Braai Day or Fly Day?

braai day, heritage day, flies, how to get rid of flies, fly control

National Heritage Day, also known as ‘Braai Day’, is a celebrated South African Holiday. Just don’t let the flies celebrate it with you! Photo credit: Jan Braai at

With Heritage Day around the corner and spring in the air, us South Africans enjoy a good old outdoors kuier, which is why many of us now refer to this as ‘braai day’ (barbeque day for those of you not familiar with the term ‘braai’).

Although the flowers are blooming and the warm weather is making its appearance in most parts of our country, as mentioned in my blog post last week, I am not looking forward to spending time outdoors if I am going to be pestered by countless insects. Flies love making their appearance when food is present. How convenient. Many people tend to wave flies away before they think of what they just might be touching. The horror!

Flies are so revolting, and there are more than enough facts about them to make anyone think twice before slapping them away with their bare hands. Flies lay 400 – 600 eggs in decaying material and faeces, and from there, they develop into larvae in only 12 hours, and in just 10 days they morph into fully fledged adults in the right environments, and especially in warm temperatures. Did you know that as much as 30 000 flies can breed in a refuse bin, in only 7 days? This makes me wonder if the movie World War Z shouldn’t have been based on flies instead…

As flies love landing on rubbish and excrement, that means that wherever they land, they will spread bacteria. Flies transmit a range of diseases including salmonella, dysentery, tuberculosis, cholera and parasitic worms.

Furthermore, flies defecate every 4-5 minutes on any surface they land on (this can be your on food or kitchen counters!). Now, if that isn’t reason enough to despise flies, then the next fly fact is enough to make anyone’s stomach turn. Flies are only able to ingest liquefied food, and they do this by vomiting on it and then sucking it up their through their sponge-like mouthparts, called a “proboscis”. This unsavoury thought is intensified when I think of them slurping up their liquid lunch, my lunch supposedly!

Fortunately enough, there is light at the end of the tunnel – and you don’t have to be super-fast and agile like the karate kid to catch flies with chopsticks (or in our case, braai tongs) either!

Here are some fly control tips to get rid of flies that can spoil your braai day:

  • As a first step in fly control, make sure to seal any gaps or openings around doors and window frames whereby flies can gain access into the home. Install fly screens to on windows you would like to keep open.
  • To be safe from any flies spoiling your beautifully marinated steak, be sure to keep your food covered – you don’t want these pests contaminating anything you are about to eat.
  • Clean any food or liquid spillages so as to not attract flies, and make sure to clear away any cutlery or utensils in the kitchen which can make flies think they have found their next meal ticket. Make sure to clean away any food debris on kitchen appliances as well.
  • Did you know that flies can’t land in a cross wind? Place a fan near areas that are susceptible to a fly congregation, such as next to your potato bake you have been slaving over for your braai dish.
  • Empty rubbish bins at least twice a week and wash them out regularly. Keep them as far away from doors as possible, to ensure you get rid of flies before they become a problem. Make sure the lids fit tightly and are kept closed.
  • A wide range of DIY fly control products are available to kill flies, such as fly spray and insect repellent, but an established fly infestation may require professional pest control to get rid of flies effectively. I know that I can always count on the Rentokil pest control experts to get rid of these repulsive creatures.

These fly control tips will help you to get rid of flies that that can spoil your Heritage Day, sit back and enjoy your braai. I know that with the above tips at hand, my biggest worry this braai day will be to perfect my grandmother’s home made milktart!


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