Scraping Flies off of Your Car Windscreen

For some people the idea of moving to Australia conjures up some very strange thoughts and questions.

  • Will I miss my friends and family?
  • How will I cope with the snakes and spiders?
  • Will it be too hot for me?
  • If I go swimming in the sea, will I get eaten by a shark?
  • Will I meet Skippy?
  • It’s the other side of the world, will I be walking upside down?
  • Will the bath water spin in the opposite direction when I pull the plug?

Yes, all of these questions and more can flash through your mind when you consider moving to Australia. The biggest question of all though has to be this one:

Will I look good wearing a cork hat?
cork_hat

Australia and flies

Yes, everybody knows that Australia is a country riddled with flies and the only way to combat this is to wear a hat, attach string and tie corks to the ends.

Or is it?

Why am I asking this question now?

I’m glad you asked. When I was driving through Kakadu whilst on holiday in Darwin during another beautifully hot day with clear blue skies, I found myself blurting out the most ridiculous question imaginable.

My word, has it started raining?

The answer was a definite no; well, it was in the middle of the dry season. What did I expect?

What had happened though, and I was very quick to work this out (honestly) was that my car windscreen had been bashed all of a sudden by flies.

The screen had been quickly pelted and covered with loads of very dead (I assume, I didn’t check any pulses) and very small flies which were immediately washed off (almost) by deploying the windscreen wipers on very fast mode and spraying with screen wash heavily.

This doesn’t really clean the windscreen, as you know, it’s just smudges them more evenly across the glass and requires more specific treatment next time you park up and have a few minutes to spare.

When I parked up though, I took a photograph of the dead, although those on the windscreen didn’t show up so good, so here’s how the front of the car looked the next day…

Car and dead fliesI’m sure you can see the mess made by whatever types of flies these were, but there was something about this event that I was finding very strange. The immediate thought that popped into my head (after I had so cleverly realised it wasn’t rain during the middle of an extremely hot day with blue skies and not a cloud in sight) was this…

I’ve never had squashed flies on my car windscreen in Australia before?

Yes, at the time of this event I’d been living here for 5 years and 8 months, and I realised for the first time that I have never, ever scraped dead flies off of my car windscreen since I arrived here.

It’s not that I don’t do much driving either, I’ve done loads. I get out and about as well, you know, I cover some distance, particularly during my Australian road trip where I drove over 4000 kilometres in a few weeks.

This is Australia, a country known for its irritating flies? What’s going on?

The short answer is, I don’t know, but I will tell you this.

Squashed flies on car windscreens in the UK

I used to drive around quite a lot in the UK as well and scraping dead flies off of my car windscreen was a regular thing. They took quite some scraping as well. I never kept records, obviously, what kind of nutter do you think I am? But I reckon I used to scrape dead flies off of my car windscreen at least once a month, possibly more.

The funny thing is I’ve not had to scrape frost off of my car windscreen since arriving here either, but that’s something I have been completely aware of and have appreciated very much, but I’d completely forgotten about the dead fly problem.

Until, that is, what happened in Kakadu.

So, where does that leave the theories of cork hats, irritating flies and Australia now? Has this myth bitten the red dust?

Tell us where you live, wherever you are in the world, and whether you have to scrape dead flies off of your car windscreen. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this, place your answers in the comments below…

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Layla Turner October 10, 2013, 8:23 am | Link

    We went up north WA a few times (Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Coral Bay) and on this road trip; the rental car we had resembled a likeness to an overcrowded, flying insect graveyard.
    It was so bad the sticky mass of carcasses covered up the “chip” on the windscreen (from a road train – grrr), that would’ve resulted in us losing our insurance bond – so the flies didn’t die in vain, they had a destiny….

    • BobinOz October 10, 2013, 2:24 pm | Link

      Perfect. A “dead flies on the windscreen” story with a happy ending 🙂

  • pete taylor October 7, 2013, 4:21 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Plenty flies in cornwall, most of the year except when very cold,
    great blog, keep it coming Pete

    • BobinOz October 7, 2013, 7:12 pm | Link

      They must be attracted by the cider 🙂 Thanks Pete, I sure will keep it coming.

