The bad news is that it's March fly season. The good news is that these are the most laconic March flies in Australia.
I am not
very fond of tabanids or, as I like to call them, those ***ing bitey b*******s.
I react badly to their bites, so I try to avoid giving them a free meal. This is not so easy in temperate and coastal
areas, where they will follow you around for hours, sometimes going as far as
looking you up in the telephone book so they can visit you at home. The move to
online directories hasn't helped. They all have iPhones. Fortunately, they use
Apple maps, so we're all safe for a while. But I digress.
flies here just can't be bothered. Oh, if you walk past them, they'll buzz a
bit and try to settle. But f you walk another couple of metres, they'll give
up. I've seen pademelons shrug them off. Really. Just a flick of the ears and
maybe a twitch or two and the fly thinks, 'bugger this for a lark' and moseys
off. I like that attitude in a fly.
one of our honours students started a project on tabanid behaviour. She had
problems, she said, because she couldn't catch any flies. Being the public-spirited
biting insect magnet that I am, I volunteered to act as bait. The trick was to
catch the fly after it settled, but before it bit. (My goodwill only extends so
far.) But the fly wrangler was just a tad too slow. By the end of the session, we
had lots of swatted tabanids, but no live ones. I think the project changed
soon after that. Perhaps we should have relocated the study to the Tablelands.