others just sat there and let me sweep them into the dust pan.

I have never seen anything like this before and have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on.

Is there something deadly to flies in the air? Did the flies get into a bottle of booze? Are they laying eggs around the house and then dying? Do they fear my swatting accuracy so much that they just give up when they see me coming?

Have any of you ever seen such a thing? Any ideas of what supernatural occurrence is going on in my house?

Oh…and the other day while we were all at the beach, I witnessed another thing that I had never seen before…Hundreds of lady bugs in the sand right at the water’s edge. Christie and Megan spent about an hour collecting them and “saving their lives” while I pondered what the hell was going on. Why were they at the beach? In the sand, getting washed in and out by the surf?

Maybe the lady bugs and flies sense an earthquake or some other impending doom that we can’t. Maybe there is some insect mass suicide ritual going on…I have no clue.

Someone please answer these questions for me so that I can get on with my life and stop wasting my days trying to figure this all out.


Janie Woods said...

We have an entomologist on staff here, so I just sent him your post to answer your question!!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Waiting on pins and needles for what the entomologist says. Cause I have no clue.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Bwahahahahahaha! I don't know what is going on! But you should have swatted all six of them at the same time...that would have been impressive!

pam said...

the cold around here, michigan, makes the flies sluggish. and I've noticed a lot of lady bugs too this spring.

The Pipster said...

Well, flies don't live that long - think 2 weeks is their life span. The lady bugs I have no idea.

Janie Woods said...


Of course there is ALWAYS something
supernatural going on in the house! However, this is besides the point. If
the flies are showing up in the spring, they may possibly be cluster flies
(I think that's the right one). There are a number of insect species that
like to overwinter ('hibernate') in attics or under the siding of houses...
or other protected places hidden away. A few of these that I've noticed
have included stink bugs, box-elder bugs, lady beetles to a degree, and
cluster flies. In the spring they slowly wake up and lethargically become
more active, but maybe not quite active enough. I can relate every morning,
but thankfully I'm not counting on someone's poor coordination with a fly

Lady beetles by the water's edge? Who knows?!!? I've heard about some
sections of Pennsylvania experiencing huge, dense populations of lady
beetles... thousands and thousands of them like a plague. Thankfully,
although lady beetles are carnivorous, they don't have an appetite for human
blood or other body tissues. Maybe they were by the water because they were
thirsty... or chasing another insect. I kind of doubt there was alcohol or
some type of foul play involved though. Insects live and insects die, it's
a good thing that biology enables them to keep reproducing, so I'm sure
there are plenty more where they came from! Maybe they DID lay their eggs
and die. There's a lot of that in the Insecta Group... adults live to make
more. Sometimes one would think that they are pretty irresponsible as there
are lots of little orphan insects. There's lots of domestic violence too,
but that's for another email.

I hope this helped clear up the mass confusion.

Have a good day,


Danielle said...

Tom cleared it up for me. How about you?

dadshouse said...

Two words: global warming.

Alert Al Gore!

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