There’s something in the air at Monte Vista. It’s not spring fever, or the sound of birds singing, but something far more alarming: fruit flies.
It goes without saying that a space full of the little pests can be quite distracting, especially for science teacher Meghan Bruss, who recently returned to work after maternity leave and found her classroom swarming with bugs.
“I was just getting ready for the day, when all these fruit flies started coming at me,” Bruss said, “I didn’t know what was causing them at first because I had just come back.”
After some further detective work, she discovered that the flies had come from the biology classes’ compost bins, and had no intentions of leaving the classroom.
You may be thinking that a couple little insects here and there isn’t that big of a deal, but the whole dynamic of the class period got completely flipped upside down. What was once a normal hour of taking notes suddenly becomes a vicious turf war between student and fly. The only way to survive is to keep constant watch on the little critters before they dart into your personal space like little bug ninjas. Each minute feels like an eternity as you sit there anticipating the next faint buzzing sound in your ear, or the next small blur of movement in your peripheral vision. Paying attention to the teacher is completely out of the question.
Luckily, Bruss came up with a solution to the dilemma by taking the compost bins outdoors and laying apple vinegar soap traps around the room. The flies that remained in the room swarmed to the vinegar where they then proceeded to drown themselves, which is fairly hardcore.
“That took care of it pretty quick,” Bruss said.
But surely flies can’t be all bad. As it turns out, flies actually do more than nonchalantly pester us. They are expert decomposers, breaking down nasty stuff such as roadkill or animal droppings. Flies are usually associated with filth and grime, when in reality they are just trying to clean up the messes that nobody else wants to touch. They are truly the unsung garbagemen of the animal kingdom.
They also help out gardners by preying on aphids and other tiny parasites that linger on flowers. Admittedly they aren’t the best predators, but they can also serve as food for other animals like backyard birds and frogs, and who doesn’t enjoy frogs?
Above all else, the undisputed best quality of flies is the way that they rub their little hands together all the time. The odd ritual is actually the fly’s way of cleaning itself and sanitizing it’s forelimbs, yet it has no business being so entertaining.
Flies may not be as problematic as people make them out to be, but they still certainly do not belong in the classroom. Students already have enough distractions as it is.
“They are an important part of the food web so we can’t completely eradicate them,” Bruss said, “but I am more than happy to get them out of the classroom.”
But on the bright side, at least we don’t have mosquitos.