If I Complained, Would You Listen?


IMG_20200626_1929024.jpgStanding in my kitchen yesterday I felt like I was getting whiplash. My head was jerking back and forth, left and right as I was trying to track the fly I could hear buzzing but couldn’t see.

I had the flyswatter in my hand, and before long I had dispatched four flies to meet their maker. Not bad for 10 minutes work. In Canada I might kill that many over the course of an entire summer.

It isn’t that Canadian flies are harder to kill. Or that there are fewer of them. If anything, Canada has more insects than Germany. But they don’t often come inside.

That’s because in Canada we have screens on our windows. On a lot of doors too. The screens allow fresh air in, while keeping unwanted insects out. They don’t do that in Germany.

If you have an open window here, you never know what might decide to enter. Flies certainly, and lots of them. Bees and wasps too.

I’ve complained about this before. One of my first posts, reflecting on a European vacation, noted the absence of screens. That was a tourist’s impression.

Living with these insects is different. As a visitor I knew that I would be moving on, and the inconvenience was temporary. Now that I live here, I battle the bugs between March and November. Usually I’m the winner- but I dislike how much time I spend dealing with these little annoyances.

Germans I have spoken with don’t seem to have a problem with the insect invasion. This is a country where tradition rules. None of the twelfth century castles had screens, so new construction doesn’t either.

You could mention that screens hadn’t been invented 800 years ago, but that doesn’t seem to change anything.  They’ve never had screens in their windows. Why would they want to start now?

Thank you for listening and letting me complain. Now I have to go kill some flies. This battle never ends.



  1. Neil Remington Abramson · · Reply

    What do the Germans do about their flies? Do they hunt them down, Canadian style, swatter in hand? What do they/you do with 10 & 20 foot ceilings? In Athens I tried balled up towels with great ballista effect.

    1. The Germans I know don’t seem to notice the flies. Towels sounds like a great idea, though I’m pretty good with the flyswatter.

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