Is flypaper cruel and/or am I a sadistic monster?

Flies have bedeviled animalkind since they were created in 4004 (I think it was a Thursday). Exodus even shows them to be one of God’s special punishments. There are many ways of killing them quickly and cleanly, but most introduce toxic materials into the home and swatting them takes away valuable goofing off time.

Some years ago we were beset with a plague of flies in the yard. Swatting them was unsatisfying because there were always more, so I sought a more efficient method. I set up a yellow jacket trap (they were out of fly traps because everybody had flies that year), which was a hanging, plastic bag with a pagoda cap that bugs were supposed to be smart enough to climb in but not out. This was the last one on the shelf and lacked the bait capsule but I put in a cup of water, hung it up, and watched what happened.

At first a few flies flew around it but not into it, then a couple soulless demons from Hell got adventurous and climbed in. After a couple days they got tired, fell in the water, and began to rot. They made fly bait for me, and soon word of the trap got around as THE place to die. I continued checking on it after work and found that a subset of the population had been born, grown, and died in the trap, feeding on the corpses of their kin. There were hundreds, even thousands of mostly dead flies and the bag grew so heavy that it broke its hanger, ending the experiment around the same time the plague ended.

But that was Science and though I watched it with amazement and some pleasure and took no notes and collected no data useful for other researches other than “This is freakin’ awesome,” I try to not see myself as the flies’ Dr Mengele. I save that for flypaper.

Many people are surprised that flypaper still exists and don’t understand how useful it is in fighting Mankind’s Oldest Battle. For the uninitiated it is paper coated with something very sticky. Usually today it is only available in tightly-rolled strips that unfurl when you tack (thumbtack included) one end to someplace near where flies are found. The old sheets are hard to find because too many children re-enacted Three Stooges bits with them. A fly happens along, lands for a rest or a cleaning session, and is stuck. Others are caught by the wing when they fly too close. Then there was the one that thought a female fly was drunk and passed out, so he landed on her in order to couple. That date rape lasted into eternity, but she was already dead. Creepy necro fly. I laughed at him, which raises the “sadistic monster” part of my question, but one which I fear I have already answered.

As for the cruelty, flypaper kills through any combination of exhaustion, starvation, and dehydration. I may have a shred of a conscience somewhere because I see how that can be Not Very Nice, and I’m pretty sure that being nice is supposed to be a goal to which I should aspire. Should I find another, more humane way to rid my home of flies, like my spider friend and her nursery under the laundry sink, or can I continue to laugh at the foibles of our insect overlords?

Okay, one last anecdote. Stop me if I’ve told this one before. Glue mousetraps are actually fairly humane if you check them often and listen for the plaintive cries of the mice. You take the trap, mouse, and a bottle of vegetable oil to the yard of a neighbor you don’t like and pour oil on the mouse’s feet. Do NOT do this while you are still inside because the mouse will become free in seconds, no mater how glued down. He’ll stop and lick off the oil and move into your neighbor’s house. Anyway, I had a glue trap in an easily-monitored location. We had roaches because my children are idiots and Wife found the odd, sub-tropical roaches they brought back from Washington DC too interesting to kill. A big American cockroach tried sprinting across the trap and made it halfway. “Aha!” he thought, “I have wings and can fly away,” so he worked all but his back legs free, reared up and spread his wings to make his getaway. Only his rear feet were still stuck so he fell backwards, embedding his wingtips and anus in the glue like a two-inch tripod. I kept that one around for years as a reminder of the futility of being a roach that had ideas.

You have…interesting hobbies. :dubious:

Don’t miss the Lawrence Block short story about the guy who’s out to prevent people from trapping pests in a cruel manner, and decides to take his mission to the next level when a mouse glue trap buyer ignores his advice. :eek:

No. Flies and other insects are organic automatons; it isn’t possible to be cruel to them since they don’t feel anything.

Really? I could have sworn I heard one faintly screaming “Help me! Help me!” Kept me awake all night with its infernal racket. Then it died.

No, I have boring hobbies that I try to relate in an interesting manner. :stuck_out_tongue:

(bolding mine)

I don’t know if I would classify your behavior as sadistic, devious, on the other hand, most certainly comes to mind. :wink:

I would have bet it was a Monday. :stuck_out_tongue:

Most flies are either eaten alive, or die of starvation or exhaustion in any case. A relative few die the sudden but violent death of the flyswatter, rolled newspaper, or horse’s tail. Virtually no fly dies of old age in bed after a full and happy life, surrounded by its loved ones. Since a cruel and miserable death is the lot of most flies, I don’t think you are particularly adding to their problems.

Oh yeah? Try saying that again, substituting “rabbit” or “hummingbird” for “fly.” Not so comfy sitting at the top of the food chain, are you? :dubious:

I am.

Nature is pretty nasty and we’re extremely fortunate as life forms that we don’t all die in the ways your typical rabbit or bird does.

Fuck flies. I’m not about to grant them any kind of ‘sacred life’ status anymore than I’m going to give that to Guinea Worms, Mosquitos or Botflies.

I use flypaper and I don’t worry about being cruel or sadistic to flies.

I’m cruel and sadistic to just about EVERYTHING, except kitties. Even then, I’m likely to withhold the tuna juice for a few seconds, while I ask them what in the world they are crying about, do they need the litter boxes changed? Do they need their claws clipped? Do they want tuna juice? Hmmmm? Only after they have assured me, loudly, that they DO want the juice, only then do I give it to them.

