Naked Science Forum

General Science => Question of the Week => Topic started by: katieHaylor on 25/09/2017 11:23:14

Title: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: katieHaylor on 25/09/2017 11:23:14
John says:

We know that flies process movement much quicker than humans, which is why it's really hard to swat them.
But is it true that if you move slow enough, then the fly will not register the movement, and therefore you can actually get it?


What do you think?
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: Jthisaw on 25/09/2017 19:47:23
It does not really matter how slow or fast you go if the fly can see what is coming their way.  Flies have almost a 360 view. Their only blind spot is right behind them.
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: mrsmith2211 on 26/09/2017 00:40:42
I prefer to catch them with my hand, catch them in the air or swipe across 1 to 2 inches above where they sit, throw them to the ground and smoosh them with my foot. you can stun them throwing them to the ground, then they recover, the faster the swat the better, my thought.
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: kazbert on 02/10/2017 01:36:58
A mantis can sneak up on insects like flies by moving slowly, but a fly swatter is much larger than a mantis, and a mantis also relies on camouflage, which is hard to do with a fly swatter.
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: chris on 02/10/2017 07:58:41
I received this email from Ian, in Melbourne, in response to hearing this question aired on the radio:

Dear Chris,
Yes, swatting flies is difficult to do with one hand, however I have found that by using two hands in a clapping action seems to confuse the fly and make the job much easier.
Keep up the great work.
Regards,
Ian Horacek
(Melbourne, Australia)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: Colin2B on 02/10/2017 08:57:22
a fly swatter is much larger than a mantis,
It isn't the size of the object, but the speed of movement of the edge, change of contrast, which is detected,  yes, camouflage would help to reduce that contrast. Moving slowly I've been able to get the swat within 1 inch.

I received this email from Ian, in Melbourne, in response to hearing this question aired on the radio:

Dear Chris,
Yes, swatting flies is difficult to do with one hand, however I have found that by using two hands in a clapping action seems to confuse the fly and make the job much easier.
Keep up the great work.
Regards,
Ian Horacek
(Melbourne, Australia)

The study I read about said researchers had dropped a disc at various positions around a fly to see how it reacted. Just before take off the fly changed its stance to lean away from the direction the disc would fall, so moving away from that direction. So it makes sense that 2 hands, two directions, would overload its reaction system.
The researchers also advised aiming slightly ahead of the anticipated path of the fly.
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: David Cooper on 02/10/2017 18:28:15
I catch them in a jar and let them loose outside. There is a technique to it, but should I share the details so that people can misuse it to kill beautiful wildlife? House/clothes moths are another issue though - there's no point in releasing them outside as they'll find their way back in or into other people's houses, at which point you just end up with many more of them needing to be killed, often using chemicals which kill all the poor spiders in the house at the same time. So, you have to kill those on sight, and the more cunning the moth, the more determined you have to be to catch it so that you don't make the mistake of breeding ever more cunning moths (if you're going to miss a few, it would actually be better to miss the stupid ones that are easiest to hit so that they can spread dim genes). You can learn a trick from the birds to help with this - when they target something that might fly off, some species hover near the fly and move from side to side, up and down, etc. - random directions without getting too close. This switches the fly out of mode one (where it waits until something gets close and then does a sudden runner [or flyer]) and into mode two where it just sits tight instead. Then it can be picked off easily.
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: Danne on 04/10/2017 14:14:33
Creep up on it and strike explosively. My old martial arts trainer once caught a fly with chopsticks. :D
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: Colin2B on 04/10/2017 22:42:43
I catch them in a jar and let them loose outside.
I use this with wasps, hadn't thought of trying it with flys. If you watch their path carefully you can also grab them in flight - 1in 5 tries for me (flys by the way, not wasps)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: kazbert on 05/10/2017 00:43:01
Moving slowly I've been able to get the swat within 1 inch.

And then a ninja-like 1-inch quick-slap? :-)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: chris on 05/10/2017 07:55:29
My old martial arts trainer once caught a fly with chopsticks. :D

Wow! And did he then fry it in oil and eat it?  ;) I saw people on the street market in Beijing eating various insects, although I was not brave enough. I did, however, end up eating a range of insects (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/interviews/munching-mealworms) on the programme last year when we did a show about food security...

I was pleasantly surprised actually...
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: RD on 05/10/2017 12:46:25
Midge burger ? ...
https://youtu.be/YcXsx8gpN9M?t=3m25s (https://youtu.be/YcXsx8gpN9M?t=3m25s)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: Zer0 on 08/10/2017 04:39:53
Probably Air plays an Important role.
When we clap air gushes out from between the palms,
eventually pushing the fly out of our grasp.
Seems Swatters with minute holes punched through them
let the air pass through the head, hence least amount of air turbulence is created and Bingo!
But indeed Slow approach does increase the Success rate.
P.S. - (All beings have a right to live n exist equally as Us)
Coexistence at times is unattainable, but Harmonious when Achieved.
Happy Enlightenment O:-)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: katieHaylor on 11/10/2017 09:22:35
This question has now been answered. To listen, check out our latest show - https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/naked-scientists-podcast/dna-decoded-past-present-and-sausage (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/naked-scientists-podcast/dna-decoded-past-present-and-sausage)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: chris on 11/10/2017 17:01:33
This is a link to the audio answer of "what's the best way to swat a fly?" (https://nakeddiscovery.com/download/audio/Naked_Scientists_Show_17.10.10_chap13-13.mp3)
Title: Re: QotW - 17.09.24 - Are flies easier to swat if you move slowly?
Post by: eyecarebuchner on 13/11/2017 05:33:13
I received this email from Ian, in Melbourne, in response to hearing this question aired on the radio:

Dear Chris,
Yes, swatting flies is difficult to do with one hand, however I have found that by using two hands in a clapping action seems to confuse the fly and make the job much easier.
Keep up the great work.
Regards,
Ian Horacek
(Melbourne, Australia)


yes, I agree!