Pictured are nine of thousands of flies that appeared in the sun of our dooryard today; it happens every year on the first warm day of spring.

The life cycle of the Muscidae family of flies is probably better detailed somewhere other than Wikipedia, which maintains most of its information on these common flies in the “Housefly” article on this otherwise very accurate and thorough source of general information (no joke! gotta give th’Wiki some props since it has recently become the butt of jokes in mass media based on a few sensational examples of its widely known weaknesses, weaknesses that really describe human nature rather than this ambitious, excellent and almost always useful project…is there such a think as a “perfect” source of information?). Their page talks only on the breeding cycle with flies laying eggs on “decaying material” which hatch, grow, then pupate before becoming new flies.

Up here where it gets cold for a long time, the Muscidae have another trick for survival. They squeeze into cracks (like between wooden boards or shingles — and you can see from the corner of our barn that we have plenty of cracks and shingles to offer) and hibernate through the coldest weather. On the first warm day of spring (which today, Friday, April 20th was this year, after a week of wet snow followed by torrential rain) they crawl out and swarm together, no doubt mating and laying eggs for the first of many summer generations. They must need to re-learn how to fly after the hibernation because they’re pretty slow and logy on this first day, and they hover around the ground in the morning, then start climbing up walls. In the afternoon they dissipate, and we never see flies in these numbers ever again for another year.

In another sign that spring is coming, Alison heard the “Peepers” (tiny tree frogs that sing their mating “peepeepeepeep” song as soon as the pond ice melts) last night while walking Corky.


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