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Stuck on a stick

July 30, 2010

During the rainy season the flies may cause some nuisance, not to mention the potential hazard of flies spreading disease. How can you control them in your Garden? Obviously, you need to make sure there is no exposed fresh manure or kitchen garbage for the larvae. Also, a garden with thriving biodiversity will contain numerous cobwebs and fly-catching birds. In spite of such precautions, a lunch table with delicious ‘stinky beans’ (Parkia speciosa) or squid will attract flies from far away. Some people would use a fly swatter, but that may disturb lunch guests and the messy remnants probably disperse bacteria. Electrical devises are good too, but expensive and consume electricity. Some put a bait inside an elaborate cage which will trap the flies, but such a bait may be smelly. Ordinary bug sprays make you sit in a smelly cloud of poison.

One method is to buy a glue, containing Muscalure (Z-9-tricosene) which is a fly sex pheromone. At the Hang Dong market a small jar costs 15 Baht. Simply smear a stick with the glue, and place it in an old soda can filled with sand. Whenever a fly lands on the stick, it is helplessly stuck. Keep it near your lunch table at all times, and you will reduce the buzzing swarms significantly, without using smelly and potentially dangerous bug sprays. The pheromone is sometimes applied to dry baits, but they contain nerve toxins which we think should be avoided. The glue is not dangerous. Many insects are attracted to tall resting places, why the pheromone may not be necessary, although it increases the attraction. Theoretically one should be able to make fly sticks at home, if there was a good source of glue. Here at Dokmai Garden we have tried to use the latex of jackfruit and breadfruit as a glue, but the flies did not stick. The commercial glue is apparently better. Please let us know if you find a good source of glue in your garden.

Eric Danell

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