  • Tim August 25, 2013, 4:36 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Not many flies in Tassie but I do have 2 Australian fly locations. One in the Northern Beaches of Sydney (Manly) in late spring (Nov I think) there were millions around and landing on my face as I was working. And one in the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne – again late spring and again more flies than I could shake a stick at. And I did try!

    Tim

    • BobinOz August 26, 2013, 9:34 pm | Link

      Interestingly, I was in North Shore, Sydney in November of last year, no fly problem at all. So I won’t add that to the map yet, we need a third opinion. The Mornington Peninsula doesn’t surprise me though, I experienced a fly problem a couple of hundred kilometres from there along the Great Ocean Road, somewhere near the 12 Apostles. We will mark up that area as a fly scraping zone for sure. Cheers Tim!

      Bob

  • PK August 13, 2013, 1:59 am | Link

    Hey Bob,
    This year its been fairly warm in the UK – Ive been out and about on my motorcycle a fair bit and on many occasions ive had a major doo getting wind blasted flies off my crash helmet and visor. Several times ive had to pull over on the road as my vision has been impaired enough to warrant an impromptu clean up. Lots and lots of smaller bugs and moths with the odd huge splat.
    When in Oz back in 2011 Me and my bro traveled up the West Coast to the Ningaloo area and passed through the heaviest cloud of locust/grasshopper type things ive ever seen. The front of the truck was just a mush of yellow slime encrusted with heads and limbs – took some effort at the jet wash on our return to Perth i can tell you. Huge pile of dead things had to be shoveled up by the attendant at the jet wash.
    Were off the do the Kimberly for 6 weeks from the end of August – somewhat excited!

    • BobinOz August 14, 2013, 12:00 am | Link

      That’s good to know PK, you haven’t given me specific locations so I’m going to label the entire UK as a squashed fly red alert area, along with the west coast of Australia from Perth to Ningaloo. If you have problems with flies in the Kimberley’s when you go, let me know and I can extend that to the whole of Western Australia 🙂

      Kimberley’s; yes, I bet you are excited. Have fun!

      Thanks, Bob

  • Patrick August 9, 2013, 8:07 pm | Link

    Since I moved in Kwinana, WA from Granby, Quebec, and bought my car 19 days ago, I recall only one bug spat on my windscreen… But it was a big one!
    But I know exactly what you mean by the impression of rain. I got that a few times driving between Montreal and Toronto or back at dusk… during summer of course (Bugs hate Canadian winters as much as I do 😉 ).

    • BobinOz August 11, 2013, 8:06 pm | Link

      Yes, rain, it was like this for me. I think I drove through a swarm (if that’s the right word, either way, I mean the collective noun for…) flies. I’d driven at least 200 kilometres that day, nothing, then all of a sudden, splat, big time! So many flies hit my screen it sounded like it had started to rain, which would have been ridiculous.

      Tiny little things they were too, not black like most flies, but the sand colour. Definitely some kind of bugs, but I can’t say for sure they were actually flies. They splatted though 🙂

      Anyway, Kwinana, WA, I’m not sure one big fly is enough to give the place a red dot on my squashed flies on the windscreen map of the world. If you get more hit your windscreen before the end of the month, let me know and I will reassess.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Stephanie August 9, 2013, 7:47 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I live in beautiful Idaho, USA. Up northwest. Gorgeous here. Depending on the time of year and the weather and where I’m driving, yes, I’ve had dead flies splattered all about the front of my car. Have I had to scrape? No, I’m not the type, so they stay on until the carwash. 🙂
    Stephanie

    • BobinOz August 9, 2013, 1:49 pm | Link

      Thanks Stephanie, I shall mark Idaho on my squashed flies on the windscreen map with a red dot, indicating it is a squashed flies state.

      This is the very beginnings of a squashed flies global map I think, a future in which everyone will know in advance, wherever they go, whether or not they will have squashed flies on the windscreen.

      We need to know this stuff 🙂

      Anybody else get squashed flies or not where they are? I need more red and green dots for my map…

      Thanks Stephanie for letting us know, Bob

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