Wednesday, December 23, 2009

lord of the flies

This has never happened to me before.

We put up the Christmas tree fairly early this year, for us - about December 4th. I'm usually more of a second-weekend-of-December kind of tree-putter-upper, but this year we had a party to get ready for, and the tree went up shortly after Thanksgiving.

It's a gorgeous tree. Probably one of the best we've ever had, apart from the weird left-leaning branch on top which makes the angel look like she's about to take off into the wall above the fireplace. Otherwise, it's perfect: lovely shape, nice green branches, very little needle loss, drinks water like a champ.

And chock full o' flies.

Has this ever happened to you? Because it's DISGUSTING. It started a few days after we put the tree up, when I found a strange number of flies in the living room. "Huh," I thought. "They must have come in while the door was open when we were getting the tree in here." I killed them with a flyswatter.

Then, the next day, there were about 10 flies in the front window. "Huh," I thought. "I didn't think the door was open that long." I killed them with a flyswatter, and then I had to clean the window because it looked like Fly Killing Field. Not very Christmas-y.

Then, the next day, there were easily 15 flies in the living room. "WHAT THE HELL?" I wondered, as I abandoned the flyswatter and went for the vacuum cleaner instead. I felt guilty about sucking them into the hose. I even turned off the vacuum cleaner and put my ear up to the bag, wondering if they were buzzing around in there. My mom taught me that, if you are going to kill a bug, you have to kill it DEAD so it's not suffering. I have a bit of a complex about this.

But I got over said complex within the next week, while I sucked about 50 flies into the vacuum cleaner. I kid you not.

Remember, we were having a party. "Festive holiday gathering," my ass. "Festering," more like it. A house full of flies does not exactly inspire confidence in the cleaning abilities of the host(ess). Which irritates me, because I actually have a ridiculously clean house.

Last night, my husband and I were chasing flies in the kitchen with the flyswatter and the vacuum. Oddly entertaining, actually. He sat all evening in his recliner with the flyswatter at the ready. We must have rid the world of at least 10 more flies last night.

Usually, I'm sad to take down the tree. This year, it will be a relief.

Happy holidays to you. Hope they are fly-free.


  1. Excellent story. Sorry for the trouble the tree caused!!! I thought needles falling off was the worst problem, but I guess it can be worse. Merry Christmas!!!

  2. Gross dude. I've never had that happen with an xmas tree. Maybe the sap in the tree is particularly attractive to flies, or maybe there was some kind of nest when you brought the tree in. Do flies even have 'nests?' Gross. I would be exactly the same way - gingerly inviting the flies to go outside, I am such an animal nut that it would have to get really bad for me to start annihilation. And I totally would have gotten there after what you described. I never thought of the vacuum though, that's brilliant. I had swarming flies in my house in college 'cause a rat died INSIDE one of the walls of my bedroom. Grossest thing I have ever experienced. The smell was unbearable and the flies were huge and probably full of rat guts. Because of this they didn't fly very fast so I was killing them by swatting them with all manner of things. Which, as you can imagine, was also really disgusting. Ok NOW I've totally grossed myself out.

    You and your dh sound like quite a team! Glad you were able to curb the problem before the party. Of course it would happen right before your big night as hostess.

  3. This reason, this very reason, is why my husband won't let us get a live tree. (I'm Jewish, he's not so tree decisions are left up to him.)

    He told me about a Christmas his family once had that had flies and gnats and bugs. The next year they got an artificial tree.