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GRANDMA SAYS: Taking a bite out of summer

Cindy Day's grandma has an appreciation for the house fly you may not have thought of.
Cindy Day's grandma has an appreciation for the house fly you may not have thought of. - 123RF Stock Photo

I was out in my backyard a few evenings ago, thinking about those cold snowy nights when we dreamed of sitting out under the July moon. Minutes later, I was back inside, cursing the mosquitoes. 
Few things will drive me indoors on a warm summer’s eve like mosquitoes -  or so I thought. Earlier this month, I was back on the farm, sitting out with mom and dad after chores and ouch: bite after bite. Flies! Yes, flies do bite and I had forgotten that!

We always had our share of flies on the farm, for obvious reasons. The flyspecks on our white house were a pet peeve of mom’s, while the specks on the white car made my dad mad, but Grandma had a different kind of appreciation for the common fly.

Flies helped Grandma hone her forecasting skills. She believed if the flies were biting, it was going to rain before long. It seems a little odd, but there is a scientific connection.

Before it starts to rain, the relative humidity goes up. Flies, like many other insects, are more likely to settle on objects during moist weather; they find it quite difficult to fly under these conditions.

If that’s not enough to convince you, I’m going to throw in the appealing topic of body odour. When the atmospheric pressure decreases we tend to perspire more easily. While this release of sweat may not appeal to you, it makes us more appetizing targets to flies.

For these reasons, insects become more bothersome just before it rains.

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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