I had to use flypaper and felt bad about it. I don’t like to make everything suffer. I’d check it every hour or so and crush anything caught upon it with some paper towels to give them a quick death.

I’ve killed my share of birds for scientific specimens. I don’t like doing it, but they suffered less than if a hawk or a cat had got them.

I just thought I’d point out that dropzone’s OP is about three times longer than the wiki entry about actual flypaper. Link

:smiley: TL;DR!

It’s funny to see this, because I was contemplating a post about my recent murder of a mouse. Our exterminator suggested glue traps, but when I actually found a desperate, exhausted mouse stuck to one, I felt like the biggest monster in the universe. I don’t mind killing them, but torturing them to death is really troubling. (I wound up splitting the difference between my euthanasia impulse and my germ-centered OCD and put the whole thing in a trash bag, then wound and tied it securely shut. I figured a few minutes to asphyxiate is a bit better than hours to die of dehydration. Still, I’d rather use the old timey spring traps in the future.)

HOWEVER. Flies? I agree with Der Trihs. I doubt they have the mental equipment to *be *tortured. Also, fuck flies. I hate them.

Flies have a useful function in the ecosystem. At least, I think they do, not sure what it is. Fodder for the noble web spinners perhaps (are spider webs cruel?). In the midwest, flies are a bellwether, you know the rain is coming because they start biting hard. Curiously, around here, it is always about to rain, but our flies are well behaved and rarely bite (IME).

I beat a porcupine to death once. He was eating my porch.[sup]*[/sup] I see that the sibling has been nibbling since his demise, so I’m keeping the plastic porky porker handy. Some people never learn.

[sup]*[/sup]Supposedly to get salt, an essential part of their diet. But there is a big, delectable salt block 30 ft away for just that purpose and he can gnaw on it all night if he wants. Just not on my porch which I now have to paint again.

No more, or less, so than humans. The differences between our nervous systems are a matter of degree. Hence this doesn’t help solve the question posed by the OP.

I emphatically am not saying that a fly life is morally equivalent to a human life. But science does not offer a clear dividing line between “feeling” and “nonfeeling” animals.

Personally? Fly paper = ok. Torturing flies for fun = no ok. Though in my youth I tortured numerous arthropods and yet I sleep well.

Finally, a great man once said “It’s ok to eat fish 'cuz they don’t have any feelings;” I suppose we could apply this to fly paper too. Although, the author did later blow off his head; perhaps the guilt drove him to it??

Haven’t visited my yard lately, have you?

Ah yes - flypaper.
Often used in the midwest where I grew up, and nice roll that you yank out, hang from somewhere with a tack and the flies all land on the glue-like goo and become stuck.

Then I moved to Las Vegas - had some flies and went to Home Depot and, by golly, they had flypaper!

Bought two rolls, went home and tacked one on one side of the house, and the other on the other side of the house. I was smug and pleased to know that soon my fly problem would be gone.

I shoulda kinda thought this out a tad better.

Let’ see - what could possibly go wrong with strips of paper covered in glue in 110+ degree, very dry weather here in Las Vegas?

Yep - it was a disgusting, dripping, icky ball of godknowswhat that even flies wouldn’t go near…took me hours to clean both sides of the house.

I now present visitors with a flyswatter if you want to sit in the backyard.

To be fair, we don’t have lots and lots of flies here, just one or two who can annoy the shit out of you in a matter of seconds.

Now, the annual invasion of* the gazillion ant march into the house* is another story, best suited for a different thread.

This is interesting because I still feel a tinge of guilt over disposing of some unwanted mice in a similar fashion…only maybe worse?

Several years ago while packing up to move, we discovered that mice had made a nest in an unused drawer of my daughter’s dresser. The nest was discovered after learning that we had a mouse problem and subsequently caught and rid ourselves of an adult mouse. I can’t remember the details of that disposition. In the nest there were several baby mice, still naked and blind…and now motherless.

Wondering what to do and knowing the mice were doomed and we didn’t want them anyway, husband and I uncomfortably contemplated several ways to take them out. Neither of us felt willing and eager to smash them with a book or shoe. Though ending their lives quickly and painlessly, it was violent and distasteful to a couple of formerly suburban kids. I thought about how I would want to go out and came up with an idea to kill them in their sleep. So how does one put a litter of baby mice to sleep? I shall tell you.

Gently pick up the nest with a paper towel and loosely wrap the baby mice in said paper towel. Once you can’t see them anymore the process becomes much easier. Then place the mice-containing paper towel in a zip-loc bag. A freezer bag has better durability for later disposal, but is probably not necessary. Close the bag leaving some air in it and place the bag in the freezer. Hold the bag in the freezer until trash pick-up day. Make sure nobody in the household wonders what’s in the bag while it’s in your freezer.

I can’t be sure that the mice fell into unconsciousness from hypothermia before their tiny little hearts stopped and froze solid, but I’d like to think that they did. Is that bad?

Later on, a friend – whom I trusted enough to not judge me when I admitted our culpability in the deaths of baby mice – told me I should have put them out in the front yard for the birds to eat as that is what would have happened without human intervention. Circle of life and all that. Now I feel worse that their lives were so meaningless that they didn’t even have the opportunity to nourish another life.

The best laid plans, I suppose…